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WSSU Students Work with Neighborhood Businesses to “Stake Their Claim”

Since January, students at WSSU have partnered with seven small business owners to develop a marketing plan that includes new signage for the newly named Renaissance East Corridor, a small cluster of businesses located a few blocks from the university. The new signage will be unveiled at the event. 

The project will be completed this semester by students in an entrepreneurial marketing (MKT 3305) course taught by Dr. Notis Pagiavlas, marketing professor and founding director of the WSSU Center For Entrepreneurship (CFE).

The project, called “Stake Your Claim,” is supported through the S.G. Atkins Community Development Corp., which assists East Winston residents and businesses and also partnered with the City of Winston-Salem on the East End Master Plan, and CFE. The project is allowing students to gain hands-on experience but also impact an area near campus.

Last year, Dr. Pagiavlas attended several meetings with the businesses to gain preliminary insights of their vision, operations, and marketing challenges. During the meetings, businesses agreed on three phases to improve their marketing strategy as they reach their intended target markets: 

  • Create a community organization of neighbors collaborating to strengthen their businesses.
  • Collaborate with CDC and CFE to install and design matching outdoor signage and marketing material.
  • Prepare marketing plans to include improve property appearance (property repairs, painting, build a coffee shop, brighter street lights, attractive landscaping).

Based on the description of the needs provided by each partner business, students chose one business and were tasked in teams over the course of the spring semester to create a marketing plan that includes matching signage for each business and a website to support an extensive social media presence. 

The signage was custom-built by Leon’s Custom Signs & Designs. Marketing plans for each business and their websites will be completed by the end of the month.

“We want to help increase the visibility of businesses in this historically significant corridor, and we’re excited that these entrepreneurs are working with WSSU students to form their own marketing collaborative and generate ideas to promote the area,” said Carol Davis, executive director of the Atkins CDC.