Suite Life: C-Suite will help Student Entrepreneurs

April 7, 2017

For many college entrepreneurs, it can be hard to scrounge up enough money and find the resources to get their ideas off the ground, but some students in the Voinovich School and the College of Business are looking to change that.

C-Suite, a project to help students on campus with startup ideas find workspaces and resources, has been in the works for two years and will launch in about a year and a half. Lori Bentz, former president of University Entrepreneurs, and Alex Kneier an Ohio University alumnus started work on the project after both participating in the University Innovation Fellowship program, which sent them to Stanford University for six weeks to study entrepreneurship.

“The (media) that they work with ... really help you to better understand entrepreneurship and the ways that students can get involved, so that you can go back on your campus and be a change agent,” Faith Voinovich, sophomore studying chemical and biomolecular engineering and student co-leader of C-Suite said.

Voinovich has been working on the project for over a year now and is a student co-leader with Colin Espinosa, a senior studying accounting and finance. They were brought onto the project within six months of the startup and have been working together on the design phase.

During his sophomore year, Espinosa had been working on a similar project — a fund to help provide capital for students starting small businesses. The two projects were similar enough that Espinosa became the co-student lead on C-Suite and his project is incorporated within.

“I feel (students are) just not served because TechGROWTH Ohio has these large amounts of money to fund, but there’s nothing for us students, just small micro-grants of $1,000, $2,000,” Espinosa said.

Espinosa, who will be graduating this year, hopes to continue to assist on the project and “to be an ear for people.” Espinosa said the plan is to have graduates step into an advisory role in the project.

The Center for Entrepreneurship housed the program at the beginning, but Espinosa and Voinovich are now working out of the Central Classroom Building on West Union Street, and are putting together the designs for how the program will work.

They will officially launch fall 2018, but Voinovich said they will probably be able to have a “soft launch” and open for business about six months before that.

“The soft launch includes programming, just kind of getting students in a little bit to see the space, kind of work on getting it figured out, smoothing out any of the bumps that we run into early on and then do the official ribbon cutting,” she said.

*Original posting of the article can be found at The Post website.