Turning Cupcakes (And Other Things) Into Scholarships

Kelsea Wiese Cupcakes
Arkansas Tech University student Kelsea Wiese applied her cupcake baking and marketing talents to become the top fund-raiser in a class project during the fall 2020 semester.

Sixty-four Arkansas Tech University College of Business students deployed their entrepreneurial skills over a one-week period to support a scholarship program that benefits their peers.

Students in three fall 2020 sections of Dr. Stephen Jones’ Small Business Management class invested no more than $5 of their own money in a variety of business ventures with a goal of raising money for the Dr. Robert R. Edwards Book Scholarship through the ATU Foundation. The students were prohibited from dedicating any additional financial resources to their projects.

By walking neighbors’ dogs, selling baked goods, making and selling bracelets, washing cars, cleaning houses, creating digital art pieces, performing errands for neighbors and participating in similar activities over a span of seven days, Jones’ students raised $2,088.22 for the Edwards Book Scholarship.

The average amount raised was $20.21 per student. The top fund-raiser was Kelsea Wiese, who contributed $133.97 by baking and selling cupcakes.

“The most important key to my success was the low cost of making the cupcakes in big quantities and being able to make them look high-end and turn a bigger profit,” said Wiese. “Also, pounding the pavement…most of my customers were neighbors that know me. Social media had a big part of my success as well. I posted a mini-explanation of the project and people immediately started ordering.”

Leveraging those personal connections is one of the primary lessons Wiese learned through the project.

“Having a face for your business draws more people in to purchase your product or service,” said Wiese. “You can’t be afraid to put yourself and your product out there. You will get many, many nos but eventually you will get a yes. That leads to another yes and then another. You have to take risks.”

Other top fund-raisers included Cameron Simmons ($108.15) and Ranson Price ($100).

“The students always amaze me as to what they can do – legally and ethically – to create a short-term business and make some money for a good cause,” said Jones, professor of management and a member of the ATU faculty since 2005. “I was sure that this year would present a bigger challenge than in the past with all of the COVID-19 restrictions. Students met the challenge and exceeded how much had been raised over the last two years combined. They amaze themselves sometimes, too. After it’s over, many students will step back and comment on how they never thought they could do something like this and on how fun it all was.”

Learn more about the ATU College of Business at www.atu.edu/business.