by Kyle Dinse '17
Knox College's 2017 StartUp Term is under way, with five teams of students collaboratively exploring entrepreneurship while they further develop their skills in business, technology, and design.
This is the second time that StartUp Term, one of Knox's academic immersion experiences, has been offered, and it has attracted significant interest—both inside and outside the Knox community.
During the 2016-17 fall and winter terms, around 100 students expressed interest in being a part of StartUp Term. They attended meetings and mixers, where they were encouraged to share ideas and identify potential colleagues for their teams.
Prospective StartUp Term teams developed plans and made presentations to faculty members who determined which teams would be accepted.
StartUp Term students are working with faculty members John Spittell (business & management), John Dooley (computer science), Jaime Spacco (computer science), and Tim Stedman (art) to create their businesses.
This year, a total of five teams will be involved in StartUp Term. Each team is made up of three to five students, and they are spending spring term planning, creating, and running startup businesses from an office in downtown Galesburg. At the end of the term, each team will present a final "pitch" to a panel of judges.
Members of the teams have expressed some apprehension, as well as an overwhelming sense of excitement.
"I am SO excited because this is something that I am interested in, especially in respect to the marketing and creative aspects of a business. I'm looking forward to working with my teammates!" said Maria Ha '18, a member of the Fusion 5 team.
Below is a brief look at the five teams.
Taskmania Inc: Caleb Gumanow '18, Jinglin Feng '17, Rosemary Momoh '17, and Vlad Papancea '17 are creating what Feng calls "an Alexa skill for Amazon Echo and a mobile application to enhance effortless communication between homeowners and house-sitters."
Bluebrick: Emily Trevor '17, Liliana Coelho '17, Bridget McCarthy '18, Summer Fujii '18, and Larisha Dhakal '18 "seek to create density in the Galesburg art community by creating for rent studio spaces," according to Coelho.
Sneaker Guys: Brendan Roddy '19 Xiong Wang '17, Zhaofeng Wang '17, and Sidath Wanigasinghe '17 are working "to create a virtual and interactive database for collectable sneakers that will both amplify and complement our main focus of reselling said sneakers for a profitable price," says Wang.
Chart Air: Madison Belka '17, Cortney Hill '17, Clare Colt '17, Olivia Keneipp '17, and Logan Ayers '18 are "creating a database for charter departments, private pilots, and airplane enthusiasts to compare airport fees for their particular aircraft. Knowing costs beforehand will save people money by letting them know the lowest fees out there," says Hill.
Fusion 5: Jasmine Artis '19, Maria Ha '18, and Leela Yeleswarapu '19 will focus on bringing cultural street food to the Knox campus. "Fusion 5 aims to serve our diners quality, authentic food from various cultures in a way that will engage all of their five senses," says Artis.