Butler University has received a $3 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to continue operation of Butler’s Business Accelerator, a component of the College of Business. The Business Accelerator received a $22 million grant from the Endowment in 2005.
The Business Accelerator provides growth strategies to mid-market Indiana businesses using an innovative model that blends the expertise of seasoned consulting service professionals, the functional knowledge of Butler faculty and the intellectual curiosity of business students.
“There is no substitute for real-world learning in which our students can analyze and make decisions that can have real business consequences,” said College of Business Dean Chuck Williams. “Undoubtedly, the Business Accelerator and its clients provide a multitude of experiential learning opportunities for business students.”
Since the Business Accelerator became fully operational in 2007, it has worked with 45 clients on 138 specific projects. The clients are chosen on the basis of the educational opportunities they present for Butler students and faculty. Past clients have included Café Patachou, Engledow Group, Pearson Automotive, Smithville and WasteAway Group.
The new grant from the Endowment will allow the Business Accelerator to continue its work with existing clients and also offer its services to businesses and organizations with which it has not worked before. It plans to expand the types of organizations with which it works to include businesses with much larger annual sales (upward of $500 million), businesses not headquartered in Indiana but with a major presence in the state, as well as not-for-profit organizations, trade, civic and government entities.
The grant also allows the Business Accelerator to continue its student internship program which includes 12 undergraduate interns and two MBA interns each semester.
“We remain very thankful for the generous support from the Lilly Endowment,” said Business Accelerator Executive Director Lawrence A. O’Connor Jr. “Through its support, we have had the opportunity to help mid-market businesses throughout the state accelerate their top-line growth and thrive in challenging economic times.”
Jim Engledow, president of Engledow Group, said, “The Butler Business Accelerator has helped deliver results for the Engledow Group by making our employees part of the Accelerator’s process. The Accelerator team created buy-in from those who could effect change, which other consultants had been unable to do for us. As a result, our year-to-date sales are up 23 percent. Working with the Accelerator has been money well spent.”
Results from other Business Accelerator client engagements include:
- One client yielded a 35 percent increase in sales, resulting in a fourfold increase in free cash flow.
- Through the execution of a targeted sales and marketing campaign, the Business Accelerator helped another client see a sales increase of 16 percent over a 9-month period and 25 percent over 12 months.
- The Business Accelerator revealed over $2 million in inventory reduction opportunitiesto a client.
- In collaboration witha client’s leadership, the Business Accelerator identified over $3.5 million in revenue and $1 million in gross profit.
- The Accelerator identified over $500,000 in short-term and long-term profit improvement measures for another client.
The Business Accelerator’s primary service offerings include: Business Strategy, Operational Discipline, Organizational Development, Sales and Marketing Services and CFO Services.
Media contact: Courtney Tuell