Student Entrepreneurs Benefit From Unique ASI Education Initiative

First-ever college affiliation with Babson College helps train next generation of distributors

TREVOSE, PA – October 24, 2013 – An inaugural education initiative between the Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) and Babson College helped business students and budding entrepreneurs gain work experience in the promotional products industry.

“ASI provided incredible resources,” said Scott Moore, dean of Babson’s undergraduate school. “It made an immediate impact on the program and was definitely a tool we appreciated.”

Under Babson’s Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship course (FME), a seven-credit immersion into the world of business, 21 instructor-led groups of about 20 students each received approximately $3,000 in seed money, which some groups used to buy, imprint and sell promotional products.

ASI, the largest media, marketing and education organization in the $19.4 billion promotional products industry, complemented Babson’s top-ranked business education coursework with real-world applications by granting participating students access to ASI’s ESP®, an online shopping mall where they could source and order every promotional product in the industry from 3,200 suppliers.

During the 2013-2014 school year, ASI and Babson will expand the program to enable up to 40 student businesses show and sell their products through an ESP Websites™ e-commerce company store.

“We hope this is just the start of a long and happy relationship with Babson and the superstars of tomorrow,” said Timothy M. Andrews, president and chief executive officer of ASI. “It would be great if these future business leaders look to their positive experiences with our suppliers and our industry when embarking on their careers. We plan to continue outreach to other colleges and universities to convince other business, marketing, advertising and new media students to join this exciting, creative industry.”

This year, branded promotional products found on ESP and sold by Babson students included eco-friendly, American-made bracelets whose sale benefited children in need, iPhone accessories, fashionable USB bracelets that double as smartphone chargers, self-stirring mugs and glow-in-the-dark apparel. By using ESP and reputable ASI member companies, students said they felt confident they were selling quality products.

Surveyed students described positive experiences and said they would recommend future use of ASI as a business and educational resource. Comments included:

  • “It was great because it allowed us to have a reputable way to contact a trusted supplier.”
  • “Definitely continue to provide ASI as a resource… ASI helps legitimize the business immediately and gives a group of college kids credibility.”
  • “Without the strong relationship with our supplier that our COO worked on throughout the semester, we would not have been so successful.”
  • “ASI was incredibly valuable in determining a good supplier within the U.S.”

One group of budding entrepreneurs who turned to ASI after start-up issues impacted their timeline described the process as “very helpful” and said, “We as a company decided to only look for ASI-sourced suppliers since we knew that they would be reputable companies we could immediately work with… ASI was a great tool that allowed everyone to search for possible suppliers even as our business changed from streetlamps to silicon wristbands. They have everything.”

After Babson’s student-run 2013 businesses closed, $16,445 in profits were donated to 13 different community service organizations. To date, Babson has donated over $400,000 to charities.

ASI annually invests $1.3 million to educate members. During the 2013 ASI Show® season, 6,131 industry professionals attended live education classes, making ASI the largest educator in the industry. To date, 1,113 industry professionals have been certified through the ASI Education Certification Program, with more than 29,000 enrolled in ASI’s free Online Learning Center. Click here for a complete overview of ASI Education.

For more information or to create a similar education program, please contact Nicole Rollender,executive director of professional development for ASI, at [email protected] or (215) 953-3478.

About ASI
The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) is the largest media, marketing and education organization serving the promotional products industry, with a network of over 25,000 distributors and suppliers throughout North America. ASI leads the industry in technology solutions, providing cloud-based e-commerce, enterprise resource planning software (ERP) and customer relationship management software (CRM). ESP Web® is the industry’s leading tool for sourcing hundreds of thousands of products. A family-owned business since 1962, ASI also provides online research, marketing, advertising opportunities, trade shows, education, award-winning magazines, newsletters, custom websites and catalogs to help members sell, market and promote their brands. Visit ASI at and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and the CEO’s blog.

About Babson College
Babson College is the educator, convener, and thought leader for Entrepreneurship of All Kinds™. The College is a dynamic living and learning laboratory, where students, faculty, and staff work together to address the real-world problems of business and society — while at the same time evolving our methods and advancing our programs. We shape the leaders our world needs most: those with strong functional knowledge and the skills and vision to navigate change, accommodate ambiguity, surmount complexity, and motivate teams in a common purpose to create economic and social value. As we have for nearly a half-century, Babson continues to advance Entrepreneurial Thought and Action® as the most positive force on the planet for generating sustainable economic and social value. For information, visit

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