Many college students have nothing much more on their minds than getting away from home for the first time, and searching out the best parties. Other may have their studies in mind, but while balancing school and work, may not have time for much else. Recently, however, there is a new trend among college kids and it is actually helping them to build a career in some cases, even before they have earned a degree! These kids are coming out of the woodwork, so to speak, and becoming entrepreneurs…starting their own businesses and creating new and improved inventions to benefit our world. Here are a few of those student entrepreneurs.
Wireless Headphones Created by College Entrepreneur
They say that necessity is the motherhood of invention. According to a report from Entrepreneur Magazine, Ketan Rahangale created a new invention out of his own necessity. Tired of feeling tied down and tethered by the wires which connected him to his DJ equipment, Ketan set out to find an easier way to maneuver around his booth. He explained, “There were a million wires and it took hours to set up.” He couldn't even enjoy dancing to the music that he made, for the wires holding him in place.
This problem lead Ketan to search for ways create a device which would take the place of all of those wires. The Freshman from the entrepreneurship program at Babson began to work on a business plan of his own, and looked for partners with engineers who could develop the technology that he sought. He became so close with those partners that he actually transferred schools…to the University of Miami…so that he could be closer to them.
What was initially supposed to just be an invention of convenience for Ketan turned into a huge idea…and a business was born. Ketan was named one of the top entrepreneurs under 30 with an annual income of over $100,000 by The Startup America Project and Empact, in under nine months from the start of his company. A company which Ketan insists he “never meant to start.”
College Partier Creates His Own Invention
Another college student, this one likely from the party kids mentioned above, found a new way to keep beer cold, showing that even the kids who spend time partying during their college years can contribute to society in their own ways. Entrepreneur shares the story of Maz Chautin, a student who “went to his share of keg parties while studying political science at John Hopkins University.” Once again, his own necessity brought invention to life. “We were spending $20 on ice and watching it melt,” Chautin explained. “It made sense to have an insulating barrier that kept the beer cold and eliminated the need for ice.” And so, the keg-sized “koozie” was born.
Naming his product “KegSkins,” Chautin soon had yet another great idea. He noticed that the kegs had no markings, ads, or images on them and was shocked that companies did not take advantage of it. He set out into this untapped marketing opportunity, and came up with a plan which would make his KegSkins even more profitable by placing company ads and logos on them. After investing $10,000 of his own money into the design and creation of his idea, he decided on a zippered design made of foam and neoprine. In his first 6 months, he made $40,000. His Kegskins sale for $40 to $50.
College Entrepreneur Joins the World Through Fashion
Jeff Steitz is the founder and CEO of “Serengetee,” a company which is working to unite the world through fashion. He started his company in his college dorm room and tailor shops around the area. Creating shirts, which he charged $24 for, Jeff soon saw the need to expand into a warehouse in Los Angeles. Shipping and production has been consolidated into this one location, which Jeff says is much more efficient for the business.
According to an article in Forbes, Jeff was inspired by the various fabrics which he collected from countries all over the world while he was in the Semester at Sea program. The Claremont McKenna College senior used the fabrics which he had to create pockets for T-shirts. Partnering with Ryan Westberg from the University of Arizona and three others, he launched Serengetee early last year. Customers can choose from one of 50 fabrics from all over the globe.
Serengetee's profit margin is a healthy 60% to 80%, due to the fact that the products are made to order, and the shirts are cheap when bought in bulk. They pay it forward by donating 13% of their profits to charitable causes. The five founders initially put in $3,000 to start the business, and made $140,000 in the first year.