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Hands-on experience is vital for a successful startup

A successful career in business is no longer as simple as getting an entry-level job and working your way to the top. These days, entrepreneurs of all ages start businesses in garages, Starbucks cafes and even dorm rooms.

Towson University students benefit from traditional educational resources, as well as hands-on experience gained from working with real companies, at the TU Incubator and launching their own businesses through the Division of Innovation and Applied Research’s (DIAR) Student Launch Pad.

Will Mason ‘16, an economics student in the College of Business and Economics (CBE), is an intern with the TU Incubator. In his role he compiles contact information, market research and financial objectives to help startups make sound operational decisions.

Mason also launched his own startup on July 28, a company called AllStevia. The business is promoting its vision of a world where there is a healthy alternative to sugar products.

His dual role of Incubator intern and entrepreneur has placed him in the enviable position of being able to apply the lessons from his work with established companies to AllStevia.

“I’ve learned that planning and research are crucial,” Mason said. “You can probably make a business out of any passion, but you need to understand your customer and competition to make it work. Without a plan and some basic knowledge about your market, a business will most likely fail.”

While still an undergraduate student, he appreciates the advantages he has through CBE.

“CBE provides a diversified business experience with top-notch courses and student groups,” Mason enthused. “Although I major in economics, I have experimented with marketing, finance, and other core entrepreneurial skills in my time at Towson.”

The Student Launch Pad and TU’s new entrepreneurship minor open resources to all Towson students interested in starting their own businesses.

David Brannon HS

Assistant Professor David Brannon

“The emphasis that an entrepreneurship education provides on innovative thinking, designing a feasible business model, and being proactive provides great skills,” noted David Brannon, assistant professor in the Department of Management. “This gives students an advantage whether starting their own company or going to work in an existing business.”

College of Fine Arts and Communication student Jeremy Schulkin ‘16 has been building a furniture rental business. Called Rentmate, it was inspired by the frustrating experience of moving into an unfurnished apartment. Set to launch in August 2016, the business will be a simple, low-cost alternative for students, recent graduates and military members to furnish temporary living spaces.

“There is nobody in the world that cares about YOUR idea more than you,” Schulkin stressed. “Nobody is going to do anything for you or really support you until you’re already doing well. You have to execute. Really just plan out your idea, set milestones and just do it.”

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