Student Government, University Co-Op to host second annual Student Business Empowerment Initiative

Tisha Shrestha, News Reporter

The University Co-op gives student entrepreneurs the opportunity to have their products sold at the campus store through the second annual Student Business Empowerment Initiative.

UT’s Student Government and Co-op have teamed up again to continue the program after last year’s success, which included student-designed postcards, golf tees and t-shirts.

The Student Business Empowerment Initiative gives students the ability to showcase and sell their products at the Co-op for approximately two months. For this semester, the program is accepting applications until Oct. 17, 11:59 p.m.

Last year, the program chose to showcase Katie Miller’s jewelry products that featured burnt orange or gold necklaces and earrings. The Co-op also selected Miller’s products to be carried even after the program ended.

“I was immediately drawn to it because I’ve had my business for so long and being able to showcase what I’ve been working on for a really long time in a UT environment was really special for me,” Miller, a textiles and apparel and fashion merchandising senior said.

Students will receive 80% of the profits, SG will receive 10% for facilitating and the Co-op will receive the rest to cover the logistics, like credit card fees and tagging, Co-op marketing director Kate Mounger said.

“We’re really excited about this initiative at the Co-op,” Mounger said. “We love supporting students as a nonprofit and this just is such a cool way to see the products that students are producing and helping amplify what their message is and amplify the opportunity for them.”

Once students are selected for the initiative, the program will invite them to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Co-op.

“It’s important that small businesses get supported, but especially student small businesses,” SG President Leland Murphy said. “We wanted to continue to highlight them and allow them to promote their business and support themselves.”

Through the initiative, students get the opportunity to learn how to work with a vendor and understand the logistics behind getting their product in the store. The Co-Op will tag and merchandise the students’ products, Mounger said.

“I think that for any student, it gives … a look into the real world in terms of how business collaboration goes,” SG Vice President Isabel Agbassi said.