In an effort to pique student entrepreneurial spirit, a forest green trailer parked in the center of the Arts Quad beckoned passersby to consider revamping their personal branding. The driver of the van were companies Shopify and WAYV, who teamed up to sponsor a two-day event promoting business innovation.
The WAYV marketing strategy is to pack a brand’s goods onto vans and drive them onto college campuses. This gives start-up and smaller companies exposure to a young market that founder Julia Haber said they may otherwise not reach. Shopify is an e-commerce website that allows users to create their own online store to market their products or business. They allow business owners to manage products and inventory, as well as handle payment and shipping all through their platform.
Students could walk through the exhibit with iPads while quizzing themselves on what type of business owner they would be. Questions ranged from “What is most important to you in owning a business?” to their valuation of a eco-friendly or creative workplace.
The shopify trailer showcased a variety of companies that used Shopify to grow their business and the versatile nature of products sold on it, from environmentally friendly socks from Bombas to non-GMO “Pipcorn.” Other brands showcased Think Board, Final Straw, Zandra Beauty and HexComix.
The event was co-hosted by Entrepreneurship at Cornell, who state on their website that “individuals who exhibit an entrepreneurial spirit and have acquired entrepreneurial knowledge can add significant value to any working environment.” This experience worked on introducing students to companies targeting those looking to start their own business.
Samuel Chessler ’22 had never heard of Shopify before the event, but now liked “the different scope of entrepreneurship they were going for.”
The CEO and Founder of WAYV, Julia Haber, noted that their events are targeted towards “strong entrepreneurship-focused schools” with a goal of helping “students understand that if they ever want to be an entrepreneur, that they can do it with Shopify.”
Athena Brennan ’23 mentioned how she could see Shopify could help students interested in entrepreneurship with “launching a business.”
The event will also be hosted at Syracuse University, Babson College, and Bentley University. These schools are “all different sizes and… makeups but [have] the same DNA of entrepreneurship,” Haber said.
A previous version of this story misspelled the name of Julia Haber. The Sun regrets this error.