In episode 13 of the HBCU Lifestyle Podcast, I’m happy share with you a positive example of the entrepreneurial spirit on HBCU campuses through my interview with tech start-up cofounders Jamerus Payton (North Carolina A&T State University), Baxter Smith (University of South Carolina) and Torrence Reed (North Carolina A&T State University). Their company, Growtuity, Inc., is an online platform designed to help students start, manage and grow their own businesses.
The three cofounders have a combined 15 years of start-up experience. They have all started businesses during their careers, both in college and after graduation. In addition to start-up experience, they boast an array of diverse skill sets, including operations management, computer technology, software development, marketing, finance and customer relations.
In this episode, you will hear the story of how the cofounders connected on North Carolina A&T State University’s campus and forged a bond that later became a company. They also discussed their first business ventures in college and the lessons they learned from them. For Jamerus Payton—whose first business was selling shoes from his dorm room, such as Nike’s Air Force One and Jordan sneakers—there were two big takeaways.
His biggest lesson was “You got to have a team”; the other was “purpose and value over profits.” Payton mentioned that he has carried these same lessons over into what he does today with Growtuity.
Later in the interview, the cofounders shared how they decided which college to attend. Baxter Smith shared a funny story about how his mom bribed him into attending her alma mater, Claflin University, where he wound up staying for just one semester before transferring to South Carolina State University.
In our conversation about transitioning into college, we also touched on their motivations for staying focused and avoiding all the distractions of college life. Torrence Reed’s motivation was twofold. His first motivation was that he had two younger siblings he wanted to set an example for by graduating in four years. The second was that he didn’t want to be one of the students he witnessed having to go home after the first semester because they didn’t have their priorities in order. “The school will send you a nice letter that says ‘Thank you for your donation; we’re sending you home,’” said Reed.
Before we closed out the show, the guys explained the concept behind Growtuity and some of their individual challenges early on. They also informed me of the services they offer, including a step-by-step roadmap, crowd-funding and storefronts, and finally business plan competitions. Finally, all three cofounders departed with some excellent advice for students currently enrolled in college who are interested in starting a business.
Visit the links below For more information about Growtuity
Twitter: https://twitter.com/growtuityincInstagram: http://instagram.com/growtuity#
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