Bauer Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship
Launches Amazon Seller Course
Bauer Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship Launches Amazon Seller Course
The online selling class offered by Bauer College's Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship is believed to be among the first of its kind offered by an undergraduate academic institution in the United States, according to WCE administrators.
The Amazon course is the latest in a trio of experiential learning opportunities for Bauer entrepreneurship students. The Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship (WCE) also allows students to develop business plans for intellectual property and to experience retail business with the annual Wolffest pop-up food festival on campus.
WCE is the No. 2 undergraduate entrepreneurship program in the nation, according to The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur.
Amazon is constantly changing their algorithm, their listing of products — everything is swirling in terms of Amazon. The market is constantly changing, and our program is constantly changing.
Executive Director, WCE
Entrepreneurs can’t overestimate the importance of finding a way to differentiate products they sell through Amazon, the vast online marketplace that grows by more than one million products each day.
Graduates of Bauer College’s Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship (WCE) are among those who have cracked the code and found success selling online.
A few years ago, two alumni approached WCE Executive Director Dave Cook about creating an innovative new course to help students gain firsthand experience as online sellers.
The class, which officially debuted in 2018, embodies many of the hallmarks of successful entrepreneurship, while drawing on the combined talents and generosity of graduates of WCE, the No. 2 ranked undergraduate entrepreneurship program in the country, according to an annual assessment of more than 300 schools by The Princeton Review.
“Everything that we’re doing with this course is exactly the way the market and entrepreneurship works,” Cook said. “Amazon is constantly changing their algorithm, their listing of products — everything is swirling in terms of Amazon. The market is constantly changing, and our program is constantly changing.”
The class features a curriculum valued at $5,000 that was developed and gifted by Matt Clark (’09). Clark developed the Amazing Selling Machine course after he created a successful online site that sells premium health supplements.
Brian Groce (’09), who now teaches the WCE class, had been in conversation with Cook about developing an online selling class when he connected with Clark. Another graduate, Melissa Munoz ('17), now a program manager with WCE, has been instrumental in creating and overseeing the class to be the first offered by an undergraduate academic institution in the U.S.
"Melissa has worked with Clark and Groce to help keep this project moving," Cook added. "She was the driving force in creating an extraordinary educational experience that enables every WCE grad to make the claim they've started a business."
The WCE students work in teams to procure inventory and collaborate with UH digital media students to create brand packaging and marketing materials. Students complete eight modules, learning how to source a product, research it, build an Amazon listing with keywords and SEO in mind, advertise and sell, all using real money (this year, $3,000 a team, raised through WCE’s annual Wolffest pop-up food festival event).
In the first class, two teams sold out of their inventory, while others continue to sell, and the program, like any entrepreneurial venture, will continue to evolve, Cook said.
“We’re continuing to tweak the project both in terms of making it an even better, deeper educational experience, and in terms of determining, can we make it a break-even experience, financially,” he said.
Cook added: “My goal is that when a student leaves our program, he or she will have had an opportunity to do an online business, he or she would have had the opportunity to work with intellectual property requirements that we have set up with the university, and he or she will have had an opportunity to experience retail business with Wolffest. We believe that the triumph of those three things offers an entrepreneurial student the most complete academic and experiential education they could receive anywhere in the country.”
As more and more WCE students return as mentors, they bring firsthand experience and ensure WCE curriculum is relevant and dynamic.
“This is a flow we see more and more, of students coming back and bringing us ideas,” Cook said. “The energy and enthusiasm and desire to come back to help is very much what we’re trying to nurture here.”