Entrepreneurial spirit

Several Wheaton students have been busy turning their ideas into new business opportunities.

Michael Sadowsky ’18, Omar Al-Mogahed ’18, Bailey Robinson ’18, Khaled Sharafaddin ’16, Caleb Wastler ’17 and Claudine Humure ’17 are among Wheaton’s most recent entrepreneurs and were featured in a March 6 article in the Sun Chronicle titled “Innovative ideas percolate at Wheaton College.”

Sadowsky has been working this year with Assistant Professor of Business and Management Nancy Scott and other students to launch an entrepreneurship club, and the group has big plans for the future—including a business pitch competition and the creation of a campus think tank.

“This club is going to make a big impact on Wheaton,” Sadowsky told the Sun Chronicle. “It is going to be exciting to see how students’ social entrepreneurship projects affect the campus community.”

In the meantime, Sadowsky and Al-Mogahed have been pursuing one business idea in particular: a textbook-sharing mobile app they call “EZBook.” They’ve formed a limited liability company, or LLC, and teamed up with chief strategy officer Robinson and software developers Sharafaddin and Wastler. They plan to work on the project this summer, with a possible fall 2016 launch date.

Humure has been working with four students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop a more comfortable prosthetic for amputees. The project is both educational and personal for Humure, a biology major who in 2005 lost her right leg above the knee to cancer. The group recently completed a prototype and had it tested in India, according to the article.

Humure is also developing a business plan for a future health clinic that would work with amputees.

Wheaton’s entrepreneurial spirit may be news, but it’s not necessarily new.

Brian “Mike” Beneduce ’16, recently launched a company to sell his original product, the Bucket-Back. The comfortable backrest, which can be attached to baseball buckets, aims to reduce lower back pain and pressure for coaches, players and others sitting on the sidelines.

A few years ago, Nishon Radhakrishnan ’15 and Harrison Bramhall ’14 came up with an idea to design a less expensive but still stylish pair of all-wood sunglasses. Their company, Tints Wear, is still going strong, with Radhakrishnan at the helm as chief operating officer.

Along with offering a strong interdisciplinary program for business and management majors that emphasizes experiential learning, Wheaton is committed to supporting business development across campus and recently announced two exciting new programs toward this end.

In November, the college formed a partnership with MassChallenge—the world’s largest startup accelerator—called Wheaton Innovates (WIN) at MassChallenge. The program connects Wheaton talent with the people behind the latest MassChallenge startups. Wheaton students provide project- and internship-based support while gaining skills and experience working with real modern businesses.

The second program, launching this summer, is Wheaton’s Summer Institute for Social Entrepreneurship. Open to current students, the month-long program begins with a week of business “boot camp” led by the internationally recognized Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship Network.

Students will focus on creating companies and organizations that address social and environmental issues while adding economic value, working with coaches and experts to create and fine-tine a business plan and set their ideas to action. The program is being funded with a grant from the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation.