Iowa State University announced today an initiative to pair students with businesses looking for market research and consulting services.


The CyBIZ Lab, created by the university's College of Business, is intended to give students experiential learning opportunities and help businesses tackle problems that they either haven't had the time or staff to deal with.


"It's really a win-win for the companies and the students," said Judi Eyles, interim director of the CyBIZ Lab.


Students last semester worked with Ames-based WebFilings on a research project, and the Madrid-based Iowa Arboretum on a member satisfaction and market potential survey. This semester, the lab has projects lined up in the areas of market research, marketing plans, a product launch strategy and a logistics value analysis.


As far as what businesses can get involved, Eyles said, "the sky is the limit." It could be large, medium or small companies or nonprofit organizations, and the lab would welcome Greater Des Moines businesses, she said. 


The process could be as simple as a face-to-face meeting at the beginning of the project followed by phone or Skype meetings, or it could involve a business representative coming into a classroom to present a project and having students divide into teams to tackle it, Eyles said.


Though run by the College of Business, the lab is open to students of all majors.


To submit a project idea, go to Companies can submit an idea without making a firm commitment, Eyles said. The lab might not be able to take on every project, she said, but "we'll want to do as much as we can to be accommodating." The submission form could also serve as a way to connect businesses with a faculty researcher.