RSO provides entrepreneurship skills

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez, Campus Reporter

EIU Entrepreneurship Club has been here at Eastern for a little over 10 years, providing students with the opportunity to better understand entrepreneurship and business networking ever since. 

EIU Entrepreneurship Club came to Eastern with the creation of the entrepreneurship minor, a program designed for students who want to work in a family business or manage a small business. 

Prior to the entrepreneurship minor being introduced at Eastern in fall 2010, there was no program or RSO at Eastern that helped students learn the skills needed to start a business. 

Evan Kubicek, the EIU Entrepreneurship Club advisor and Eastern marketing instructor, said that EIU Entrepreneurship Club was purposefully created around the same time as the entrepreneurship minor. 

“The RSO, I believe was created at the same time as the minor to be able to provide a community for students who are interested in entrepreneurship to be able to get together,” Kubicek said.   

Through EIU Entrepeneurship’s activities and events, members learn how to develop their skills and gain confidence in entrepreneurship.

Holly J. Olson, junior business management student, is EIU Entrepreneurship Club’s secretary. She said that through EIU Entrepreneurship Club, the members of the organization can learn what it takes to be an entrepreneur by sharing ideas with one another during club meetings.

“We all bring different business ideas in, and we bounce ideas off each other and get feedback,” she said. “It’s really valuable because you have like-minded entrepreneurs in the room, as well as an entrepreneurship professor who is our RSO advisor.”

EIU Entrepreneurship Club has also been able to learn about entrepreneurship from the experts by having keynote speakers come to Eastern and by visiting small businesses in the area. 

In past years, the organization has spoken with business owners of a Charleston bar, a Chicago brewery, a recording studio and many more entrepreneurial-based companies.

“We visited various businesses and asked them basic questions,” Olson said. “Why they wanted to start the kind of business that they’re running. What gave them the inspiration for it. What were some of the challenges and hardships that they ran into when opening a business and what are some of the things they have learned from that.”

They also learn more about entrepreneurship by working together on group projects, such as selling ugly Christmas sweaters to the Eastern community. 

The project they worked on this past year was working together to promote an app they developed called “Spike Shot.” 

“Spike Shot” is a mobile game that was developed to tackle the issue of human trafficking by helping fund anti-human trafficking organizations, like an organization called All Things Possible. 

“Spike Shot” originated because Kubicek wanted to learn the work it takes to develop an app, and that was something he worked on many months prior to the fall 2020 semester. After the app was launched, he presented it to EIU Entrepreneurship Club as a potential group project.

“I thought, it’s there. Why don’t we do something fun with this as an RSO?” Kubicek said. “I brought it up to the [executive board] of the RSO, and said what do you guys think? Do you want to do this this semester? They thought it was a great idea. They jumped on board right away. We just went from there, because the app was already built. All we needed to do at that point was promote it.” 

EIU Entrepreneurship Club worked together to promote the app by doing broadcast interviews, getting celebrity endorsements, working closely with faculty both here at Eastern and in other universities, among other ways. 

The organization divided the work, with everybody having their own role then coming together to discuss as needed. 

“We had some that were working with getting the word out, and we had others that were tracking the app and seeing where we were with engagement,” Olson said.

During this COVID era, working on something as ambitious as promoting a mobile game proved to be tough for EIU Entreperneurship Club, with the organization having to come up with new ways to communicate and have meetings. 

In past years, EIU Entrepreneurship Club held meetings every other Monday night in Lumpkin Hall, using that time to share ideas, work on group projects, and plan visits to local businesses. 

COVID changed that, making it harder for the organization to meet in person or plan in-person visits to businesses. Now, EIU Entrepreneurship Club communicates online via Microsoft Teams, mostly making use of the texting feature on the platform. 

If necessary, the organization will meet once or twice a month via the video conference call feature on Microsoft Teams, but as of now there are no dedicated meeting times. 

They also did not host any of their usual yearly events, choosing instead to focus on “Spike Shot” since promoting the app was so important to them.

From the group’s hard work this past school year, they were able to successfully promote the app, even getting to do four television interviews, which greatly helped the organization.

“There was a noticeable bump whenever there was a [television] interview,” Kubicek said. “The downloads and the people playing the app would noticeably spike.” 

Kubicek said that “Spike Shot” provided a great learning experience for everyone involved in promoting the mobile game. 

EIU Entrepreneurship Club has lots of plans and ideas to look forward to in the future, but for now they are focused on recruiting new members. 

“Whether or not they are in the business department or the entrepreneurship department, we welcome anyone to join us,” Olson said. “We’re always very excited to hear new ideas and get started on working on them.”

 

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]