The Craig School of Business at Missouri Western State University announced that Nathan Nold, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree last month, has won a business opportunity through the school’s franchise program.

Nold, of Savannah, Missouri, was one of the finalists from a senior-level applied entrepreneurship class this spring who prepared business plans and presented them to a panel of judges that included Steven L. Craig, benefactor of the Craig School of Business, other business leaders, representatives from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and Missouri Western graduates who won franchises in previous years.

“Ten students began the program this semester, but Nathan hung in, did everything that was asked of him, made an outstanding presentation of his business plan to the panel and today the judges were unanimous that he had earned this opportunity,” Craig said. “I have no doubt he’s going to be a big success.”

Nold was awarded a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Store in Petaluma, California.

The marketing and management major has owned and operated his own auto detailing business throughout college and gained experience in the business world working for American Family Insurance. An involved student leader, Nold served as a student ambassador and on the executive boards of the Griffon Edge Freshmen Orientation Program and Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity. He is also a member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and Beta Gamma Sigma Business National Honor Society.

“Nathan has shown commitment and dedication to compete and be awarded a store,” said Pam Klaus, director of franchise programs in the Craig School of Business. “He will be a great addition to the alumni franchise owner group!”

Nold joins 17 other program alumni who have opened 27 businesses across the country with sales in excess of $13.7 million and more than 360 employees. The franchise program was founded in 2009 by Craig, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and Missouri Western to offer entrepreneurship opportunities to graduating seniors.

In 2012, the program partners announced a significant expansion, allowing any alumni of the Craig School of Business to take the class and compete for a business, no matter when they graduated. Other franchise companies have joined Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in the program as well: Aspen Leaf Yogurt; Auntie Anne’s Pretzel Perfect; Billy’s Pizza, Pasta, Po’ Boys; Blaze Pizza; Flip Flop Shops; Fresca’s Mexican Grill; Golden Corral; U-Swirl Frozen Yogurt; Which Wich Superior Sandwiches; and Yogurtini Self-Serve.

The program provides initial capital for the stores, which the alumni pay back over five years. The entrepreneurs also receive ongoing support from faculty members, the Craig School of Business Advisory Council, Craig and each other. Additionally, the owners are expected to donate a portion of their store’s proceeds back to the University. So far, those donations have totaled more than $260,000.