Partners for Prosperity

Missouri Western Students Taste Sweet Success


Students and alumni at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph can become franchise owners of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory or Aspen Leaf Yogurt stores through a partnership developed with Steve Craig, founder and president of Craig Realty Group.MSU entrepeneurs at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

Graduating seniors or alumni in Missouri Western’s Craig School of Business are eligible to enroll in an applied entrepreneurship class and compete to own a franchise. Students in the class write a business plan and finalists present it to a panel of judges.

Since the program began, 15 franchises have been awarded in 10 states. Craig initially provided the start-up capital for the store owners with an agreement that they pay back the loan within five years. The capital is now provided by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for both their Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and Aspen Leaf Yogurt stores.

The program was originally just for graduating seniors in the Craig School of Business, but now includes any Craig School of Business alumni and is offered two times a year instead of just once.

As part of the program, the young entrepreneurs receive ongoing support from faculty members, the Craig School of Business Advisory Council and Craig. All owners have been successful to date. In fact, three owners have already paid off their loans.

In May 2013, an alumnus was awarded a Fresca’s Mexican Grill, which was owned by Craig. The program will expand in the near future when students will have the option of different franchises in the Kansas City Metro area.