After the most recent competition by the Center for Franchise Development in the Craig School of Business and Technology, there ended up being one winner but two new business owners. Andrea Hall ’19 won the competition and was awarded an Auntie Anne’s pretzel franchise. In a first in the 10 years of the competition, Hall asked the other finalist in the program, Michelle Scott ’19, to partner with her.
Hall, of St. Joseph, Missouri; and Scott, of Maysville, Missouri; were two of a record-16 students to take the senior-level Applied Business Ownership class this past spring. Students in the class prepared business plans based on an Auntie Anne’s franchise, and Hall and Scott were selected as finalists. They presented their plans to a panel of judges that included Steven L. Craig, Missouri Western benefactor; other business leaders; representatives from Auntie Anne’s; and alumni who had won franchises in previous years.
“It’s a great feeling,” she said. “I’ve always dreamed of owning my own business and today this dream has come true, and I’m super excited Michelle and I will be able to pursue this dream together.”
Hall graduated with a major in accounting and a minor in entrepreneurship and Scott graduated with majors in management and marketing.
“We had two outstanding candidates, and it was a tough, tough decision for the judges,” said Pam Klaus, director of the Center for Franchise Development. “Andrea was selected as the winner, but she and Michelle had planned for a long time to go into business together, so we not only have a winner, we actually formed a partnership today. It’s a unique and exciting day for our program.”
Hall and Scott join 19 alumni owners operating 38 stores and businesses in nine states since the franchise program began. Last year, the alumni-owned businesses employed 319 people and generated $11.8 million in sales.
The entrepreneurs receive ongoing support from Craig, faculty members, the Craig School of Business Advisory Council and each other. Additionally, the owners are expected to donate a portion of their store’s proceeds back to the University. So far, those donations have totaled more than $230,000.
At the franchise dinner the evening before the competition, Jim Reinert ’73 received the inaugural Patron of Entrepreneurs Award in recognition of his support of the program, and owners of three stores were recognized for paying off the loans for their stores.