Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Brittany Rose does not always feel as though she has enough hours in the day.
There is the necessary classwork she has in the VCU School of Business, where she is a senior majoring in both marketing and the small business and entrepreneurship track of the business administration and management degree, and then there is the responsibility of More Than Cheer, the burgeoning small business that she founded in 2007 and has been diligently working to build ever since.
Still, Rose is finding the time to thrive in both worlds.
In academia, Rose is “a special student who is exactly the kind of person we like to see in the School of Business,” according to one of her past teachers, David Urban, professor of marketing and executive associate dean of the VCU School of Business.
And, in the business world, More Than Cheer, a cheerleading and dance consulting company, continues to gain a foothold. The business provides individual and small group instruction for cheerleaders and coaches through camps, clinics and classes. It has partnerships with a number of after-school programs and local recreational facilities and manages two semi-pro cheerleading squads.
Rose, a former high school cheerleader, started More Than Cheer not only because she saw the cheering industry as a large one that was going to continue to grow but because she knew firsthand the kind of positive impact the sport could have on young girls.
Since diving into business ownership, Rose has been learning the fundamentals of running a business by actually doing it, restlessly seeking to improve herself and better her understanding of the mechanics and mystery of small business ownership while she keeps More Than cheer afloat and growing.
Rose took a big step in the right direction in the fall when she was one of just six students selected to compete in the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards East Coast Regional Finals at the New York Stock Exchange. The competition is operated by the Entrepreneurs Organization and proved to be a networking hotbed for Rose. She’s received some mentoring help from some of the contacts she made there – all of them entrepreneurs who have faced many of the same obstacles she has. In particular, she cited Duane Spires, a Florida entrepreneur with a sports-based business who through a program called ETC has provided Rose with extensive insight into his own business and how his experiences might be instructive for Rose in her endeavor.
“It’s been life-changing and business-altering for me,” Rose said.
Rose said her business studies at VCU have helped reinforce some of the real-world instruction she is receiving through More Than Cheer, as well as helped inform the strategies and tactics she takes to grow the business.
“There’s been a lot of faculty support,” Rose said. “There are some great resources.”
Classes with Urban and Matthew Rutherford, an associate professor of management whose focus is small businesses and entrepreneurship, have proved especially beneficial. Both professors, she said, have been “supportive and inspiring.”
Urban said Rose is in some ways an ideal student: driven, talented and curious.
“She’s an incredibly enthusiastic, proactive student who has really done everything she could to translate what she learned in the classroom to her business,” Urban said. “She doesn’t just show up to her classes. She really thinks about what she is learning. She thinks about ‘how can this benefit me.’”
Rose hopes to continue to expand More Than Cheer after college, first beyond Virginia and eventually into international markets.
“I think the sky’s the limit,” Rose said. “There’s such a big need for what we do. There’s a lot of opportunity in it.”
Rose views More Than Cheer as her chance to make a living doing what she loves while providing a valuable service. In fact, Rose hopes ultimately to develop a nonprofit that is attached to More Than Cheer that can focus on other avenues of support for the population that the business benefits.
“I want to make a lasting impact on the girls that I serve,” Rose said.