XAVIER LAUNCH-A-BUSINESS COMPETITION
In its first two years, the Xavier Launch-a-Business Competition generated more than
300 applications for new businesses, using a public relations campaign developed
and managed by Elliot Grossman of Ashire Communications. The winners have
the potential to generate hundreds or thousands of jobs.
The public relations campaign won a Silver Award in the annual Blacksmith Awards
Contest, which recognizes outstanding PR efforts in Greater Cincinnati. The contest
is sponsored by the Public Relations Society of America.
Background: The Williams College of Business wanted to support new businesses, so
the College organized a competition for entrepreneurs. Winners are receiving support from
the College’s faculty members and MBA students as well as members of the
Dean Ali Malekzadeh asked Elliot Grossman to organize the effort to generate applications.
Grossman’s public relations strategy focused on these main points:
• To create web pages devoted to X-LAB.
• To use public relations tactics and tools to drive people to those pages. That’s
where people could find more details about X-LAB and the only place they could file
• To use a variety of public relations tactics and tools because the news media and
other ways to reach people have become so fragmented. No single media outlet
reaches enough people anymore.
- A kickoff event designed to create a buzz in the business world. A key feature of
this event was a student-actor who portrayed Benjamin Franklin. He delivered an
opening monologue to engage the crowd. In addition to being a statesman, Franklin
was a renowned entrepreneur.
- Traditional news media, including newspapers, TV and radio.
- Emails from the College’s network of supporters to their personal and
- Announcements in digital publications produced by the University and College.
- Affinity groups, especially those focused on business, to spread our message to
- Partnerships with established economic development programs.
- Postcards, which prominently featured our web address.
- A video introducing X-LAB.