BATAVIA — When you start a business, you need to think on your feet.
Any number of variables come into play. It’s a lesson the students in Genesee Community College’s Business Creator Club are learning or already know themselves.
They visited T-Shirts Etc., Inc. in Batavia on Thursday to pick up their shirts for an upcoming competition and get an in-depth look at the business and its operations.
“What this group does is, throughout the year, they come together,” said Lina LaMattina, an assistant professor and director of GCC’s business programs. “They’re very creative. They come up with lots of different ideas for events they want to hold on campus, to help educate other students around, ‘What is entrepreneurship?’ ‘Is it really a career path for you?’ ”
Most people don’t think about that, she said.
“They think, ‘I’m going to go to school, and then … I hope somebody hires me. I’m going to work for whoever,” she said. “You can do that — absolutely. But if you don’t want to do that, if you feel like you kind of want to do your own thing.
“These days, you can do business on the beach,” she continued. “You can be driving across the country. It doesn’t matter. These students have a lot more opportunities. That’s really why the club exists on campus. Our first activity of last fall was, we showed a video of Disney’s ‘Own the Room.’ That’s a pitch competition, but it’s global.”
Genesee Community College will be conducting its own Business Pitch Competition on April 19. The general public is invited to attend and pitch their business ideas, with prizes awarded for the winners.
The judges will be local business leaders.
Those alone are factors the students enjoy.
Business Creators Club President Jake Kasmarek, a sophomore from Batavia, said the students really love the idea of business and of being business leaders.
“I would say that being a leader in business is something this community really needs,” he said. “We need people to start their own businesses and we need people to take the initiative. I think there’s a lot of people who are stuck in their jobs and really don’t like them when they could be starting their own business and turning their life into something more positive.”
That’s the mentality that the students in the group have, he said.
As for the business pitch competition?
“It doesn’t necessarily need to be a working business,” Kasmarek said. “It doesn’t need to be a business that’s up and running. It could just be a fun idea you have for a business. We give you the tools and the stuff you need to make a nice, little poster board. You come in and do a ‘Shark Tank’ pitch in front of our judges,” referring to the reality series, “Shark Tank,” during which entrepreneurs get the chance to secure business deals that could make them millionaires. “We pick the winners out of those.”
That’s why visiting businesses such as T-Shirts Etc. is also valuable.
“We got to see the whole process all the way through and I think that’s a really valuable experience to see from start to finish,” he said. “We really appreciate what business has to offer and we think the community and the school community both could really benefit from us spreading that message,” Kasmarek said.
The Business Pitch Competition will take place 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Room T102 of the Conable Technology Building on the Batavia campus. Prizes of $100 for first place and $75 for second place will be awarded to the most outstanding competitors in the “most likely to succeed” and “most creative” categories.