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Sunday, April 19th, 2015


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Student Entrepreneurs Mix Enthusiasm and Creativity

Bookstorm.com. Fed up by the way textbooks were bought and sold at New York University, students Justin Goldberg and Daniel Shainberg vowed to end the hassles they encountered at the college bookstore.

Last summer, the duo gave birth to Bookstorm.com, an Internet-based textbook swapping company, which resells textbooks online so students can save money and alleviate the headaches caused by campus bookstores

"We figured there had to be a way for students to get cheaper books," said Goldberg. "It is ridiculous that new books go for $125 on the shelves but then are bought back from the student for $40, just so the bookstores can re-sell them for $80."

Goldberg and Shainberg, both 21 and finance majors at NYU, are among the handfuls of college students across the country that aren’t sleeping through class or running to find the next keg. Instead, these young people are venturing out into the business-world to create what they hope will become a future success.

Goldberg and Shainberg, both 21 and finance majors at NYU, are among the handfuls of college students across the country that aren’t sleeping through class or running to find the next keg. Instead, these young people are venturing out into the business-world to create what they hope will become a future success. Bookstorm.com has collected more than 1,500 books and 600 users since its inception, Goldberg said. The company is self-funded so far, with the exception of a $1,500 prize from a local youth business competition.

"There are over 200,000 college students in New York City," said Goldberg. "If we can get five percent of those and capitalize on them for four years, we think we have the potential to make a lot of money."

The Fit Zone. But for some students, the financial aspect of starting up a self-run business isn’t as easy as winning cash in a contest.

"I walked into the bank to try and take out a $15,000 loan and they told me to get lost," said George Etre, the owner of a successful workout facility in Iowa City.

Etre, 27, opened his own gym in May of 2000 when he was close to graduating from the University of Iowa with a business major, and felt unsure what to do with his life. His club, The Fit Zone, started with 50 members and 10 pieces of equipment; it now has skyrocketed to more than 1,000 members working out with over 75 machines.

Within two years, the facility has sprouted numerous tanning beds, large screen TV’s and a state-of-the-art member check-in system valued at $10,000. Etre said he maxed out three credit cards to keep the club on its feet, in addition to having his parents co-sign a small loan.

While his entrepreneurship classes taught him the number-crunching aspects and organizational parts of the job, Etre said he would be nowhere if he didn’t believe in The Fit Zone.

"They don’t teach you 18-hour days in class," he said. "It all comes down to how bad you want it."

TicketAdvantage. According to Adam Witty, the 20-year-old founder of TicketAdvantage, a secondary ticket sales brokerage, the only way to truly "make it" in life is to be self-employed.

The marketing major and current senior at Clemson University in South Carolina said the idea came to him during the summer before his freshman year of college.

"My dad threw away $150 worth of Orlando Magic basketball tickets because no one could go to the game," said Witty. "This seemed like a crime to put that in the trash-so I wanted to come up with a way to re-sell tickets online."

Witty’s brainchild, which was launched in November of 2001, provides an online marketplace for both professional and collegiate season ticket holders of all sports. Season ticket holders can go to TicketAdvantage.com to resell tickets they don’t plan to use, thereby giving empty-handed fans an opportunity to purchase them

The website has up to 30,000 hits per month, Witty said. He and his two
other business partners have sustained the company by investing their own money. He said the company will soon look for outside private investors to grow to the next level, adding that the ticket service has not returned large profits thus far.

But like his fellow entrepreneurs, Witty says classes have not sufficiently prepared him for the trials and tribulations of the business world.

"There are a lot of intrinsic benefits from the company though," he said.
"At the end of the day when you look at what you’ve done, you just say, ‘wow, I did that.’"

© 2008, Young Money Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

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