PHC Students Learn to Be Entrepreneurs

Posted by Meg McEwen on 5/1/17 4:09 PM



The Titan Society rose from the ashes this semester, renewing student interest in creating business ventures.

A student who graduated a few years ago pioneered the Titan Society before the college offered the Economics and Business Analytics (EBA) major. After he left, it puttered out – only to be rejuvenated once more this semester.

“There are two or three teams working on three different business ideas, and the hope for it is that we can get a business up and running that graduating EBA students can hand off to students below them,” senior Brooks Freeland said.

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Sophomore Mary Katherine Collins imagined a consignment store on campus where students could regularly sell or rent out clothing and accessories in a more efficient way than Facebook, the most common medium students use to sell items. Though hesitant at first to share her business idea at the Titan Society’s open forum, Mary Katherine received a overwhelmingly encouraging response from friends and Dr. Michael Kucks, Director of the EBA Program. Weeks after Mary Katherine first broached the idea, Socrates’s Closet opened in an empty room in Mount Vernon.


Collins with dresses from Socrates' Closet outside the dorm where the shop is located (Credit: Evie Fordham)

“Next semester it’s going to be a full-fledged consignment shop,” Mary Katherine said. “We’ll have shoes, dresses, purses, scarves, bookbags, coffee mugs… We’ll have regular hours every weekend. Down the road we’d love to expand it and maybe eventually move it to a location where guys could also participate.”

Mary Katherine envisions Socrates’s Closet as a market for students to sell their creative merchandise like knit scarves and other products. She plans to donate 5 percent of the proceeds to charity.

Collins is one of several student working to get various projects off the ground. 

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EBA students Brooks, Peter Thompson, Hannah Waters, and Sutton Haye are currently working on GOpher, an Uber-like website that would connect job hunters seeking quick, non-contract services like babysitting or lawn care with a trustworthy pool of PHC students.

“You’re basically putting your hat in the ring for being part of a labor pool and being open to entire community-based opportunities that you can say yes or no to,” Brooks said.

They are still working on the platform concept and logistics. The website would provide ways for students to fill small pockets of time with work in the community.

Faculty and Students - EBA.jpg

Assistant Professor of Economics Nathan Russell lectures students

Socialink, another business founded by PHC students Andrew Kelly and Stephen Osborne and later joined by Peter and Brooks, will provide a relevant networking outlet for small businesses and students.

“The app creates a community that allows small businesses and people to connect so that the people can endorse the services and products that they love and get paid for that through their social media sites,” Peter said.

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They are currently designing the app to pull social media information like location and other stats to determine the worth of a social media account.

“It’s kind of an application of the entire EBA program," Peter said. “Coming up with the strategy for all of it has been straight from economics. The actual equation that we’ve had to come up with and derive to determine the value of an account has really been a lot of calculus, which moves into statistics, because we’re moving tons and tons of data to determine the value of an individual account.”


Reporting courtesy of PHC's The Herald.

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