Ohio Wesleyan Marketing Students Help Refugee Entrepreneurs in Greece
By Cole Hatcher
OWU Connection Experience: Helping refugee entrepreneurs who recently migrated to Greece with marketing support for their fledgling businesses. The experience was sponsored by Ohio Wesleyan’s Woltemade Center for Economics, Business and Entrepreneurship.
Paddy Colligan ’24, Jenn Lee ’24, and classmates in a fall Marketing Management course worked with Global Brigades, the world’s largest student-led health and development organization, to assist refugee entrepreneurs in Greece to build up their new businesses. The course is taught by Matt Vollrath, D.B.A., assistant professor of Economics and Business.
The OWU students worked on four teams, helping entrepreneurs operating convenience, clothing design, grocery, and other business. The students assisted, as needed, with logos, social media marketing, inventory management, store layout, delivery services, and search engine optimization for business websites.
Colligan and Lee – with teammates including Joe W. Connor ’22, Eli Jernigan ’25, and Sixin Wang ’22 – worked to help entrepreneur Chidi Pius improve his “Chidi’s Internet Café,” a store that sells electronic accessories and international SIM cards and provides printing, faxing, and internet services.
“Our team worked on improving his marketing outreach to the local area, Colligan said. “We set up social media sites and accounts on Facebook and Instagram. We also created a flier to post to nearby hotels and stores. Another project we worked on was getting his Internet Cafe onto Google.”
Lee: “My favorite moment from this experience was being able to learn about several aspects of another culture … the economics of the country, popular tourist attractions, a little bit about the language, and, in general, the daily lives of the people who live in Greece. It was fascinating to have had the opportunity to learn about marketing in another country from the people of Greece themselves.”
Colligan: “I really enjoyed working on the individual projects for him. We split our group of six up into three mini groups to easily tackle the projects we had. Each project was designed to attain the goals we wanted to achieve.”
Lee: “Communication is imperative when working professionally with others. Especially because we were only communicating via email and Zoom, we had to make sure we used our time efficiently and effectively in order to accomplish the goals we set.” (For the project, each team was assisted by a Global Brigades translator and received guidance from the nonprofit organization’s professional business consultants.)
Colligan: “We learned how to approach a unique situation and use our marketing skills to accomplish the demands of a client. In this case, a small internet café wanted more traffic. So, we came up with three strategies we thought would best achieve that goal.
“For me personally, I think marketing could play a large role in my future. I really enjoyed this project and the idea behind marketing.”
Why Ohio Wesleyan?
Lee: “I chose to attend Ohio Wesleyan University because the institution has a great system in place in which students can have the best learning experience possible. On top of professors’ focus on helping students in any way they can, my classmates are supportive of each other and do their best to create a welcoming and comfortable environment as well.
“In addition, Ohio Wesleyan provided amazing scholarships that have helped me save so much money for my future, especially if I plan on attending graduate school after my undergraduate.”
Colligan: “I chose OWU because of the great business school and lacrosse program. I got recruited to attend Ohio Wesleyan because of lacrosse. I play goalie and my uncle, Patrick, played lacrosse here, which also enticed me.”
Lee: “My plans after graduation are to either attend business school to acquire an MBA or move to a large city to work as a digital marketer.”
Colligan: “My plans are to hopefully have a job in the marketing or sports management job field.”