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SCU Seniors Going to Work for Themselves after Graduation

Tuesday, May. 31, 2011

From making T-shirts to matching up nonprofits with needy groups around the world, a number of soon-to-be SCU grads are planning to spend their time after graduation building and working at businesses they created while on campus. 

Josh Bois, a graduating senior in the OMIS department, will spend this summer ramping up a business that he’s built over the past three years or so -- Global Good Media, part of the Global Good Group network -- with an Atlanta-based partner. Their marketing and consulting business has helped about 100 businesses in the U.S. and worldwide with services including website management, search-engine optimization, technology consulting and social-media marketing. The company uses the services of about 10 graduate-student interns, and currently has about a dozen ongoing clients. 

An entrepreneur since high school, Bois received a certificate in entrepreneurship from SCU’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), which he praises for providing him with “great networking opportunities,” including contacts at venture-capital firms. 

He expects the business to grow to support him after he moves back to his hometown of Orange County, and credits Santa Clara University with making him feel empowered for the future. “My business’s mission is to change the world by connecting people, businesses and information around the world,” he said. "Santa Clara helped me feel I can achieve that."

Finance major Sol Tran, who just won CIE’s Outstanding Student Entrepreneur award, will be working on a business called SocialOven, which will use proprietary technology and his own skill at analyzing Facebook advertising opportunities to place ads for retailers and other companies strategically on Facebook pages. He’s doing similar work for another company at the moment, but he says they’ve worked out a deal where he’ll strike out on his own soon.

“Eventually I’m going to want to build my own product and make it more sophisticated,” he says. “I’ll either find an angel investor or work a side job and gather the funds I need.”

Another graduating student, Michael Kawamoto, will continue to work on his T-shirt business, Aloha Coterie, as a part-time endeavor when he’s not busy with his new full-time job in PricewaterhouseCooper’s tax department.

Kawamoto has printed over 2,000 shirts for groups at SCU and other schools, and donates a portion of the proceeds toward raising $5,000 for the charity:water organization, which works on what Kawamoto calls the “oftentimes overlooked crisis” of clean water access worldwide. 

Another burgeoning entrepreneur hails from the law school. New SCU Law graduate Brittney Salvatore has begun the creation of a nonprofit, Bridge_Gap, that will serve to match up innovative technology solutions coming out of universities or think tanks with struggling communities worldwide that need them most urgently. She’ll be spending the next few months traveling to places like China and India to assess the needs of local communities and potentially meet with the groups she’ll be serving.

Salvatore said she learned about starting a nonprofit in Prof. Joan Harrington’s  class, where students create a faux nonprofit, learn how to file the proper documents, assemble a board of directors, and other practical legal issues. She decided to do it for real, and picked Bridge_Gap as a business model partly because she grew up doing hands-on volunteer work with her social-worker mom in places like Thailand, Israel and Ecuador. 

“I always knew I was going to be outside of the box,” she said, jokingly adding: “My number-one goal is to never work in a law firm.”

Daniel Aguiar, director of entrepreneurship programs at the Leavey School of Business, says entrepreneurship is picking up at SCU, with a rise in membership in the student club, a strong increase in internship opportunities at startups around Silicon Valley, and a revamped CIE to help with resources and classes.

“The potential has always been here for significant entrepreneurship taking root here at SCU,” said Aguiar. “I think the years ahead are going to be very exciting for SCU-grown entrepreneurs.” 

May 31, 2011

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