Crexendo Spurs Student-Run Businesses

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The most interesting thing that comes from the Crexendo website contests is the variety of different types of websites and businesses that students build. The contest at University of Utah was no exception.

The Crexendo website contest is a great way for business students to make themselves stand out when graduating and competing with 2,000 or so other people.

Some created websites for existing businesses. Others started brand new businesses based on the websites they built. In either case, University of Utah (U of U) students who entered a website contest sponsored by Crexendo got real-life experience in e-commerce. Crexendo is a Web marketing company based in Tempe, Arizona. Its University Program (UP) holds website contests at various universities. The contests are designed to give university students with any level of online experience exposure to website design, building, and marketing.

Jeff Hassett, a business lecturer at the university, said, “The Crexendo website contest is a great way for business students to make themselves stand out when graduating and competing with 2,000 or so other people.”

The most interesting thing that comes from the Crexendo website contests is the variety of different types of websites and businesses that students build. The contest at U of U was no exception. Third place winner Daniel Bagby used his website to get business for a friend in the Austin, TX area who is a personal trainer. Second place winner Colton Gardner built a website to sell gift cards from various retail outlets and restaurants. And first place winner Annie Paul built a site for the organic soap business her father started after being laid off from his job.

Program chair Olivia Sheng, PhD said, “We like to have companies from the business community partner with our students on projects like this. When these students graduate, they do so with real-world experience already on their resumes.”

Student contestants each got a free website, access to the Crexendo CMS (content management system), and training from Crexendo in different aspects of Web marketing. They had about three months, beginning in the fall of 2010, to build their websites.

“It’s remarkable that students, many with no web building skills and carrying full-time class loads, manage to develop what in some cases are extraordinary websites,” said Crexendo President Clint Sanderson. “It’s a learning experience for the students but also for Crexendo. We learn more about the needs of our customers. This contest lets us be a good corporate citizen but it also helps us continue to optimize our software.”

Contestants get six months of free web hosting for their sites and pay $9.95 per month thereafter if they choose to keep their websites running. This is Crexendo UP’s first event at U of U, but they plan to make it an annual event. Cash prizes awarded were $7,500 for first place, $5,000 for second place, and $2,500 for third place.

“You can win either by taking an extraordinary idea and doing well, or by taking an ordinary idea and doing extraordinarily well,” said Crexendo CEO Steve Mihaylo.

Crexendo is a technology company that serves small- and medium-sized businesses. It specializes in Web marketing services and hosted business telephone services. The Web marketing services Crexendo provides include link-building and other SEO, paid search management, social media strategy, conversion rate optimization (CRO), and more. It also offers free workshops on various Web marketing topics to groups of owners and managers. http://www.Crexendo.com

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