St. Louis is a budding hub for entrepreneurs and their startups, and local university students are now taking advantage of the scene. The city will be well represented at this year’s regional Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) competition, thanks to the drive and dedication of two local business owners – Jolijt Tomanaha and Nathan Johnson.
Tomanaha and Johnson were two of the four college-age entrepreneurs that went head-to-head at the local GSEA competition on September 12. Competitors pitched their business models to members of the St. Louis chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and the panel of EO members deliberated and chose to sponsor the top two as they advance to the regional competition in Columbus, Ohio on October 15-17.
Tomanaha is a Washington University student and the co-founder of Farmplicity, a virtual farmers’ market where farmers sell directly to chefs in the St. Louis area. Farmplicity encourages local businesses to “serve local” by simplifying the buying process for meat, dairy and produce.
“You could feel the energy at the local GSEA event,” said Tomanaha. “During the two hours I was there, I received a ton of great advice, encouragement, and made helpful business connections.”
Johnson, a St. Louis University student, is the Chief Technology Officer for HCP United, LLC. HCP United is a healthcare distribution and technology organization that caters to private practice healthcare professionals in three specific markets: physical therapy, podiatry and chiropractic. The HCP United supply chain is able to cut costs and overhead, delivering quality products to medical professionals and their patients at a reduced rate.
“GSEA is a fantastic opportunity, and I am so thrilled to be moving on to compete at the regional level,” said Johnson. “The people I have met so far have been so supportive of what I am doing and have given me great advice to help me advance my vision.
GSEA is an international competition sponsored by Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) for undergraduate college students who run a business. Student entrepreneurs compete through local, regional or virtual competitions for the chance to compete with the best student entrepreneurs in the world at the Global Finals. The Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) is a dynamic, global network of more than 9,500 business owners in 40 countries, founded in 1987.
St. Louis had a presence at least year’s GSEA competition as well. Washington University student, Sarah Haselkorn, made it to the Global GSEA Finals with her company, Green Bean. Green Bean provides tasty, convenient and nutritious fare to the St. Louis community in an eco-friendly manner – complete with compostable to-go containers.
The Global Finals competition awards a $25,000 cash prize, plus tens of thousands in business products and services donated by EO members, including Web services, printing, PR and consulting, The Global Finals will be held in Washington, D.C., November 20-22.