E-scholars travel the globe to launch businesses

By The Beacon | March 2, 2016 8:21pm

by Jacob Fuhrer |

Looking for all-natural dog treats for that mutt in your life? What about a more reliable camera strap for you budding photographers?

These are just a few of the ventures UP’s select group of entrepreneurial scholars (E-scholars) is working on bringing to the market. Over spring break, the E-scholars will head to Japan and Scandinavia to meet with experts to gain insights into their product and market.

Chris Jordan


Business Major


What is your venture?

My venture is called Benefit Biscuits. It’s an all natural dog treat company. I got the idea because when you walk down the different pet stores … if you pick up the label and read the label, you can’t pronounce all the ingredients on the label.

Do you have a prototype?

We actually launched Friday, on Feb. 19, on Junior Parents Weekend. We’re up to 45 bags in sales. It’s not great, but it’s a start. We’re already talking to stores right now.

Will this be a career for you?

That’s the goal. If I’m not doing this business after college, I’ll hopefully be working for this big dog food company.

Do you have animals yourself?

I got a dog when I was in fourth grade and he’s still alive at 15.

Where can people buy the treats?

Right now, you can order it online (benefit-biscuits.com). At the Relay for Life event, sometime after spring break, we’ll have a booth … donating 25 percent of each bag sold to fight cancer.


Peter Sotos


Organizational Communication Major


What is your venture?

Homemade camera straps, and they’re basically a more vibrant, sturdier, more unique model of camera accessory. My (project) was kind of born of necessity. I have an internship where I have to take a lot of pictures … I really hated wearing uncomfortable camera straps.


Do you have a prototype of the strap?

I have a prototype. I’m holding off on actually starting to sell them. Right now, what’s holding me up is I’m finishing up the website.

Who will you be meeting with in Scandinavia?

I’m meeting with two bloggers. I wanted to meet with photographers who don’t do it professionally just to see how they felt about the product and if they’d be willing to spend money on something that isn’t their livelihood. I’m meeting with a couple firms that specialize in design, whether that’s web design as well as products and ideation. I’m meeting with a couple photographers that are both professors and published.

What are your goals for the trip?

I’m the only E-scholar that’s never been out of the country. I’m really excited to experience another culture for the first time in my life. I'm really looking at it to see how business is conducted in another culture … as well as meeting with people who could potentially use my product.

What’s your expected launch date?

The goal is right after the end of the semester, May 1.


Hannah Olney


Global Business Major


What is your venture?

(It’s) called Age UP, which is of course a pun for UP, and it’s for foster teens who are either aged out of the foster care system or are about to be, and this happens when you turn 18 or 21, depending on the state. You basically get aged out of the system and stop having any sort of resources or money. Age UP would be a place where they could get resources and take classes to learn things that will help them succeed in the real world. Whether it’s writing a resume, budgeting, helping them get housing, things like that as well as mentoring.”

Who are you meeting with in Scandinavia?

I’m meeting with two professors, one from Stockholm University and one from the University of Copenhagen. They both have done research on the foster care system and are involved in social work over there. I’m also meeting with someone who is involved in the nonprofit sector in Denmark and there’s some Danish nonprofits that relate to foster care.

What is your goal for the trip?

I’m hoping to get a new perspective on the foster care system that I can’t get from America and hopefully see some of the things they’re doing better than us that I can hopefully bring back and implement.

When will you launch?

We’re hoping to be launching this summer. We’re talking to case workers and working on paperwork that goes into it.


Jacob Fuhrer is a staff writer for The Beacon. He can be reached by email at fuhrer17@up.edu