In just weeks, college student Cary Silverman will graduate with a degree in marketing, but he probably won’t be looking for a job because he is already at work as the founder of three successful and growing small businesses.
The University of Missouri student has been a business owner since he was nine years old and started a lawn-mowing business. By the time he was a sophomore in high school, he had five hundred weekly accounts and over 1,700 yearly customers in his original green business.
The enterprising student found another opportunity while in classes. As a college sophomore, Silverman started his own successful online small business! The name of his enterprise is a bit of marketing magic to appeal to students looking for a good grade, Grade Genie. There is not a magic lamp needed to tap Grade Genie, an online company where students from 2,700 schools across the country can form cyber study groups. Silverman created an online platform where students everywhere can put notes, old study guides, and old papers on the Website and other users can download them. This innovative approach got the attention of late night comics including NBC’s Jay Leno who quipped it seemed more like old fashioned cheating than a business building collaboration between students.
Silverman’s small business marketing expertise is evident on the Grade Genie home page asking users to help spread the word about the online portal by helping create a killer viral marketing campaign. The student entrepreneur asks users to download the Grade Genie logo and create a photo, video or story about how Grade Genie changed their college experience. There is even a Grade Genie Hall of Fame for the best business marketing ideas. This student owner could write a book on marketing strategy for the start-up business owner!
While this student was studying in classes on how to start a successful small business; Silverman was putting his lessons to good use. There was another idea on how to start a business and how to market it at Silverman’s neighborhood movie theatre. He got the idea for another successful small business concept while waiting in line at a movie theatre near school. When Silverman saw college students sneaking alcohol into a theater to drink with their popcorn, he saw an opportunity for another small business to start and market with Pub Corn, alcohol flavored popcorn. He tried many ways to flavor the popcorn and after many attempts, partnered with a company to develop non-alcoholic flavorings for Pub Corn.
Available in a variety of adult beverage flavors including beer, Irish cream, and pina colada, Pub Corn is sold at gourmet stores, bars, pubs, and grocery stores. Silverman also has a website selling the cocktail flavored popcorn and is promoting his new snack in stores between exams and business plans.
This student is something of a one-man economic stimulus plan and I can’t wait to see what he does when he graduates!