Wildcat Market gives student entrepreneurs a chance to prowl

John Berry

“Your imagination, your product, your profit” is the tagline for NMU’s Wildcat Market, a new entrepreneurial fair that is designed for students or student organizations to sell their goods or services. The first Wildcat Market was held Wednesday, Sept. 1 in the academic mall.  According to the Student Activities and Leadership Programs office, this program will continue to happen on the first Wednesday of every month for the next two years, and will occur in the downstairs area of the Learning Resource Center.

Wildcat Market coordinator Victoria Leonhardt said that NMU faculty sought inspiration from a similar market at the University of South Florida called the Bull Market.

The market coordinator added that the majority participating are students selling their goods.

“Most of the people we have are art students,” said Leonhardt. “We also have a masseuse who’s coming to book appointments as well as offer massages.”

The newly created market is being funded by the Wildcat Innovation Fund, which will support the event for the next two years.  The grant was established in 2009 and has already funded seven academic projects since 2009. David Bonsall, the director at the Student Activities and Leadership Programs office, said that Associate Professor of Economics Tawni Ferrarini helped put the Marketplace together by requesting the Innovation fund.

“Tawni Ferrarini worked with us, and some of our students were also interested,” Bonsall said. “They (students and staff) put together a proposal for a Wildcat Incentive Grant, so they got that to help fund the expenses.”

Bonsall also said that students will be able to use the Wildcat Marketplace this year to sell their products or services.

“This is a chance for individual students or student organizations to come up with a good or service that they can sell…  The one stipulation (is that) it has to be something (the students) create,” said Bonsall.

Senior art and design major Jaclyn Kraemer is using the Wildcat Market to provide affordable artwork for Northern students.

“I try to cater my jewelry and apparel to college kids, because I know that they don’t come to school with a whole lot of money,” Kraemer said.

Kraemer, whose artwork includes tie-dyed shirts and multi-media paintings, said she found out about this opportunity late last semester.

“I saw a flyer for this at the end of the spring semester at the art building, and was like, ‘Wow, this could be a sweet opportunity,’” said Kraemer. “I think this will be really great for a lot of organizations.”

It’s $20 to sign up for a table, and if the participator completes five learning modules, they receive a $10 refund.

To sign up for the Wildcat Market, students can visit the Center for Student Enrichment for an application.