After organizing TEDxBGSU, Wesley Parsell ’12 and Skyler Rogers ’12 felt called to do more, reach more people, and engage people in their communities.
Sun streaming into their downtown Bowling Green loft, whiteboard at their knees and dry erase marker in hand, they went to work. Imagining a happier, nicer, and more justice-filled world, they started scribbling notes. How can we help? Who can we help? Where can we help? Will this work?
Rogers, a business major, had experience in the art of storytelling, conversation, marketing and management. Parsell, a visual communication technology undergraduate and online education master’s student, designed and printed great T-shirts and ran a Web design business. After weeks of brainstorming and calculating, Niceshirt was created.
Niceshirt raises money for people who are doing good things. You go to Niceshirt.org, choose a cause you want to support, purchase a limited edition T-shirt or sweatshirt, and Niceshirt donates $8-$10 of each sale to your cause of choice. “It’s so great that we aren’t giving away the money, but it’s our customers, the nice community,” said Parsell.
Take a recent campaign for veteran Travis Mills who received a Purple Heart for his valiant efforts after he stepped on an improvised explosive device during his third tour of duty in Afghanistan. Mills suffered the loss of both legs above the knee, right arm above the elbow and left arm below the elbow.
“Because of this fundraising platform, because of the people who care, we raised more than $12,000 for Mills and his family. It’s what keeps me up at night and what wakes me up in the morning,” said Rogers.
What’s next for Niceshirt? After launching in January, Niceshirt already has raised more than $50,000, employed 12 interns and is looking at endless possibilities.
Remember Myles Pizza? Describe to me your attitude toward Myles Pizza. What do you like about their pizza? What about the environment?
Some say data is the new currency. Without readily available data in Bowling Green for businesses such as Myles Pizza, a void must be filled, a need must be met, a business must be created. Enter CSI, College Student Insights.
Founded not in a downtown loft, but in the Dallas-Hamilton Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, CSI is run by passionate students with faculty oversight.
“You can’t get a more hands-on experience,” said Dr. David Reid, associate professor of marketing and CSI founding member and instructor. CSI is not only a business, but also a graded course. Students deliver a professional monthly report to the board of directors, which consists of three faculty members and two local business owners.
CSI incentivizes BGSU students to answer market-related questions about local businesses. CSI students collect and analyze the data and produce industry reports, individualized business reports, top 10 lists, infographics and diagrams. Snapshots of the data are provided to local establishments with the option of purchasing more in-depth reports or custom market research studies.
“What’s intensely exciting are the expansive opportunities CSI has,” said Ali Reiger ’12. What Reiger is describing is the business rush. The rush of creativity and innovation, seeing the possibilities, and knowing that with the right idea, motivation, team and time, an idea can be transformed into a business. “Taking the chance, seizing the opportunity to work with CSI has given me the skills and passion to enter the professional world of market research,” she said. Reiger now works for Perrysburg market research firm, Intellishop.
Most professional athletes finish their sports careers by the age of 27, and Sports Illustrated estimates that 78 percent of NFL players are bankrupt or facing serious financial issues within two years of their retirement. For Aaron Eanes ’12, these numbers provide an inspiration for his own business. His company, A&A Management Group, helps athletes achieve maximum success during and after their athletic reign.
His client list already includes:
- Andrew Hawkins - wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals
- Daniel “Boom” Herron - running back for the Cincinnati Bengals
- Isaiah Pead - running back for the St. Louis Rams
- Devier Posey - wide receiver for the Houston Texans
- Adrien Robinson - tight end for the New York Giants
- D.J. Woods - wide receiver for the Tennessee Titans
Eanes has a number of forces working in his favor as he expands his business. “My uncle played professional football for 15 years, my dad is a successful multi-business owner, and I grew up loving sports,” he said. Eanes attended St. Edwards High School in Cleveland where some of his best friends were Division I athletes who are now playing professionally.
Eanes envisioned a career as an agent and committed himself to understanding the industry by constantly seizing opportunities. Internships at Raw Talent Sports, the Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Browns, as well as being a student manager for the Falcons football team, inspired him to expand on the traditional agent model. He saw that athletes could benefit from working with a company that was independent from their agents and financial advisers.
“Athletes have so many people approaching them offering seemingly great opportunities,” he said. “They need someone who can make sure no one takes advantage of them.” This is when A&A Management Group comes in. Along with partners Andre Eanes, Nate Oliver and Brett Pegler, athletes working with A&A Management know they have someone they can call 24/7.
This is appealing to athletes such as D.J. Woods who said, “What I like best is that they are not ‘yes’ men at A&A. If they do not believe something will benefit me or my career they will speak up. Also, they have really helped me focus on my finances, long-term business and life goals, and image. They do not just care about me while I’m playing, but they have services that can help me well after I retire, which is very important because football won’t last forever.”