An exercise in marketing

by | Mar 21, 2016 | Featured, Uncategorized

Who knew there was value in beans? NAIT Culinary instructor Maynard Kolskog did when he approached the NAIT Business program’s Capstone program with his idea last year.

Kolskog wanted to create a gluten-free bean product for people living with celiac disease. The result is a selection of savory recipes that are healthy and accessible for those with dietary restrictions. The concept began with three different flavours: French Lentils, Spicy Vegetarian Red Beans and Pinto Beans with Andouille Sausage.

The challenge for Kolskog and the Cap-stone team? Taking this product into the market.

“This was almost the perfect project,” said Terry Goudreault, the NAIT instructor who teaches the course.

“We had a sponsor who needed more information in terms of commercializing their pulse/bean recipes and products and they didn’t have the resources to do it themselves,”

NAIT students Maria Tagliente, Kevin Carthy, Jesse Koch, and Scott Fellnermayr, the first team of business students to participate in the new Capstone program, were up to that challenge. “We had a very strong Capstone team who were ready to use their business skill and knowledge to help the sponsor,” said Goudreault. For this particular project, the team had to research a number of areas out-side of their comfort zone but all within a business context.

For a food related project, special attention needed to be placed on health regulations, recipe costing and dozens of small topics, a different spin on the ubiquitous case study that is usually limited to a handful of major issues which most business students are familiar with in their regular courses.

As the end of term approaches, the team is expected to wrap up the final stages of the project as well. For the first capstone team to go through the program, Goudreault is confident in the value of the experience the students have gained.

“I think the students have been really lucky to help develop a commercial product from this very early stage in a product’s life cycle,” said Goudreault, “it will be a great addition to all their resumes.”

By the end of the semester, the BEA-Nurished team plans to have Kolskog’s product on the shelves of the NAIT retail meat cutting store for regular purchase. The BPA-free packaging will also feature a logo created by NAIT graphic design student Lindsay Burchill.

“My favourite moment may have been seeing the team cooking and packaging the test products down in the NAIT culinary kitchens,” said Goudreault. “They all looked pretty darn fine in their chef outfits!”

NAIT’s business Capstone Program is a newly revamped course offering for business students similar to capstones regularly seen in other programs on campus, including the Bachelor of Technology Management program. Students have the opportunity to form teams and match with an industry client looking for a resolution to a business need.

Broken into two course sections, the full Capstone Program (course codes CAPS4485 & CAPS4486) is spread across two academic terms. Students spend the first term reviewing information provided by the industry client, looking at factors that relate to the business issue and bringing forward a recommendation for the client to consider. In the second term, the same team gets the opportunity to put their recommendation into action by developing an implementation plan and evaluation plan.

Unlike general course registration, registration for the September 2016 section of the BBA Capstone program closes on May 1. Only business students entering their fourth year of the Business Program can participate. More information is available on the NAIT website or by visiting the Business Information Centre.

Supplied image features students (left-right) Kevin Carthy Jesse Koch, Scott Fellnermayr and Maria Tagliente.

Nicolas Brown, Issues Editor

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