UVU student-led marketing business bridges employment gap | News, Sports, Jobs

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Digital marketing students are photographed for their website in the photo studio and social media room on the campus of Utah Valley University in Orem on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019.

Courtesy Erik Flores, UVU Marketing

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Digital marketing students are photographed for their website in the photo studio and social media room on the campus of Utah Valley University in Orem on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019.

Courtesy Erik Flores, UVU Marketing

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David Prysbyla, founder of Green House Marketing, a student-led business at Utah Valley University.

Courtesy Erik Flores, UVU Marketing

David Pryzbyla had a dream. He wanted to bridge the employment gap — the gap where university students are learning their trade, but when they graduate they don’t have enough real-world experience to get a career job.

That gap usually leaves graduates settling for internships, at much lower pay, until they’ve proven themselves.

Pryzbyla’s dream came to fruition two years ago when he founded Green House Marketing Agency at Utah Valley University. While housed at UVU, the business is not a part of a class; it is its own startup company led by students outside of class time.

According to Pryzbyla, like the typical all-glass greenhouse for growing vegetables and flowers, UVU’s Green House business stabilizes the learning temperature for year-round growth of a real student-led business and is important for the cultivation of students and the exhibition of their skills.

Pryzbyla is excited about what has already happened with the business and what the near future looks like.

“In two years, we have built it up to 16 students challenging business models. It’s my goal to lose these students to other jobs,” Pryzbyla said.

Pryzbyla, looking at the interest students are having in the business, is expecting to see around 40 students working at Green House by 2025. Data is showing major potential in that direction, he says.

There are more than 130 students in UVU’s sales program — 77% male and 23% female this past year. According to Pryzbyla, Green House Marketing’s revenue from closed deals is $110,000 from approximately 50 companies. Green House is also showing a 100% job placement for graduates, yielding an average yearly income of $73,000, Pryzbyla said.

According to promotional material, the mission of Green House Marketing “is to provide companies with unmatched value by accelerating small business growth through the fusion of sales operations and marketing. Through the agency, students gain marketable experience and practical skills.”

Some businesses benefitting from Green House include Marriott, Dexter & Dexter Attorneys at Law, Osmond Design, Rakuten and others.

Marilyn Momeny, owner of Escape in Time escape rooms, said she wasn’t having much luck with her business recognition and her previous marketing group wasn’t meeting her needs.

She opted to try out Green House Marketing, which identified a problem with how her business was classified by social platforms — as “entertainment” only instead of as an escape room experience.

The Green House students fixed that and some other things and Escape in Time started getting recognizably more business, she said.

The program is working for the students as well, as exemplified by Jake Leavitt.

“As I was approaching my senior year at UVU, I was still working as a janitor at a local charter school and knew I needed an internship to start gaining experience in the field,” Leavitt said in a prepared testimonial. “I applied to various places for over four months, but I couldn’t land jobs since they were looking for someone with more experience.”

Leavitt said that it seemed counterintuitive since he was applying for internships, the kind of experience he was wanting.

“Toward the end of my search, I was feeling defeated. I applied for Green House on a whim, and Professor Przybyla called almost immediately. He completely understood my situation, told me more about this new program, and offered me the position on the spot,” Leavitt said.

He happily took up the offer, and Leavitt said he was glad he did.

“In my year at Green House, I was able to build my experience in a way I didn’t expect. Shortly after starting, I was promoted to the role of project manager, and again shortly after that, I was promoted to be the business development representative. In such a short period, I was able to grow my role enough to quit my job as janitor and focus my time solely on building my experience in the field,” he said.

Leavitt graduated as a trained digital marketing specialist with real-world clients.


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