New Business Offers Hands-On Experience For Students

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"Boldly brewed and always awakening," that's the slogan for the new coffee shop at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Created and operated by UNK students, Brewed Awakening is the result of two years of work by the student entrepreneurial group Enactus.

"What better way, if you're a business student, to learn about business than by starting a business," said Professor Shawn Kaskie, who advises the group.

But, as Kaskie noted, it's up to the students to make the business decisions.

"As the advisor, I try not to make decisions for them, but to gently suggest where they might find the resources and places where they can make a better decision," Kaskie said.

At Brewed Awakening, a cup of coffee is more than just a pick-me-up. It's what students like to call, hands-on experiential learning. Junior Amanda Thee got involved a year and a half ago during the planning period and now acts as the shop's manager. She said she wants to run her own business one day, which makes the experience at Brewed Awakening priceless.

"I have a huge interest in small businesses that are starting up. So being able to have hands-on experience starting our own business as a group and being able to learn the different techniques and departments and all the steps you have to go through to start it, is definitely something that's helped me grow professionally," Thee said.

Other students involved with the project echoed her opinion.

"The financial skills at working at Brewed Awakening, taking care of the books, will be greatly beneficial for me not only for my time in class, but also for my time after UNK. The management experience as well will be very beneficial," said assistant manager Jordan Rehnstrom.

The new coffee shop is having its share of problems though.

"We're obviously trying to figure out our inventory. Some things we got that we thought were going to sell, and they're not selling quite as well, so we're going to switch things up, but that's all in the learning process," Thee said.

For the students, the experience is a recipe for success, whether it's a cup of coffee today, or their own business tomorrow.