“I am a senior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I have been business minded since I was young. Running my pressure washing company during the summers, I have paid my way through college. I am involved with multiple campus organizations, including Greek life. Since the summer after freshman year, when I took on the project, I have devoted much of my time to developing a product, the Ladder Levelizer. Using the resources at UTC, I have made great strides and gained state and national recognition in pitch competitions.”
Q: Why did you decide to major in/study entrepreneurship?
A: As a freshman I had my mind set on owning a business one day, there was no doubt about that, so studying entrepreneurship made sense. Admittedly, I had no idea what type of business I would like to start at that point in time. Ironically, it was after my freshman year and being exposed to the college of business that I recognized the resources at my disposal and the huge opportunity I had to launch my company.
Q: What do you hope to do after graduation? Or what's your business idea?
A: I have been developing a ladder-leveling product called the Ladder Levelizer. Currently, we are in a couple Ace Hardware and Farrell Calhoun stores and also on Amazon consistently gaining traction. My plan is to continue expanding the company until I graduate, then go full time working on the Levelizer venture and from there the sky is the limit; whether it be rolling out new products or selling the company to start something entirely new.
Q: Why is it a smart move to study entrepreneurship, while starting a company, instead of jumping right in to starting a business (especially in the context of the time/money required and stories about people who dropout to start businesses)?
A: I like to think of successful entrepreneur dropouts as the fairy tales or lottery winners of business. They’re rare and often occur in crazy circumstances. On the other hand, starting a company while in college provides all sorts of great resources: one of my most valuable assets is a simple phrase that has always bought me enough time to pitch my company, no matter who I say it to: “Hello, I’m a student at UT Chatt…” after that just about anyone will give me a minute or two of their time. But more than that, the College of Business provided me with a huge support group and mentors made up of faculty and fellow students: whether it be getting feedback or just someone asking about my company — which I love talking about.