By Jimmy Muniz Jr.
Many Barry students unlocked their entrepreneurial potential during COVID-19 lockdown, curating small businesses and other side hustles. These skills are exactly what Barry’s entrepreneurship lab (BEL) aims to nurture.
The lab helps Barry students, student-oriented businesses, alumni and community members to flourish and achieve their fullest potential within the business industry.
The entrepreneurship lab is led by Dr. Dale Hartz, assistant professor of management, who insists that the lab is “no club.”
"To me, a club is where we kind of chill and relax,” he said.
According to Hartz, since many Barry students are still figuring out what they want to do after graduation and, by the time they figure it out, they don’t have time to obtain much experience, they can use the lab to figure it out.
“One of the things that is important is that we enable [students] to have actual practical experience with working with clients, giving them the ability to develop something that they are going to use in the workplace,” said Hartz.
Students within the entrepreneurship lab collaborate with the Barry management consulting firm to gain this experience. Here, students assist real-life clients with marketing plans, leadership development, and strategic planning.
Senior marketing major Olivia Liu said that the Barry management consulting team changed her life. After transferring to Barry University about a year ago, she found a family within the team.
Further, Liu’s biggest accomplishment was obtaining “opportunities and experiences” that she wouldn’t have had without the club.
Such opportunities give students the skills and knowledge needed to work with clients and prepare them for the real world, while also giving them a good experience to put on their resumes.
Developing these skills and building relationships is something Hartz prides himself on facilitating. Beyond this organization, he dedicates his time to help those who are struggling and is the founder and executive director of Better Future Facilitators (BFF).
It was through this association that Hartz has built his life philosophy.
“At the end of the day, how can we help each other to make the world and our community a better place?” asked Hartz.
Liu has undertaken this philosophy since she began her time with the BEL. She plans to become an entrepreneur and start her own non-profit that specializes in homeless and at-risk youth.
While Liu is still at Barry, she plans to continue to participate in any opportunities the BEL has to offer.
Next fall, Barry entrepreneurship lab will hold its first pitch competition where coaches will help students develop a business plan that students will pitch to a panel of judges to win a cash prize.
One does not need to be a business major or have any prerequisites to join the BEL or BMC as it is interdisciplinary, welcoming students from all Barry schools and colleges to join.
The Barry Management Consulting team has an active group of social work alumni and current students who are involved, including Dr. Sheila McMahon, assistant professor of social work who co-leads the team alongside Hartz.
For those who wish to join, feel free to stop by Thompson Hall room 124. You may also contact Dr. Dale Hartz by email at DHartz@barry.edu or direct message them on their Instagram @BarryU.belab for more information.