Joanne Mogridge, CEO of Bowen Island-based Cocoa West Chocolatier, took the in-class approach with Riipen pursuing several faculty-supervised in-class projects as opposed to public community challenges. Over the span of three semesters, Joanne put forth three unique project scopes to be the focus of real-world classroom assignments at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, York University’s Schulich School of Business and Capilano University. Looking for ways to improve her communications to reach larger audiences and increase her online presence due to regional brick-and-mortar limitations, Joanne’s three projects were largely marketing and project management focused.

Kicking off in April 2017, the Sauder project had students develop project growth plans with actionable steps for the two growing facets of the business: wholesale distribution of their drinking hot chocolate to be served in distinctive cafes and tourist venues, and online by creating an educational platform to teach chocolate making skills to entrepreneurs who had already opened their own small artisan chocolate business or were interested in doing so. Building on her first project, the Schulich project facilitated through remote collaboration launched in July 2017 and tasked students to develop cost-effective marketing and promotion recommendations for Joanne’s online educational platform. Lastly, Joanne’s Capilano project kicked off in October of 2017 and had the students perform an in-depth brand audit and analysis by conducting primary and secondary market research.

Ultimately, Joanne was able to schedule her projects in sequence so they could build on one another helping her push through the ideas from conception to execution. These experiences were also a great way for her to increase awareness around the business amongst a demographic that values high-quality artisan goods as well as unique experiences, and gain fresh insights while supporting student learning in the process. 

For more information on how you can get your small business involved, please connect with our team.

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