Ben Page ’18 LABB 2016-First, I would like to start by thanking the Lilly Endowment for funding the 2016 LABB Program. Second, I would like to specifically thank Roland Morin and all the other Wabash alumni that made the last seven weeks such a great experience. In the seventh and final week of the LABB program, four different groups presented their final projects and business plans. The first six weeks helped in preparing us to pitch our individual business plans to six different investors. Having entered this program with very little experience on how to start a business, I was shocked by how well our group was ready to present an entire business plan for something that doesn’t even exist yet. Through these final projects, everyone was able to showcase what they have learned over the course of these last two months and how much they now know about what goes into starting a business.
The final presentations consisted of three apps and one physical product. I cannot stress enough how important the first six weeks were to success of each pitch. We were taught many things such as how to use financials effectively, how to develop a marketing plan, and how important market research can be. Obviously all of these things are important, but whom you start a business with might be just as important. Each team consisted of five group members with one team having six. We had essentially two weeks to prepare for this final day. Along the way, we had the chance to pitch our ideas to smaller panels that gave us feedback on whether or not we had something that could potentially be successful. With each of these pitches came investments as well. Throughout the entire program, it was essential to keep a personal budget to be able to fund these ventures. These projects were treated as real world business experiences, which is what made it so unique for me.
On the last Thursday of the program we had the chance to present all of our hard work. This experience was very rewarding because we were given immediate feedback on how we did. While we weren’t perfect, and my group actually finished second, the panel of investors was still very impressed. It is worth mentioning too that each investor was or is currently in the business world. This seven-week program has been an amazing experience for me and is like nothing else out there. I recommend this program for everyone, even if you don’t think business is something you necessarily want to go into. Everything you learn in this program is something you can take forward with you in life and will serve you well in the future. Once again, I want to thank everyone who made this program possible and helped me grow as a student and a young man.