Huntsman Post

Huntsman students plan to launch new high-growth companies this year

By Jenna Jardine

A new program, started fall 2010 by the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, aims to launch several new high-growth companies within the next year.

The New Venture Development Group (NVDG) is a Utah State University organization made up of 20 select students who are generating and reviewing some 200 ideas as they attempt to identify the ones that will have the most potential. The group was created by the Huntsman School’s Entrepreneurial Program.

“The new organization provides students who are interested in entrepreneurship with a valuable, hands-on educational opportunity,” said Dave Clark, executive director of Entrepreneurial Programs at the Huntsman School of Business. “The lessons the students learn will teach them how to take control of their future and make a positive impact on society.”

Working with Mr. Clark is Mike Young, associate director of Entrepreneurial Programs and Luke Lancaster, the Development Group’s student president.

The Development Group doesn’t just tap students from the Huntsman School of Business, Mr. Young said. The group has recruited students from across campus, with engineering students showing a particular interest in the program. Mr. Young said the group has turned into an “expansive collaboration.”

Anyone from Utah State University with a business proposal they would like to see evaluated may contact the Development Group to have the students review the idea, Mr. Young said.

“The mission of Entrepreneurial Programs is to promote and propagate entrepreneurship throughout all USU campuses and all regions served by the university,” Mr. Young said. “To be successful, we must have an impact well beyond the Huntsman School of Business. This new program makes that possible.”

Mr. Lancaster said the group is reviewing the business ideas using a tournament approach that systematically narrows the field much like the television show “American Idol” selects the best contestants. After picking out a handful of proposals that the Development Group feels have high-growth potential, it will work with those who have generated the ideas to create management teams and initial funding that can help get the ideas off the ground, Mr. Young said.

“In addition to receiving a unique educational experience, these students will serve to greatly enhance economic development efforts in the regions served by USU,” said Mr. Lancaster. “This will all happen because we are putting these ideas into action; working with a management team and obtaining funding to actually get real businesses off the ground.”

Those interested in more information about the New Venture Development Group may contact Claire Adams at

Dan Allen, left, Mike Young, Luke Lancaster and Reed Page talk about proposals before them.
Mr. Young is the advisor for the New Venture Development Group. - Photo by Jenna Jardine