A training ground for potential future business owners and an incubator for new product ideas, the Patriot Pollinator Coalition, a social entrepreneurship program in George Mason University School of Business’ Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, offers students real-world, hands-on experience.
The group of student interns and volunteers, guided by Assistant Professor David Miller, executive director of the Center, and Program Manager Becky Howick, can frequently be spotted around campus wearing green bee-print Hawaiian shirts and black baseball caps. They are responsible for developing products, partnering with local businesses to manufacture the products, and developing marketing and sales strategies.
“It builds you up to be stronger,” Soulin Reyes, business management major, senior and president of the coalition, said of the door-to-door sales that take her into many campus buildings and offices. “When you go out to sell, it’s not always easy. People will say ‘no’ or ‘I don’t care’ and will even be rude to you. But you have to learn how to take it. Not everybody wants the same thing.”
Part of the coalition’s mission is to revitalize bee populations and advance bee research. To support this mission, the students produce and sell various products, including raw honey, honey-infused K-cups, tea bags, lip balm, baseball caps, seeds for flowers that attract bees, and their iconic Hawaiian shirts. They are looking to expand their product line in the near future with honey-infused energy gel and beeswax wrapping paper. Since the coalition is also passionate about the environmental and social impacts of the bees, 20 percent of all proceeds goes toward pollinator research.
Read more about the coalition in Mason’s original article, “Patriot Pollinator Coalition Busy as Bees.”