FORT LAUDERDALE/DAVIE, Fla. Being a student at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) has afforded 17 undergraduate students a unique opportunity – they have conceptualized, launched, and operate their on-campus businesses as part of a unique entrepreneurial program supported by a yearly scholarship and a microloan of up to $5,000.
By playing multiple roles – from finance, operations, sales, marketing, and logistics – the students, who come from varied backgrounds and have different majors, acquire the necessary skills to open their own on-campus, student-run enterprises. The Razor’s Edge Shark Cage Scholars Program started its fifth edition this fall in the Shark Cage at Mako Hall, a modern residential building that is now home to many of NSU’s undergraduate students.
“The program has grown significantly since its launch in 2016,” said Brad Williams, Ed.D., NSU’s vice president of student affairs and dean for the College of Undergraduate Studies. “It is a great accomplishment to have a unified business space for the students to operate their enterprises.”
During the program, students develop several key skills while managing limited resources and overcoming daily operational challenges. Through learning experiences both inside and outside the classroom, they are prepared to start their own business, purchase an existing business, invest in a franchise opportunity, organize the launch of new products or services, or work for an existing organization and lead the development of a new division.
“Having our students run their own business creates great experiential learning opportunities,” said Tom Tworoger, DBA, a professor in NSU’s H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship and Chair of the Entrepreneurship Department.
Whether looking for something to eat or drink or to take advantage of the many other services that the students provide, the NSU community is likely to find at the Shark Cage facility. Each business aims to engage all members of the NSU community including students, faculty, and staff.
“Students went through specifically designed courses to aid them in getting their businesses started, made funding pitches for their microloans, ordered their equipment and inventory, and launched over 20 student-run businesses in the last two years,” said Cheryl Babcock, director of the Shark Cage Program and Entrepreneurship faculty member in NSU’s Huizenga Business College. “It has been awe-inspiring to witness the ingenuity, strong work ethic, and enthusiasm as they pursued their entrepreneurial journeys, and am looking forward to the dedicated students who will open/reopen their businesses this fall.”
Mason Petrosky, a dual admission law and paralegal studies major minoring in entrepreneurship from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., operated a popular campus milkshake business in 2019-2020. Petrosky is a first-year law student at NSU’s Shepherd Broad College of Law.
“Running my business was a pivotal moment for me in my development as a leader, and I grew in ways that a textbook couldn’t help me do,” he said. “The Shark Cage Program immersed me into the real-life entrepreneurial experience where other programs could not.”
Annabel Brewster, a student majoring in Art and Design and minoring in entrepreneurship, is getting prepared for her grand opening of Sharky Art on September 8th. She has been a business owner for five years, but this fall she created her on-campus business, Sharky Art, to engage students, faculty, and organizations through creative painting events and artwork.
“Through dedication, resilience, and hard work I believe that Sharky Art will be successful, and bring a great new opportunity on campus for those who would like to explore their creative mind!”
Students can enjoy a grilled burger, grilled cheese sandwich, taco, mac and cheese, milkshake, acai bowl, candy, lemonade, or sweet/salty snacks. They can also choose from t-shirts, hoodies, swim bikinis, gently used clothing, dorm room decor, beach items, shoe cleaning and care, inspirational planners, or purchase pieces of original art or join a painting party.
This fall 10 scholars celebrate their Grand Openings at the Shark Cage and begin operating their businesses along with seven returning enterprises from last year. Four more enterprises are set to launch in January 2021. “This is a tremendous commitment and enormous accomplishment for the students”, said Cheryl Babcock.
For more information, please contact:
Cheryl R. Babcock, CFE
Lecturer and Director
Razor’s Edge Shark Cage Scholars Program
Huizenga Business College
Nova Southeastern University