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New innovation club shows ASB receptive to increase club funding

The Associated Student Body (ASB) gave new innovative entrepreneurship club, Homebrew Startup Club, $500 to promote student ideas and business on campus.

This amount is more than any other new club on campus.

“I hope that people see this and say, ‘Wow, I can get people together and go through the process and ASB will give my club $500 to start out with,” said Matt Herskowitz, the club’s CFO and the ASB director of finance. “We’ve allocated $20,000 for additional club funding; that’s for new clubs to get started, and for clubs that go through their budgets and would like to receive more. We’re looking to be able to fully fund the most active clubs on campus and also be able to get new clubs started like this startup club.”

Nate Guajardo, the ASB director of student relations, said that this policy is not new, but has been his goal since the start of the year. Club funding budgeting increased from $35,000 last year to $80,000 with $60,000 in the allocation fund and $20,000 placed in reserves.

“Matt and I and the rest of the board all agreed $100 is nowhere near enough for a club to grow, especially in their first year,” said Guajardo. “What the goal has been, at least for my office, this year, and the rest of the board has been completely on board, is we want clubs to grow as much as possible and have as many resources as possible.”

The club’s board of directors include Sam Sadler, the chairman and club president, Blair Messner, executive coordinator and director of communications, Austin Mahaffey, director of human resources and marketing, CEO DeVonn Zink and CFO Matt Herskowitz.

The name for the club, Homebrew Startup, came from the Homebrew Computer Club in Palo Alto, California where Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak showcased their computers before introducing them to the mass market. Sadler and Zink hope that students will see this club in the same way, as a place to take ideas, innovations and creativity.

“A lot of world changing ideas are started by people our age, like Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, etc. The idea, though, isn’t enough,” Sadler said. “You have to take it from idea to entrepreneurship. The goal of our club is to get people that don’t know how to make [their ideas] profitable and valuable and connect them with people that do in the business school.”

At the club’s first meeting on Oct. 22, 20-25 people attended.

Randal Schober, an associate professor of management, is the club’s adviser. He said the club allows students to be their own bosses and create their own jobs.

“I think it’s key that students have the opportunity to think outside the box and view their profession and career as an opportunity to bring innovation back into the workplace,” he said.

Schober said the interest stems from the students, and is not a push from administration or staff.

“It’s important that students understand what innovation is, entrepreneurship is and the importance of it, and they engage it. It’s only going to be successful if the students get behind it. And it’s already happening so I’m very stoked about it.”

Already, the club has one coffee company, Wiley and Sons, run by Jay Hovis and Tom Williams. They import coffee beans from overseas and sell coffee on campus, and Homebrew Startup Club is helping them to expand and market.

Zink, the club’s CEO, started a clothing line called ‘Ten Racks’ in 2011, which was in retail for a year before he decided to close shop. Now, he and Sadler have joined to create their own endeavor, ‘Rivegauche,’ which markets organic scrubs.

“[The club’s] essentially just an opportunity to take all the creative, innovative thinkers from every department in the school and be the string that ties them all together and act as an incubator,.. a place where ideas can meet technicians and vice versa and designers and all that,” Zink said.

The club plans to create an online portal where students can work on their business remotely. They hope to hold an event that would mimic the show, “Shark Tank.”

This club is a launch club like the other 20 or so interest groups attempting to become clubs on campus. From there, there are two options: charter or executive club. To be a charter club requires two semesters as a launch club and to be a executive club requires four semesters as a charter club, and proof of activity on campus.

Launch and charter club funding is absorbed annually by ASB, while executive clubs have rollover. Currently there are 51 clubs on campus and $14,000 worth of rollover funds. Community service hours and increased communication are also a part of the requirements for charter and executive clubs. Guajardo said that students should “ask and it will more than likely be given.”

“I campaigned on it and God forbid I keep a campaign promise, but club funding needed to go up,” Guajardo said. “It was just miniscule compared to other things and at least as far as what the whole budget looked like. Club funding and clubs are such a great way for ASB to give back to the students. With so many kids involved in clubs, it just makes sense to give them the resources that they need.”

Meetings for the Homebrew Startup Club are held every Wednesday in the Love Lounge at 7 p.m.

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