Crexendo Gives Students a Big Taste of Real-World E-Commerce

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Biola University students who entered a website contest sponsored by Crexendo showed imagination and creativity beyond expectations. These contests give university students with any level of online experience exposure to website design, building, and marketing. Notice the variety of business ideas.

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Crexendo CEO Steve Mihaylo speaking at Biola University.

It’s our way of giving a ‘hand up’ to future business leaders.

Biola University students who entered a website contest sponsored by Crexendo showed imagination and creativity beyond expectations. Crexendo is a Web marketing company based in Tempe, Arizona. Its University Program (UP) holds website contests at various qualifying universities in the western United States. These contests give university students with any level of online experience exposure to website design, building, and marketing.

“It’s our way of giving a ‘hand up’ to future business leaders,” said Crexendo CEO Steve Mihaylo. In fact, the website contests held by Crexendo at various host universities have sparked the creation of numerous student-run businesses. This year’s contest at Biola University was no exception.

Officials from Crexendo awarded prizes as part of the second annual Imagination Summit, an event that highlights collaborative learning and the future of technology within higher education.

The team who won third place, Ben Brandt, Christian Sprunger, and Alex Granger, built a website where singles can go to get ideas for fun dates, get discounts on some of the suggested venues, and even have reservations made for them (http://www.InitiateYourDate.com). Second place winners Stephen Diaz and Jeff Robert built an e-commerce site selling water treatment kits (http://www.WaterYourselfKits.com). First place winners Isaac Svensson and Morgan Lott built a site to promote their video company specializing in video montages of weddings and other events (http://www.MawwiageFilms.com).

Fifteen student teams each got a free website, access to the Crexendo CMS (content management system), and training from Crexendo on different aspects of Web marketing. They had about three months to build their websites.

Prize money pay-outs were $7,500 for first place; $5,000 for second place; $2,500 for third place. Judges from Biola University evaluated websites on Appearance (15%), Mechanics (35%), Marketing (25%), Overall Idea (25%), plus a bonus category called Traction, wherein contestants could earn up to 10% extra points for actual leads or sales their websites generated.

“It’s remarkable that students, many with no web building skills and carrying full-time course 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 because 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 innovate with our software and services.”

Contestants get six months of free web hosting and customer support for their sites and pay $9.95 per month thereafter if they choose to keep their websites running.

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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Dominic Bria
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