Archive for Great Ideas

Jack Kim- Benelab Search Engine

Jack Kim is a young entrepreneur that is still in high school in Seattle. He is the founder of a search engine called Benelab that is designed to make philanthropy easier by generating donations. Jack’s project is not-for-profit and he plans to donate all of the revenue generated by Benelab. Jack quickly learned the power of a search engine’s ability to generate wealth from very little traffic through his work with search engines in the past. After developing an outline for his idea, Jack got a team of his high school classmates together to start working on the project. So far, Benelab has been incredibly successful at generating wealth, and all of this wealth is then donated to different charities and organizations to help the less fortunate. Benelab provides an easy yet effective way of enabling everday internet users to participate in philanthropy, even if they do not realize it.

“Many people think of charity as something limited to the rich or “good”, but in reality it’s something that can and should be incorporated into anyone’s daily life – you just have to know how.” – Jack Kim

Spotify – Daniel Ek

Spotify or Apple Music?

Answer: Spotify

Spotify has been around for many years, but it especially rose to dominance in the last few years. However, it hasn’t always been success and diamonds for the two Swedish founders and entrepreneurs, Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon.

Once upon a time (back in 2005), they were two guys fiddling and working on the development of Spotify from Ek’s apartment. It was so hot inside because of all the servers running– and the two founders were said that they were forced to sit around half-naked to avoid sweating to their death.

But let’s back up.

Daniel Ek has always had an unparalleled love for music… and technology. The young Swedish boy was without a biological father in his life and was given the chance to combine music and technology in his studies at secondary school. After completing IT college where he graduated with top grades, he landed a job at Europe’s largest advertisement company and rapidly became successful. At that age, 23, he was financially independent, owned a red Ferrari Modena, and owned a VIP card to the hottest clubs in Stockholm, Sweden. Source

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Restoration Apparel Co: Michael Mitchell

Image result for Restoration Apparel Co. // Michael MitchellImage result for Restoration Apparel Co. // Michael Mitchell

Today we live in a world where the apparel industry is more prevalent than ever. The rise in fashion has made it so that you could purchase a shirt anywhere from $10 to $1000 and the market just keeps expanding. In order to supply the heavy demand placed on clothing, the apparel industry employs many people from every corner of the world.

However, many of these workers, especially in third world countries, are being paid extremely low wages.On average, only 2.5% of the wholesale price of apparel goes to all workers who construct the  products in the developing world.

Michael recognized the exploitation that occured so frequently in this industry and decided to act on his compassion for these people. Michael along with others started a company called Restoration Apparel Co. Restoration Apparel Co. strives to lift the lives of workers and restore dignity to the apparel manufacturing industry through living wage job creation and its Wage Restitution Allowance give-back program. It offers factory direct access to dye sublimated, screen printed, and embroidered sportswear while providing its customers peace-of-mind regarding the production of their products.

I admire this entrepreneur for his compassion and selfless heart. And unlike so many other people, this entrepreneur chose to act on his compassion by supplying a better paying job for people who are stuck in their poverty.

Warby Parker: Making Glasses Cheap Again

Warby Parker has reimagined the eyewear industry as the first company to introduce affordable eyewear that can be purchased online. The company offers prescription eyeglasses for a flat $95 and has a number of stylish options. Customers can order a number of different eyeglasses, try them on at home, and return the pairs that they do not want. The idea started with a simple question. Why are glasses not sold online? Founder, Neil Blumenthal asked that question so he recruited three friends and Warby Parker was born. However, the company ran into problems early on. Forty-eight hours after the website had launched, it had to be taken down because they received so many orders. The website did not indicate when a product sold out which led to a 20,000 person wait list. Eventually, they sorted out their website issues and are currently making waves in the industry.

This company peaked my interest because of Warby Parker’s ability to recognized gaps in the marketplace. Currently, Luxottica has a near monopoly in the eyeglasses industry. While Luxottica controls the brick-and-mortar sales, they do not address the online market. Neil Blumenthal saw that gap in the market and was able to capitalize on it. However, the problem he solved wasn’t complicated, it was simple. Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest.


Johnny Ward: The Paid Vacationer

Johnny Ward was raised on the welfare system in Ireland. At 18, he left for England, where he attended a university there. When he graduated, he decided to tour Asia until he ran out of money. With the last little bit of money he had, he booked a flight to New York City, and decided to live their for a while. However, even in this exciting country, he could never find a job that he loved, so he decided to invest $100 into starting his own travel blog, writing about his experiences in the different places he had gone to. Little did he know that this $100 project would turn into a multi million dollar business.

Now, Johnny Ward spends his time traveling around the world, writing about the best places to eat, fun exercises to do in each place, and what the best places are to go if you want to do touristy things or know some local hacks. Johnny has been to every country in the world and gets to choose where he works, although he only works for 10-15 hours a week.

Ward in Iraq

Johnny represents true innovation because he took what he was passionate about and turned it into a truly innovative business venture. He works very flexible hours, get to talk about whatever he wants to, and makes a lot of money doing it. It is neat to see how he went from being a poor Irish boy who ran out of money to an incredibly wealthy and successful global businessman.

Manly Man Candles

As a young, 14-year-old entrepreneur, Hart Main saw a need for more manly-smelling candles for manly men so he capitalized on it. Instead of the typically fresh laundry, flowery smelling candles, Hart created “ManCans”, candles made for men that are “more likely to smell like a fresh new baseball glove”.

Hart’s idea started as a joke when he was teasing his sisters’ “girly scented” candles that she was selling for a school fundraiser. His mom then suggested that he make a more masculine scented candle to solve this problem. With Hart’s $100 and his parents $200 investment his business took off from there.

“ManCans offers eight scents so far: New York Style Pizza, Grandpas Pipe, Sawdust, Campfire, New Mitt, Fresh Cut Grass, Coffee and, of course, Bacon.”

Not only has Hart’s business flourished economically in the for-profit industry, but he has also donated his time and money to various charities. The candles are made of empty soup cans that have been purchased by his family and the soup is donated to a local soup kitchen. Hart’s mom makes the candles in their kitchen with supplies from Ohio, but they are looking to rent out a space because their kitchen has become overwhelmed with candle products.

Hart presents himself as a very professional business man for only being 14 years old. He cares about his company and the way things are run. He had a simple idea to a problem that he was passionate about it and he created a very successful business out of it. ManCans are now sold in stores across the country and Hart is gaining a decent profit from it.

Let Hart Main be an example to us all that age is just a number and that you can do or change anything you are passionate about.

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Hart Main and his “ManCans”.

Willow Tufano: Entrepreneurial Foresight

Willow Tufano is a fourteen year old girl living in Florida with her mother who works in real estate. When the recession hit a few years ago, Florida was hit very hard and houses that were initial being sold at $100,000 were now being sold for only $12,000. Because of the low price of homes, Willow got the idea to purchase a house of her own! She had saved up some money by clearing houses and selling the included possessions online. When her mother found out that she wanted to buy a house at 14, unlike most parents, she was in full support (also in support of the rest of the needed funds). Knowing that the housing market would pick up in the future, Willow and her mother rented out the purchased house and charged $700 a month. They have already earned back their initial investment on the house and have even made a profit. In the future, Willow plans to buy her mother out and own the house alone. When the housing market picks up in the future, Willow is likely to see an amazing increase in her already impressive amount of profits.

Natalie Webb: A True GCC Entrepreneur

Last May, Natalie Webb graduated from Grove City College with a degree in entrepreneurship. After she graduated, she began working on launching her own business and app, which she designed for her elevator pitch her senior year. Her business model was born out of a problem which she had experienced in her grade school days, and she knew many other people experienced as well.

          As a homeschooler, Natalie and her family had to buy all of their books themselves, and as there was no curated or organized way to buy used book, they usually ended up buying these books new from publishers, which got very expensive. However, Natalie noticed that after he finished with a book, it just stayed on her bookshelf until it either was given away to a family friend or sold at a significantly reduced price at a yard sale. Natalie considered how wasteful this was, both on the buying end and the reselling end because there was no organized platform for homeschoolers to interact with each other in this manner. Out of this pain came her idea of Hoot Book Revival, which is an app and website on which homeschoolers can resell their books and buy used books from other homeschooling families at a reduced cost. This benefits both the buyer and the seller, because people looking to buy books can get them much cheaper than they can new books, and people looking to sell books can sell them for more than they could at a yard sale.

Since her graduation last May, Natalie has been working to get this web platform active. She hired a company to design her website and has gotten guest writers to post on her blog. She has spent the last few months spreading the word about her company to homeschooling families and educators and talking to different publishers and co-ops about her business. While the cite is currently active, it is pretty light on content, so Natalie is focusing her attention on adding content and marketing for her business to possible clients.

          When I asked Natalie about how this business came about and what need it was filling, she said, “I suppose the core of the business idea was identifying an underrepresented group, and how their market needs weren’t being addressed, because the business pitch itself is pretty simple.” Natalie’s website allows the customer to buy and sell books, as well as collaborate with other homeschoolers on which lesson plans and books are best. Hoot Book Revival also has an option where people can post their books and let Hoot do all the work in finding people to sell them to, making the customer experience more enjoyable and less labor intensive.

Ultimately, Natalie’s business is incredibly innovative not because she came up with the idea of reselling books, but rather because she found a niche market and is catering to them in a new, technologically advanced way, and allowing them to simply post their books and have her company do the rest of the work for them. It is pretty neat to see such awesome innovation coming out of our own Grove City College.

Mo’s Bows: Youngest Entrepreneur on Shark Tank

Moziah Bridges: Mo’s Bows

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“I’m living proof that you can be anything you want – at any age”, said Moziah Bridges, the youngest entrepreneur to ever appear on “Shark Tank” and the President and Creative Director of Mo’s Bows. 

Moziah Bridges was just 13 years old when he appeared on the well known TV show, “Shark Tank” and became the youngest entrepreneur to do so. Moziah created this company in his grandmother’s kitchen table located in South Memphis, when he came to the conclusion that there just weren’t enough bow ties in the world to match is outgoing personality and style. He was dissatisfied with the lack of the selection of bow ties for kids his age. To solve this problem, he decided to make his own handmade bow ties, and thus started the internationally recognized Mo’s Bows company.

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Mo’s Bows mission is to make you look and feel your best while catering to the sometimes conservative, fun-loving lady or gentleman.” Moziah has truly lived up to the mission of his company. Not only is he an inspiration for aspiring young entrepreneurs, but he is also a living example of what a dream and some hard work can get you. In three years Moziah created a $150,000 business that has quite the following and he is not done yet. Moziah has “donated $1,600 to send 10 children from his hometown of Memphis to Glenview Summer Camp”. He hopes to go to college for fashion and start a full clothing line by the time he is 20.


If this kid can do it all while still getting to bed at 8:30 every night, why shouldn’t we? Let Moziah’s creativity and drive inspire you to follow your entrepreneurial dreams.


Teenage Ingenuity

Links to his past Kickstarter campaigns:

My brother, Joey Cafaro, is an entrepreneur on a small scale with a unique story. At the age of 14 (2 years ago), he and his friend were bored during the summer and felt the need to make a new product. If you would have asked them frankly they would have told you it was a way to beef up their college applications, but they truly enjoyed ideating. Joey sat around the house toying with ideas and thinking about everyday problems. Then one day an idea came to him. He saw the need for a phone stand that you could use to prop up your phone to watch videos, but also wrap your headphones around so they did not become completely entangled when you weren’t using them, and thus the Smile Stand was born ( at this time there were no equivalents on the market). Next, they manufactured prototypes at TechShop Pittsburgh and decided to hire a photographer to pitch the idea on the website “Kickstarter” to raise capital to manufacture more product. Moreover, to spread their product they attended craft shows to get their product into the pockets of consumers and applied for a patent to protect their idea, with legal help from my Dad. They had a very successful campaign and went on to raise over $5,000 on Kickstarter. After this project, they really wanted to revolutionize the wallet after analyzing other successful wallet Kickstarter campaigns. They created what they pitched as, “An elegant wallet crafted from eco-friendly hardwoods featuring a uniquely convenient design to protect your valuables.” In this project, even my brother would admit that they got overconfident in their creative ability and were overconsumed by their desire to create an eco-friendly revolutionized wallet. The design and idea was never a real hit.  None the less, they ended up raising over $2,000 on Kickstarter. At the current moment, they aren’t creating any new ideas, but my brother continually mentions problems that could have a feasible solution. He is always thinking! He inspires me because of his creativity and resilience. Moreover, he wasn’t afraid to fail, even though he was only 14. He learned a lot from creating these products and will take these lessons into the rest of his life.


Smile Stand



Urbn Wallet