I’ve been working on a series with current and former University of Michigan students who have taken Dr. Eric Fretz’s Entrepreneurial Creativity class. Fretz, as he’s known on campus, is somewhat of a celebrity in the community. Known for his wit, unusual teaching methods and challenging his students to “do epic s***,” several groups have gone on to establish fully-fledged businesses by the end of the semester.
Here are some team projects -- and companies -- I’ve featured so far.
Michigan Waffle House Club 🧇
This group made it their mission to bring the state of Michigan’s first Waffle House to Ann Arbor. Aside from campaigning on social media and gaining traction for their movement, the group launched a Google form in November and personally delivered almost $1,000 worth of Waffle House orders from Ohio to students, faculty and Ann Arbor locals.
Their ideal location for the 24/7 breakfast joint? South U.
Scrunchie Shot 🍸
Exactly as it sounds, this group invented a scrunchie that discreetly holds a shot of alcohol. Just before Christmas, one of their TikTok videos went viral and got over one million views. Since then, the group has been busy handmaking the Scrunchie Shots in Ann Arbor and shipping them throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Fun fact: Their first customers weren’t students. They were football moms.
Consisting of engineering students, this group invented a mechanism that “prints” photos on toast. Fretz told them that if they could successfully print a photo of Jim Harbaugh on a slice of bread, he’d give them an A+.
They did just that.
Fifty State Suds 🧼️
Onto another handmade in A2 product -- this team launched Fifty State Suds, a line of soaps in the shape of every state. For now, they are selling a Michigan bar, which comes in three colors and costs $5.99.
The group is currently in talks with downtown businesses to get their Mitten State soaps in local gift shops and boutiques.
Grandson on Call 💻
This team was unique because they expanded on one student’s business that he had already started in high school. Classmates helped Florida native Brett Wolff take his business, which helps older adults with technology, and move it completely online during the pandemic.
Stay tuned for more in this series. Have a great rest of the week.
- Meredith (@meredith_A4)
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