Managing a Startup with One Business Tool


Managing a Startup with One Business Tool

Mona Anita OlseniMADdu (I Make a Difference, Do You?) is a fast-growing nonprofit organization that helps college students gain real-world experiences through apprenticeships and mentorship. Started by Mona Anita Olsen during her PhD program at George Mason University, the business’s goal is to better prepare the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Like any small company, iMADdu was challenged to coordinate all the “pieces” of the business-- and there were many pieces. The Student Apprenticeship Program pairs students with local organizations for a part-time 10-12 week apprenticeship. Students spend time learning and aiding a local organization and obtaining entrepreneurship skills.

Olsen knew she needed tools that would help everyone involved -- students, client organizations and iMADdu management -- organized and focused.

At the highest level, there were:

  • student applications to track
  • interviews to conduct with organizations
  • placements to secure
  • curriculum modules to create
  • schedules to manage
  • hours to track
  • reviews to conduct
  • grants to manage
  • marketing materials to create
  • board members to update
  • historical records to keep

A colleague at George Mason University introduced Olsen to SmartSheet. While she tested many web-based project management solutions, none was as easy to use for all the constituents and fit the organizations broad collaboration needs than Smartsheet.

“We couldn’t run nor grow iMADdu without it,” says Olsen. “Last year we had two or three people using Smartsheet. Now, there’s at least 50 and that number continues to grow and scale successfully.”

Learn more about how the start-up uses the online project management and collaboration tool across nearly every facet of their business in the case study.


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