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Charla Mathwick
Charla Mathwick

Start-Up Endeavors

Taking ideas beyond the classroom

A goal for many students when they graduate from college is to be their own boss. Through classes and activities focused on innovation, associate professor of marketing Charla Mathwick helps make that a reality. She encourages her students to "get their hands dirty" by taking their ideas from the classroom to the real world.

The bare minimum most students want from their college education is a good job. How much better would it be, though, to create your own job and be your own boss? Charla Mathwick, an associate professor of marketing, works with students both in and out of the classroom to help them create innovative business plans that can set them on the course of becoming successful entrepreneurs.

"We’re really trying to do more than just give students an academic perspective on innovation," Mathwick said. "We want them to get their hands dirty and experience what it takes to bring something to life."

Mathwick encourages her students to take their ideas outside the classroom and into the community. Several of her students have had successful business endeavors, including the founders of the delivery service My Street Grocery.

For the past two years, Mathwick has coached at yearly Startup Weekends at PSU in which student teams spend 54 hours developing ideas into viable business plans. Mathwick is also the lead on the proposed project Launch in 9 — a cross-disciplinary project wherein students develop a business concept over the course of 9 months, culminating in market launch and revenue generation. If funded, Mathwick says the project would play a role in connecting students to the active community of entrepreneurs in the Portland area.

"Oregon is home to one of the most engaged and passionate entrepreneurial community in the country, ranking 6th nationally in terms of per capita start-ups. Through Launch in 9, we hope to embed Portland State students in Oregon’s entrepreneurial network."

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