May 03

Student Entrepreneurs Get a Head Start(up)

Three students in BYU’s No. 2-ranked entrepreneurship program aren’t waiting to apply what they’re learning until after graduation; instead, they have a jump start on their business ventures:

  1. Morgen Glessing, a senior from Vancouver, Washington

Glessing is steering two different startups. The first is Kudoz, an app that rewards safe drivers with points they can redeem for discounts on food and apparel at local businesses. Glessing’s goal is to end texting while driving, and he hopes to reach young drivers in particular.

Morgen Glessing

Morgen Glessing

While the Kudoz app is in the beta stage, Glessing is also working on a startup with a team through the Crocker Innovation Fellowship, a campus-wide entrepreneurship program. His team is experimenting with technology to innovate a more user-friendly experience for wheelchair accessibility on college campuses.

“I love startups so much that I considered dropping out to dedicate my time to them, but I am very glad that I didn’t because I would be making the same fundamental mistakes over and over again,” Glessing says. “The program has refined my thinking to help me understand that entrepreneurs possess critical skills that can be applied while we are still in school.”

  1. Peter Johnson, a senior from Park City, Utah
Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Johnson is capturing the attention of adventurous travelers with his most recent project, an app called Dundidit. As people travel, they can post pictures and videos that are linked to their location, and then later visitors to that same location can view the previous posts and add their own. Users can vote for the funniest and most interesting posts to determine which ones will be featured on the main feed.

Johnson entered his app in last year’s mobile app competition sponsored by the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology and received $1,500.

“I’ve chosen to go into entrepreneurship because it’s what has given me the most passion in life,” Johnson says. “Being able to work on projects that I care deeply about and coming up with ideas that prove to be valuable for others is really fun for me.”

  1. Parker Eakin, a junior from Sandy, Utah

Even the outdoors needs entrepreneurs. Eakin noticed how inconvenient it can be for campers to have to bring bulky, heavy cooking systems to prepare a warm meal in the mountains, and he overcame several technological obstacles to create a lightweight solution called Roam.

Parker Eakin

Parker Eakin

The cooking container is a collapsible silicone bowl with a base that can be attached to various types of stoves. Instead of using traditional pots and pans, campers can simply expand the lightweight bowl, add a fuel source, and turn it on.

Eakin has further prototyping to do, but he says the product has already received positive feedback from potential customers. He is excited to see where Roam will take him.

“I’m sure that I would be an entrepreneur whether I was a part of this program or not, but there is no doubt in my mind that the level of success that I will have is all due to this program and its faculty members,” Eakin says. “To me, there is no better sense of accomplishment than being able to create something that provides value for someone and to see the happiness it can bring them.”