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Students Start Businesses, Take Part in Startup Accelerator Residency

Happy Lee wants to start a business delivering organic, hydroponically-grown local produce to customers via an app.

Amiracle Harris also wants to deliver something to customers in her upcoming business: a monthly subscription box with products that encourage children 6-10 to become entrepreneurs.

Both of these National Louis University undergraduate Business students applied to and were accepted into Future Founders, which began in February. It  describes itself as “an innovative early-stage accelerator program that helps 18-to-30-year-olds go from side hustle to CEO through a series of interactive workshops covering the lean startup method.”

Developing business ideas

“Both Happy (Yan) and Amiracle created a business idea and have worked with Future Founders to launch and grow their ventures,” said Lynessa Rico, director of the B.S. Management and B.S. Management Information Systems program.

“Both students successfully completed Phase one of the program this month and earned an Entrepreneurship Certificate.”

Harris, who calls her upcoming business Baby Corps, is continuing in Phase 2 of the program. She said Future Founders has helped her build a business model and an app. They’ve also helped her think through how she will do email marketing to parents, who would be buying the monthly subscription box for their children.

Building, creating, selling

Lee said his upcoming business, HydroHomies, will be environmentally friendly because hydroponics uses less water to produce the same volume of food as traditional farming, and additionally eliminates the use of pesticide, minimizes the spread of soil-borne diseases and maximizes spaces by making rooftop farming and vertical agriculture possible.

He will encourage customers to order from his app or website, then will pick the produce from farmers and deliver it to customers.

Lee said that during the residency, Future Founders worked with him on building, creating and selling, and from customer discovery to financial forecasting.

“At the end of the residency, we have what we call the pitch competition, where everyone gets to pitch investors, entrepreneurs, and experts about our ideas,” Lee said.

Rico is also a growth coach with Future Founders and has mentored a group of residents since February. She was a judge at a recent Pitch Day event and will be working one-to-one with three Residents, who are students at other universities, to mentor them.

Students who wish to apply for the Future Founders Fall 2019 Residency Bootcamp may do so. Residents will learn about customer discovery, product/market fit, sales, and many other skills vital to building their own businesses. The Residency Bootcamp is a two-month commitment starting in September. Interested parties can apply now or reach out to Tina Hrabak with any questions.”

Learn more about National Louis University’s undergraduate business program