Success Story for:
Solution Scholars & Co.
Solution Scholars & Co., a partnership of Chattanooga’s Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) College of Business, has completed its first year of operation, during which it provided research services to more than 28 local small businesses, from a wide range of industries. The unique program, which includes both in-class and structured, paid internship components, allows both graduate and undergraduate students to gain marketable experience and skills they can leverage as they start their careers.
TSBDC Chattanooga and UTC College of Business saw a lack of resources with regard to business research services that could inform Chattanooga’s small business community about decision-making in support of business growth and job creation. The program’s student-driven research services include market characterization, customer profile and demographics, competitive analysis, industry trend analysis, macro-environmental scanning, and more. Solution Scholars & Co. delivered 1,268 hours of research to 28 clients and $2,101,100.00 of infusion has resulted to date. This program has provided important deliverables that have aided these clients to more effectively understand their markets, their products and the competitive landscape.
Solutions Scholars & Co., which operates year-round, anticipates growth in the year to come, with a second cohort of students having entered the program in Fall 2016 and a third to join in Spring 2017. Some students will continue to work as researchers through multiple semesters, providing a unique opportunity for employment while completing a UTC degree. To further integrate the program into the business community, the Solution Scholars team alternates meeting on UTC’s campus and at The Edney Innovation Center. In the summer months, students work from the INCubator.
We have great aspirations for this program. It is a mutually-beneficial opportunity for our students to gain real world experience and our local small businesses to gain insights that can drive their growth.