One hardworking Fort Lewis College student may go home with more than an ‘A’ in the applied entrepreneurship class that will be offered beginning in fall 2019.
The student with the best business plan for a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory store will be awarded the franchise for the store studied during the semester.
“It’s an outstanding opportunity for students and recent grads,” said School of Business Administration Dean Steve Elias.
Greg Pope, RMCF senior vice president for franchise development, said the donation of a franchise is modeled on a similar program Rocky Mountain has conducted with Missouri Western State University for 11 years.
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is an international franchiser and is based in Durango.
Students will spend the entire semester studying a store in the United States.
Pope said that means the class’ top student will assume ownership of a franchise for which they know the past revenue stream and operational nuances. They will know the market and the competition.
At Missouri Western, Pope said, the competition gets heated, with students often visiting the franchise at their own expense.
FLC has worked to boost enrollment, and creative offerings like awarding a RMCF franchise to the best business plan developed in a class is part of a wider effort to look at unique ways to set the school apart from competition and attract more students.
“What we’re about at the School of Business Administration is providing our students with opportunity,” Elias said.
FLC President Tom Stritikus said if the college is going to be successful, it will largely come through community ties. He said the partnership between Rocky Mountain and the school is “the kind of work that happens in a close community.”
Associate professor Michael Valdez, who will teach the class, said the business plans will need to be high-quality work, but a franchise might not be awarded each semester if business plans are not up to par.
Still, the opportunity to take home not only an ‘A’ but to own an RMCF store will be “an amazing opportunity” for seniors and recent graduates, who will be eligible to take the class, he said.