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Student-Made Michigan State: Creativity meets business savvy with student-run ventures

March 12, 2024
Marketing junior Yuktha Pulavarthi poses for a portrait on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2024. Pulavarthi is a member of Student-Made MSU, a partner program with the Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship that provides a space for students to start their own small business.
Marketing junior Yuktha Pulavarthi poses for a portrait on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2024. Pulavarthi is a member of Student-Made MSU, a partner program with the Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship that provides a space for students to start their own small business.

A new program has taken Michigan State University's campus by storm this past year. The Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation has partnered with Student-Made: An organization that provides a space for student creators to run their own small businesses right from the comfort of their college campus. 

Student-Made Michigan State strives to empower student creators by highlighting their small businesses and creating a supportive community. The program is run by student managers and they do everything from onboarding new student creators to running the social media accounts, organizing pop-ups and reaching out to businesses to partner with. 

“Already, Student-Made has definitely helped me with my networking skills,” Student-Made Events and Partnerships Manager and marketing junior Yuktha Pulavarthi said. “Reaching out to all these new people and creating these partnerships has been something big for me. I’ve definitely gotten so much real world experience.” 

Pulavarthi is the creator and owner of Macaraonza!, a made-to-order macaron dessert shop. She and her fellow managers have secured opportunities for the work of student creators to be sold at places like Kellogg Market and 1855 Place, as well as being featured on Student-Made Michigan's website. This visibility is essential for small businesses to get off the ground and make their products known to the world, she said.

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“Some people like sentimental products,” The Cookie Jar Collection’s owner Linda Komis said. “They’d rather get something that has some sort of value to somebody and not just mass marketing. So that’s what you can get with these small businesses.”

In addition to the entrepreneurial experiences and business opportunities, Student-Made serves as a host for an earnest community of ambitious and creative students. 

“It’s a great community of creators,” digital storytelling senior Abbie Townley said. Townley is the Student-Made social media and content creation manager, as well as the owner of the small business Crochet Critters. “There are so many wonderful business owners and people that I’ve had the opportunity to work with and it’s just been incredible to get to know them and be a part of it.” 

It is partly the job of Komis, who is also Student-Made's campus and community engagement manager, to foster this sense of community within the program and on MSU’s campus. 

“It’s almost kind of like you have all of these automatic friends and acquaintances all in this one little bubble that you get to see everyday and you get to help out,” Komis said. “I would say it’s made me more social… And I would say that I really enjoy my college experience a lot more because of Student Made.” 

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This program will continue to enrich MSU’s campus next semester as Pulavarthi, Komis and Townley all hinted at bigger and better things to come.

To join Student-Made Michigan State as a creator, browse the featured products or learn more about their mission, you can visit their website.

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