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The Studentpreneur Show Episode Seventeen: Taking Advantage of College Accelerators – With MyFetalLife creator, Riya Shah

College, General, Media, Mobile, Podcast By November 29, 2019 No Comments

“Age is just a number.”

High school senior Riya Shah developed the concept for her business, MyFetalLife, when she was just a freshman, at age 15. Taegan interviewed Riya on The Studentpreneur Show about her amazing story of building a business while still roaming high school halls.

Riya was inspired by her mother’s pregnancy with her. Being the first child, the pregnancy with Riya held lots of unknowns and new experiences for her parents. Her mom traveled to the hospital several times due to Braxton-Hicks contractions, which, Riya adds, developed more stress and anxiety for her parents.

What is MyFetalLife?

Wanting to help women navigate their pregnancy with more peace of mind, Riya patented her concept and started MyFetalLife.

MyFetalLife is now an app with over 12 thousand users!

The app now contains numerous features beneficial for women trying to conceive through birth. The app also hosts a forum for women who have used the app to share their stories and opportunities for families to engage by sharing their due date predictions.

myfetallife-app-features

This free app for pregnant women offers many beneficial features throughout pregnancy.

How did a 15-year-old high school student learn how to start a business?

Riya shares that her family was incredibly supportive–always helpful at any age and any endeavor.

One of the most beneficial experiences she had when starting MyFetalLife was enrolling in the LaunchIt program at the University of Louisville. While Riya was the youngest person in the program, she learned how to create a business plan, start, and run her business in this ten-week business accelerator.

Like most businesses, Riya also has the guidance and support of a board of advisors, investors, and a great tech team. Riya’s mom also helps her make wise decisions through it all.

Over the past couple of years, Riya and her team have learned so much about building a sustainable business. First, the app already has a strong partnership with the American Pregnancy Association, which further legitimizes their resources for women. They have also come across a few hurdles. By listening to their customers and anticipating needs they now have a thriving app that helps over ten thousand pregnant women through this free service.

Riya reminds us that “age is just a number.”

Inspired by Riya? Us too! With passion and support, we can all do anything!

Listen to the full Studentpreneur Show episode HERE!

Share the free MyFetalLife app with someone who can use extra support during her pregnancy.

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The Studentpreneur Show Episode Twenty: The Fold-able Helmet Entrepreneur- with KOVA creator, Rachel Benyola

College, General, Podcast By October 31, 2019 No Comments

We know, we’re jumping out of order with our episode highlights. We had so much fun with this interview, that we couldn’t wait to share it with all of you!

On this episode of The Studentpreneur Show, we hear from Rachel Benyola, creator of KOVA. KOVA is a foldable helmet meant for biking, riding scooters, rollerblading, and more. Not only is it stylish, but it also does a great job of protecting your head. Rachel and Taegan talk about changing majors in college, going a different route than expected, and being what Rachel called “a proud doctorate school dropout.”

What is KOVA?

KOVA is a modern helmet company. Founded in 2016 by Rachel Benyola (2017 Drexel MBA gradudate).

Kova is the stylish foldable helmet that keeps you safe

Kova helmets are stylish, convenient, and safe!

Rachel and her team are driven by innovation. Their goal is to transform the helmet industry. The purpose of the KOVA helmet is to make safety more convenient and stylish.

Their goal is to “save lives while also helping people feel good about themselves.”

Where did Rachel Benyola get the idea for a foldable helmet?

In 2015 Rachel’s friend was in a cycling accident. While recovering from the accident that left her permanently blind in one eye, Rachel’s friend shared why she chose not to wear a helmet–it was inconvenient.

This struck Rachel. As a cyclist herself, she knew the importance of always wearing a helmet. She thought, instead of forcing people to wear helmets, why not make it a no-brainer for them.

She chose to approach this idea with the consumer’s involvement and take away all the reasons someone wouldn’t wear a helmet.

From her research (asking all the cyclists she knew), she found that people chose not to wear helmets due to lack of convenience and style.

This lead to the foldable, safe, stylish, and customizable helmet.

Rachel Benyola Founder of KOVA helmets

Rachel Benyola, a proud PhD dropout, followed her passion and has started a revolutionary company.

From Rachel’s story, we learn that conversations with your customers is critical. She wasn’t afraid to share her raw ideas and sketches.

Keeping Balance

In the interview, Rachel shares her experience being a studentpreneur.

While working on her second masters (her first masters is in psychology), Rachel was running a small company and starting KOVA! She shares that there was a lot on her plate, but was all worth it. She does share that that level of work can burn you out if you keep up with it all for a long time.

The way she kept up was by making the school assignments work for building her business, KOVA. She would ask instructors how to make her business goals work for the course. Her cohort rallied around her too. Several came on as interns.

The best realization was that when she put less pressure on herself, she actually did better in school.

Rachel shares several of the struggles of balancing school and starting the business:

  • While startups are exciting, make sure you really see if a team member is going to be willing to through the highs and lows of a start up-she suggests being selective when creating your team.
  • Breaks are so important.
  • Grades aren’t everything. Go for value, don’t put the pressure on yourself to grow your business and make straight As.

Bright Future on the Horizon for KOVA

We’re so excited that KOVA is officially launching March 2020!

You can currently pre-order your helmet HERE!

Their goal is to take over the helmet world for commuters (bikes, scooters, etc.), especially since they are the only foldable helmet.

Kova helmet is customizable

KOVA helmets are customizable with their changeable (and washable) skins and interchangeable straps.

KOVA is here for the modern rider experience. Their approach is that “you should dictate what you should think is stylish.”

Seeing a shift in how people move and commute, KOVA is confident that they’ll be part of this shift.

Kova

As with any business, KOVA has faced challenges. Unlike other businesses, KOVA’s challenges are unique since the foldable helmet is a new concept.

Challenges in Getting Started

Rachel shares her top three issues with growing the business:

  • Manufacturing. Since a foldable helmet has never been made before! She and her team had to make a whole new manufacturing process, not only a brand new product. Getting the right vendors to create this unique helmet was a challenge.
  • Finding the right talent. She suggests to have a second person (maybe a mentor) interview to make sure that the hire will be a great fit. To get a second opinion and to share, from their experience, what being part of a startup is really like will help weed out weak links on your team.
  • Own self-doubt. Combating imposter syndrome is real when you are an entrepreneur. Rachel encourages people to keep the student perspective while approaching your business. Use the phrase “I’m here to learn” while working on business, just as one would with school.

Rachel ends this amazing interview with so many bits of wisdom.

The best tip is to make time to step away from work so it will clear your head.

You definitely want to listen to this entire episode! You can listen and subscribe HERE!

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Episode Eleven of The Studentpreneur Show

The Studentpreneur Show Episode Episode Eleven: Make Money While Building Up a Company – Student Rep Program with Kyle Wilkins

General, Podcast By August 29, 2019 No Comments

On this episode of The Studentpreneur Show, we speak with Kyle Wilkins, the Director of Operations for CP Custom Prints based in California.  We get into the company’s goals, background, and how you can make money by working with them.

The History of CP CustomPrints

Kyle shares the history of CP CustomPrints, a true studentpreneur story! He and his friend, Kamal Andrawis, CEO of CP CustomPrints, attended Cal Poly Pomona together.

In 2016, tired of paying too much for low quality custom gear for their fraternity and clubs, Kamal and Kyle created CP CollegePrints (recently rebranded to CP CustomPrints after expanding to serve corporations and college students). At the time, they were still students at Cal Poly Pomona!

Growing Into The Role of Director of Operations

Since then, Kyle has served as Director of Operations. His responsibilities have involved almost every aspect of the company. As he learned in college, “you learn by doing!” Kyle shares that this philosophy has rang very true with the business.

Through this position, he has been able to grow his wheelhouse to include networking, managing vendors, quality assurance, and creating a team.  Since their humble beginnings in 2016, they have expanded their team and created a nationwide campus representative program.

Before jumping into Director of Operations for CP CustomPrints full time, Kyle had a full time job with a corporation after college. While it didn’t take long for Kyle to be able to transition to being at CP CustomPrints full time, the corporate job provided him with the skills and knowledge he needed to help CP grow.

In this interview with Taegan, Kyle shares business strategies and insight from his time with CP CustomPrints.

Greek Life, Campus Rep Programs, and CP CustomPrints

Since their story started with Greek Life, Taegan asks Kyle more about his fraternity experience. He says that it is not what media often portrays. In fact, CEO Kamal has a Ted Talk about the the misconceptions of Greek Life where he highlights the positive impact Greek Life and the college network has for students.

Many of their target market and ambassadors are part of Greek Life. Kyle speaks specifically to student considering campus rep opportunities. He also shares how students can get involved (and paid) with CP Custom Prints:

Curious about campus rep programs? We share 7 of the top programs (including CP CustomPrints) HERE!

Now, it wouldn’t be The Studentprenur Show without our guest sharing insight into work experience and how to approach opportunities. To hear the full episode including Kyle’s awesome insight, check out THIS EPISODE of The Studentpreneur Show.

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Streamlining the food truck industry with TruckBux - The Studentpreneur Show Podcast Interview

The Studentpreneur Show Episode Ten: Streamlining the Food Truck Industry – With Nick Nanakos, CEO of TruckBux

General, Podcast By August 15, 2019 No Comments

Nick Nanakos is changing the food industry by combining his passion with innovation. As a studentpreneur, Nick started TruckBux, the app for food trucks, while he was in college. In this episode of The Studentpreneur Show we learn how TruckBux is helping food trucks sky rocket their profits through their streamlining service.

What is Truckbux?

TruckBux is an app for food trucks. The vendors sign up (for FREE) to share their menu, location, and payment options with customers. When customers use the app they can see what food trucks are open near them, their location that day, place an order (hello, skip the line), and have more payment options than cash.

A Brief History of the Food Truck Industry

CEO and Founder, Nick Nanakos gives us a brief history about the food truck industry. He shares that before the recession of 2008, food trucks were rare. Within the past 11 years the country has seen a significant growth in the volume of food trucks. Over the past three years, the truck vendors have experiences an increase of 300% in revenue.

Nanakos credits the financial hardship of the 2008 recession with jumpstarting the food truck trend. With limited funds, new restaurant owners could experience a better profit with a mobile truck than with a brick and mortar location. The accessibility of the food truck option lured great chefs and entrepreneurs all over the country. ISBIS World reports that over 23,000 food truck businesses are in operation in 2019 and are only expected to grow!

streamlining the food truck industry

Food trucks are becoming more popular across the U.S.

Problems in the Food Truck Industry

While we all know the amazing reasons why we love food trucks (the amazing food, the personalization, the convenience, just to name a few), TruckBux acknowledges that these great businesses still face challenges. They are addressing the problems with food trucks head-on. What are these problems? Nanakos mentions the following challenges: long lines and wait times, many food trucks are cash only businesses, and sometimes they are hard to locate.

How does TruckBux create solutions?

TruckBux fixes all of the food truck problems for the customers and the vendors. When customers sign in they can choose the food truck, see where they are located that day, make an order, and pay with Venmo, Apple Pay or credit card. The customer will then be notified once their order is ready, so they don’t have to wait in line at all!

The food trucks have also seen an incredible increase in revenue because of TruckBux. Some vendors are reporting a 500% growth in a year since signing up with TruckBux! Because of the app, customers know where they are located and have more payment options even if the truck itself only takes cash. Both solutions strongly alleviate the issues food trucks have with sustaining customers.

Food truck vendors have several hurdles to overcome. TruckBux helps them exceed their goals.

What is the Mission of TruckBux?

With the food truck industry already rapidly growing, TruckBux aims to help power the sustained growth of the industry. To do this, Nanakos and his team are finding ways to increase the sales of vendors and get the app in use by more food trucks. He also wants to be part of the amazing experience customers can have with food trucks. With the app, they still get the full food truck experience but without any hassle.

How did Nick Nanakos create his business model?

Nick Nanakos started his college career pursuing finance. Between his classes and working in the wall street sphere he learned that this path wasn’t making him happy. He took the leap and made the switch. It wasn’t too hard to find his love for the food industry. Nanakos grew up in restaurants. His mom owned and operated a Greek restaurant. He’s very familar with the food industry and all the good and bad in between. Knowing that he wanted to create something larger than one or two brick and mortar eateries, Nanakos combined tech with his love of food trucks.

For the business, Nanakos aims to keep it simple. He says that simple messaging for marketing to food vendors and to customers works every time. He also aims to solve their biggest problems by making each aspect as simple and easy for everyone involved.

This simplicity includes how vendors sign up for the app. They complete a simple form and within a couple of days, their food truck information is up and running on the app! It’s free for trucks to join, too! TruckBux makes their revenue by charging a small percentage (smaller than other food delivery platforms) on each order made by a customer on the app.

The app also includes insight for vendors as to how TruckBux is helping them grow their market. When using the app vendors can run reports on how many of the customers are using TruckBux to find them. This comes is handy when bootstrapping business owners are ensuring that each of their tools is making them money and saving them time.

Small businesses like food trucks can benefit from the collective momentum that college students offer any start-up.

Best Tips for Entrepreneurial College Students

TruckBux CEO Nick Nanakos shares his best tips for college students with the entrepreneurial spirit! As a college student, he notes, this is the time to take risks. Do what inspires you and pursue what you want. Now is the time to make changes if you aren’t happy.

Nick also shares that college students are very beneficial for start ups. College students are hungry for experience, willing to work hard, and excited about new ideas. So, if you’re a college student, consider partnering with a start-up!

To learn more and download the app head to www.truckbux.com.

The Studentpreneur Show is proudly hosted by BookScouter.

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Lehigh University Professor Podcast Interview on The Studentpreneur Show

The Studentpreneur Show Episode Nine: A Different Way to Define Success With Professor Kauzmann of Lehigh University

General, Podcast By August 9, 2019 No Comments

On this episode of The Studentpreneur Show, we talk with Professor Chris Kauzmann from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania about a better way to define success. Lehigh is a private research university that offers incredible opportunities for growth and transformation. Professor Kauzmann is involved with the Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity, and Innovation.

What is Professor Kauzmann’s Lehigh Story?

Professor Kauzmann’s transformational story started at Lehigh when he was an undergraduate student. While feeling discouraged in his mechanical engineering degree, Chris was introduced to the Baker Institute in 2010, and the rest is history. Through his involvement with the Baker Institute, Chris’s life completely transformed. He later went on to earn his Maters degree from Lehigh in Technical Entrepreneurship.

After starting his own consulting company in product development, Professor Kauzmann was invited by the Baker Institute to return to Lehigh in 2014. With Professor’s Kauzmann’s insight and passion, the institute has expanded to include co-curricular programs, entrepreneurship programs, and travel programs, including international travel!

How does Lehigh University Define Success?

Success, shares Professor Kauzmann, is measured differently at Lehigh. Traditionally, entrepreneurship programs look at monetary, engagement, and time metrics to measure the success of their graduates. At Lehigh, it’s different.

Chris’s consulting company no longer exists. He shut it down after he learned he prefers teaching to consulting. Even though the business is no longer in operation, Professor Kauzmann shares that he is a Lehigh Univesrity success story. Why? Because they define success as one’s sense of fulfillment and transformation. Chris was transformed through his studies and work at Lehigh. All of this has lead to him feeling happier and more satisfied with his work than he imagined was possible.

At Lehigh, success is defined on a personalized level. Each student and graduate determines their own measure of success.  Their main focus is on educating students on the thinking process–the “Why” behind it all (cue Simon Sinek). They do this in addition to educating students on entrepreneurship standards.

How do they focus on the “why?” One of their methods by asking better questions. Professor Kauzmann states that he shares value by helping students ask the right questions, instead of offering them answers. He shares that the answers are in the market and shareholders. By asking better questions, his students can access the answers. This leads to their thriving businesses.

What are valued traits student entrepreneurs should develop?

Professor Kauzmann shares his insight into what traits he has seen in successful students. These traits include a fearless hunger for feedback. Chris shares that when perceived as helpful, feedback can propel you forward in your work. He also advises that students find the balance of where they seek advice. Professor Kauzmann encourages students to trust the experts and let opinions be opinions.

Taegan asks Professor Kauzmann to expand these traits to the business world. He shares that in his opinion honesty, self motivation, and genuine curiosity are most valuable in an entrepreneur. One of his favorite entrepreneurs who models these well is Yvon Chouinard of  Patagonia. He adds, Chouinard’s work “Let My People Go Surfing” is a great source of entrepreneurial wisdom.

Why are more college students interested in starting their own businesses?

There’s no question that the past decade has included an increase in young entrepreneurs. Why is there a growth in interest in college students to start their own businesses? Professor Kauzmann shares his opinion. He believes it is because of three main reasons. First, entrepreneurship has become the “cool” thing. It is cool to start something new, to struggle and to explore possibilities. Another reason is the increased opportunity for young adults to develop their new ideas. Finally, the appeal of being in control of one’s own life is a strong pull for many college students.

How can college students build their businesses with limited funds?

Lehigh University Professor, Chris Kauzmann shares three ways college students can build their businesses with limited funds.

1. Bootstrapping

Bootstrapping is asking yourself what resources do you already have access to that can help build your business or product. These can include tools and systems  you already own or have access to, asking for help, or inquiring with business owners further along in your field.

2. Utilize Grants and Competitions

Taking advantage of grants and competitions can provide financial support and mentorship for a young business. When applying to competitions and for grants, be aware that some of these opportunities are predatory. Read the terms and conditions carefully to ensure that you will not lose any rights to your business or products.

3. Investments

While this is a more traditional route to securing funding for your business, partnering with investors can give you the financial push you need to launch. Professor Kauzmann reminds listeners that fewer venture capital investments occur than are promoted by media and the general public.

Professor Kauzmann leaves us feeling inspired with this new way of defining success. This episode is incredibly values-centered and full of great tips on starting your own business and getting an internship. For that final insight, you’ll need to listen to the full episode. To hear all of Professor Kauzmann’s wisdom, CLICK HERE! 

To learn more about Lehigh University check out these resources:

Lehigh University website – https://www1.lehigh.edu/home

Baker Institute website – https://www.lehighbakerinstitute.com/

The Studentpreneur Show is proudly hosted by BookScouter.

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Written by J Studentpreneur Podcast Episode Eight

The Studentpreneur Show Episode Eight: Creating Products You Love with Written by J

General, Podcast By July 25, 2019 No Comments

Creating products you love is the soul of studentpreneurs. That’s why we are so fortunate to have interviewed Josie Hadaway for THIS EPISODE of The Studentpreneur Show!

Josie is a student at  Berry College in Georgia, where she is from. Her business, Written by J, is a line of beautiful, hand lettered gifts and home decor items that started in 2016. In this episode you’ll learn of the passion she has for the products she makes and how life is for her on campus while having this full business.

What is Written By J?

Written by J is owned and operated by Josie Hadaway. This business is Josie’s gift and home decor product shop that she officially started a couple of years ago. The product line includes hand lettered signs, water color prints, hats and mugs. Customers can also commission Josie to create one of a kind pieces for their own home or as gifts.

Create Products You Love_Framed_WrittenbyJ

Written by J hand lettered watercolor design.

How did Josie start her business?

Written by J came about organically. She was creating lots of fun and creative products that began taking up too much space in her home. This problem combined with family and friends asking her if they could purchase her pieces created a profitable solution.

Being in the entrepreneurship program at Berry College has opened up more opportunity for Josie. By competing in a pitch competition, Josie secured funding that will help her scale her business. Through her courses she’s learned more about business strategy, growth, marketing, and profit.

Once Josie started selling her pieces her passion for her art and business grew. She loves creating custom pieces for her clients and enjoys finding ways to create great products with great profit.

How to create products you love:

For Josie, she has always loved creating. From jewelry and pottery to hand lettering and painting, Josie has a natural gift when it comes to creating meaningful art. Once she found hand lettering, she didn’t stop. Through hand lettering and watercolor, Josie is able to create many different kinds of pieces. The possibilities are endless.

Create Products You Love - WrittenbyJosie_Suchatimeframed

Josie with one of the pieces she loves framed.

How to balance growing a creative business and being a college student:

Josie shares that it is a lot to juggle.  She graduates in 2020 and is active at Berry through the swim team and campus job. Actively participating in the entrepreneurship program at school is also helpful. Through this program at Berry Josie learns more about business and marketing. Her strategy for succeeding at both college and business is maintenance during the semester. During breaks her focus shifts to growing the business. She recognizes that it’s challenging to do both well all of the time.

How does a creative studentpreneur market their business?

Josie knows her market. That’s key to success for any business. By knowing her target market she is able to use social media appropriately and build an audience orgnaically through attending markets and word of mouth.

What is the future of Written by J?

Josie has great plans for Written by J! Just like other entrepreneurs, Josie want to continue creating products you love–you being herself and her target market. Once she graduates next year she plans to take on her work full time. With a singular focus, Josie hopes to cultivate more partnerships with other small businesses, expand her product line to include a digital line, participate in pop-up shops and markets around the country.

Studentpreneur advice:

Josie shares that every entrepreneur should have both creativity and determination. Her best advice for any studentpreneur is that “where ever you are, keep it up! Don’t compare yourself to others!”

To hear this episode of Josie’s story and great advice, CLICK HERE!

Create Products You Love - MaylaAngelouquoteWrittenbyJ

Written by J uses inspirational quotes in hand lettered prints to spread encouragement.

Where you can find Josie and buy Written by J products:

Etsy: etsy.com/shop/writtenbyj

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WrittenByJosie/

Instagram: @writtenbyjosie

Want to hear another great studentpreneur story? Check out Savy’s story with Furever Home Friends!

The Studentpreneur Show is proudly hosted by BookScouter.

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