By: Lexie Newhouse
Photos by: Deniece Griffin
“Regardless of whether you consider yourself an entrepreneur, there’s a lot of knowledge and skills to be gained from this program.” – Marvin Hitson Jr.
What inspired you to declare Entrepreneurship as your major?
It was a spur of the moment switch. My advisor brought up the program to me. At the time, I was a Computer Information Systems (CIS) major, and after taking my first computer programming class, I quickly realized that wasn’t for me. That’s when she shared the option of the Entrepreneurship Major with me that had just become available. I’ve always had entrepreneurship in the back of my mind, so I just took the opportunity and went for it.
Have you considered yourself always to be entrepreneurial?
I found that entrepreneurial spirit over time. As a kid, I was playing ball, being an athlete. Being a business owner never was really in my mind at the time. Over the years, especially more recently, my interest for entrepreneurship has grown. I follow entrepreneurs online and have continued to be inspired by them – To take control of my life, actually enjoy what I’m doing and turn it into a business.
Are you currently working on any entrepreneurial ventures?
A friend of mine reconnected with me about a year ago. He himself is very entrepreneurial. When we were younger, he had his own landscaping company at 16 years old. I told him I was a part of an entrepreneurship program at Georgia State, and he took me under his wing, showing me the in’s and out’s of running a business. Now we’re working on a short-term rental business together, similar to Airbnb. It gives us the opportunity to dive deeper into the realm of private equity to create a chain of our own unique properties (each one being different from the other depending on the location) that people can expect great service, hospitality and new memories.
I’m also preparing to launch the podcast by the end of summer. It’s called “Grassroots” and will feature thoughts and lessons about business while weaving in our personal stories. We’ll have guests within the local area come on to share their stories when it comes to business and any personal matters that we feel will make a huge impact on those listening in. We definitely want to use this podcast as an opportunity not only for ourselves but others both local and abroad to come on and share what they have learned in their lives to help change the lives of others.
Do you believe entrepreneurship can be taught?
That’s a tough question. You can teach the basics – Putting together a business model, developing a business plan, conducting market research, things like that. Ensuring that there’s a problem behind your solution. You can’t teach the unpredictability of bringing those ventures into the real world. There are so many variables you must consider when launching but learning the basics of entrepreneurship by educating yourself removes some of that uncertainty. Take risks but be logical in doing so.
What value do you perceive in having an entrepreneurial education?
I see it in class – classmates that are stuck in that mindset of “I need to get this degree so I become a lawyer or doctor,” whether it be because their parents want them to or they think that is what society is still all about. I’m not knocking those things at all as they’re great professions, but I would encourage those students to consider trying to monetize those passions by transforming them into your own business. An entrepreneurial education has allowed me to realize that’s possible – To create something you want to do every day for the rest of your life.
What was your favorite ENI course?
I really enjoyed Dr. Leonard Jackson’s class, but my favorite class was the Startup Incubator course with Professor Ken Mathis. It brought me from that classroom environment into the actual field by taking my idea and executing it. He mentored me throughout the semester, trying to filter through my business model and perfect it. He even had me doing profit and loss charts on the whiteboard. It was tedious, but it shows how in depth you go in the incubation course.
What other entrepreneurship opportunities have you taken advantage of while being at State?
I definitely utilized the ENI staff. They’re such an invaluable resource. I always scheduled one-on-one meetings with the faculty and staff to learn more about their ventures and the lessons they learned. I took Professor Mathis for ENI 4100 this past semester, and it was a great opportunity to dive even deeper into his personal insights on navigating those key business decisions.
For students contemplating declaring Entrepreneurship as their major, what advice would you share?
Definitely, for students that already consider themselves entrepreneurial, they would get a lot out of this program in learning how to develop a viable business model. For anyone else that hasn’t necessarily considered entrepreneurship, there is value in taking those entrepreneurship courses, even if they don’t end up owning they own business. They can still have those entrepreneurial tendencies within a company – become an “intrepreneur.” Regardless of whether you consider yourself an entrepreneur, there’s a lot of knowledge and skills to be gained from this program.
Now that you’ve recently graduated from Georgia State, what’s next?
I’ll continue working on our rental company and preparing for the launch of the podcast. Personally, I’m big on fitness. I’m trying to figure out how to incorporate that passion with mental health and develop a brand or business around that. I’m a firm believer that fitness benefits mental health as much, if not more than the physical benefits.
To discover if a B.B.A. in Entrepreneurship is what you are looking for, click here.