Brandon Silverstein is a student at Indiana University and a co-founder of Bounce, an international touring music festival showcasing talent from the genre of electronic dance music (EDM).
• Jonathan Schwartz, co-founder, Harvey Mudd College — Layer By Layer
The technology has been around for nearly 30 years, but if you’ve never heard of 3D printing, you’re not alone.
“3D printing is a technology that allows for the creation of physical objects through the process of putting material together, as opposed to cutting it away,” explained Harvey Mudd College (HCM) senior Jonathan Schwartz, who co-founded 3D-design marketplace Layer by Layer last year with fellow senior Max Friefeld and HMC alum Oliver Ortlieb.
“Many believe that 3D printing will be the cause of the next industrial revolution.”
The trio pooled money they’d set aside from summer jobs and internships and waited for the right opportunity to present itself.
“When the time came, it was obvious that we should provide the initial seed-funding ourselves to get our company off the ground,” Schwartz said. “The basis of Layer By Layer was created overnight, and things have been moving very quickly ever since.”
So how does Schwartz balance full-time classes and running a business?
“For us right now, everything is about trying to succeed. Balancing implies that [classes and the company] remain separate,” he said. “We’ve structured our college lives such that they complement our work lives.”
• Jared Lyons and Brandon Silverstein, Indiana University — Bounce Music Festival
While sharing ideas for their next business venture, Indiana University juniors Brandon Silverstein and Jared Lyons came up with the idea for Bounce, an international touring music festival showcasing talent from the genre of electronic dance music (EDM).
“We always put on big events at clubs in Manhattan and the Hamptons but the energy just wasn’t enough,” Lyons said. “We knew the only place we could get more energy would be building our own festival.”
The duo acquired the seed money to launch their first event, headlined by Avicii at their university, from friends and on-campus fraternities.
“I’m always thinking about the next festival or the new type of production we’re going to bring to excite the fans and shock them even more,” Silverstein said. “Everyone wants to be at Bounce — the fans and the DJ — because it’s always an experience.”
• Jillian Roberts, University of Florida — Just Shoe It
University of Florida (UF) sophomore Jillian Roberts touched so many lives with Just Shoe It, a donation project she’s run since high school, that she was selected by Coca-Cola to carry the Olympic torch through London last year.
Since the project’s inception, Roberts’ organization has collected over 10,000 pairs of shoes distributed to over three-dozen countries.
“Whether children outgrow their shoes, runners get a new pair of shoes or someone cleans out their closet, shoes are in abundance in our lives, but it is not the case for many around the world,” Roberts said. ”It was in my running shoes that I learned the power of hard work, dedication and commitment. I decided that I wanted to be able to provide the same foundation and support that my shoes gave me to others less fortunate around the world. ”
Roberts sends the collected donations to the Boulder, Colo.-based company One World Running to be washed, sorted and distributed. A sponsor from UPS agreed to pay for the cost of shipping, and shoes in poor condition are recycled and ground up to create running tracks and playgrounds.
Roberts is studying to become an audiologist and has relinquished leadership of the project to let it grow.
“My brother took over the project for me back home in Miami, and we just recruited a new manager of Just Shoe It for when he graduates in May,” she said. “I also started Just Shoe It as a club at UF, so it can be led by different student leaders once I graduate.”
• Betina Ocampo, Parsons The New School For Design — BETINA
Betina Ocampo launched BETINA, her self-titled line of hand-embroidered T-shirts, during her junior year at Parsons The New School for Design in Manhattan. Now, she has spread her work between two continents.
“When I am in the Philippines and Asia, I focus on research and development, as well as production,” Ocampo said. “In New York, I work closely with a start-up creative media agency to further market my brand.”
Betina Ocampo will admit it’s no secret where her entrepreneurial spirit and design skills come from.
“Both my parents are designers and supporters of many artisan communities in the Philippines and around Asia. Much of their work and mine are devoted in sustaining these practices,” she said.
A writeup on Style.com in September reviewed Ocampo’s high-end line as “strong, with heavy attention to detail.” Each piece is hand-embroidered with precious metals and mother-of-pearl details, running from $300 to $1,000.
By February, BETINA will be sold exclusively at Barney’s New York stores, and Ocampo is already looking even further into the future.
“For the following seasons ahead, I wish to expand my line to more stores hopefully in Europe and Asia as well.”
• Cory Levy, University of Illinois — One
“Most of the important [people] in our lives are met through chance; we are trying to turn this coincidence into more of a science,” Cory Levy explained of the mobile app he launched with co-founder Michael Callahan a year-and-a-half ago. “You use your interests to bring you the things you love, from people and events to products and media.”
The would-be college junior “paused out” of the computer science program at the University of Illinois in his first year of college after raising $1 million from investors who’ve backed the likes of Google, YouTube, PayPal and Twitter. Levy has devoted the past year-and-a-half to developing One.
“I’ve always loved working and connecting with people,” he said. “One is automating this.”
• Chris Bogdan, University of Michigan — Get Up and Go Baked Goods LLC
For senior Chris Bogdan, entrepreneurial inspiration came easily.
“It cost me around $4.50 to $6 for a coffee and a muffin every morning, and I had to do something about it,” he said.
Bogdan and his co-founder Zach Rose launched Get Up and Go Baked Goods, which sells muffins, cookies and brownies baked with the caffeine equivalent of one cup of coffee.
“The idea is that you’re [killing] two birds with one stone, and giving the customer value with energy and a baked good, with no coffee taste,” he said.
Once Bogdan graduates, he plans to take on the business full time and expand it nationwide in the next year. Moving forward with the business while still a student, however, requires a lot of work on top of an already-full schedule.
“It’s become commonplace to work on our business and stay up all night studying for a midterm or final,” he said. “You have to sacrifice a lot of time working on a start-up. It’s a full-time job, but most certainly worth it.”
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