New program to award innovative students

The Purpose and Profit program will award $5,000 to business students.

by Emily Cutts

University of Minnesota students interested in starting green businesses will soon have a new resource.

Quality Bicycle Products and the University have expanded their partnership to provide further funding through Purpose and Profit, a program through Carlson School of Management.

The grant targets students interested in starting businesses that incorporate environmentally friendly and sustainable practices, community service or biking advocacy.

QBP, founded by University alumnus Steve Flagg, has worked with Carlson School in the past. They have spoken in classes and also had a program aimed at underserved high school students. But now the involvement will take on a new approach.

Through the Purpose and Profit program, QBP will award up to $5,000 to applicants. Those who receive the awards will also receive legal and accounting advisory services and mentoring from the Business Hatchery, a resource provided by Carlson SchoolâÄôs Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship for students trying to start businesses.

The money provided by QBP is part of the companyâÄôs goodwill program.

“We donate 6 percent of our profits back to the community, so for us, this is part of that program,” Flagg said.

Part of the draw for QBP to join was the existing program structure the University offers.

“This gives us a tremendous opportunity just to sort of plug and play,” Flagg said.

Previous seed grants have been essential to students looking to start their own businesses.

Ryan Freed, an entrepreneurial management junior, said that with the help of the Hatchery program he will be able to test out his business, a food delivery social networking site.

Freed will conduct a two-week test of his site for students living in the “Stadium View and Dinnaken areas.”

“Without the seed grant,” Freed said, “we wouldnâÄôt have been able to do the pilot stage, which is essential.”

Still in the early stages of planning, Flagg said he is excited to be part of the vetting process, but specifics of how applications will be considered havenâÄôt been finalized yet.

Applications are currently being accepted, and funds will be awarded on a rolling basis.

“Steve and his team wanted to give back and help support what I think is an increasing interest of students to not only build profitable businesses but also to make a difference,” said John Stavig, professional director of Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship.