- Student Life
By Chanel Kawasaki. November 18, 2016 - 6:24 pm
The idea of starting a business is something that many people think about at least once in their life. The dream of becoming successful, being one’s own boss and creating something magnificent is enticing.
For a lot of people, however, this idea never takes off as uncertainty and risk begin to cloud their bright plans.
This is where the Hawaii Pacific Entrepreneur Club comes in. The Entrepreneur Club seeks to assist local business owners and prospective students achieve economic success through business advising and project management.
“Anyone can come to us and we sort of treat every project as a brainstorming session on how to help them out with marketing or finance or accounting or location,” said Ken Schoolland, advisor for the Entrepreneur Club and Associate Professor of Economics.
One student in particular is Jordan Serpentini, a professional skateboarder and freelance artist who graduated from Hawaii Pacific University with a degree in International Business. Serpentini combined her passion for art, skateboarding and business, and began producing her own unique murals on the surface of her skateboard’s grip tape.
“Mixing (my) two passions, I came up with Ragical Griptape, a company founded on the inspiration of smiles through art and image assimilation,” said Serpentini. “In other words, magically rad customized grip tapes inspiring a smile before every trick.”
She continued: “Grip tape, in my eyes, meant a blank canvas for expression.”
The purpose of grip tape is to provide a sandpaper-like traction for a skateboarder to stay on the board.
“What she does is she makes the grip tape for the top of the skateboard and she is an artist so she designs it and she’s gotten endorsements from a number of renowned skateboarders and she’s utilized information with the club to help her build it into a regular business,” said Schoolland.
Serpentini founded the business Ragical Griptape to sell her artwork efficiently, as well as internationally.
“Through the collective will of Hawaii Pacific Entrepreneur Club’s knowledgeable team, I was able to get a better direction of my next steps, create a goal and motive to reach, and find better and bigger economies of scale and distribution,” said Serpentini.
The Entrepreneur Club aided Serpentini in her promotions by helping her create a website, business cards, promo videos and increasing her social media presence. The club also helped her get her artwork featured in the X-games, a TNT TV show, the movie “Animal Kingdom,” and a Crystal Geyser commercial.
“As someone who is going through the motions of making a legacy for whatever motive it may be, I would like to make it easier for anyone else also stepping out on a limb to follow their gut feeling, or their heart instead of their mind. To do what you love is a monumental thing,” said Serpentini.
The Entrepreneur Club is made up of two dozen students that collaborate with a common passion for business, taking on several projects throughout the school year. The club members work tediously with intensive research and the creation of project plans, social media, website formation, business cards and providing other promotional tools.
“The Hawaii Pacific Entrepreneur Club is constantly looking for projects that could benefit the community around us,” said Stian Kronborg, who has been the Entrepreneur Club’s president since 2014. “Our goal is for every student that is interested in joining to bring what they learn in the classrooms and use that in the real world.”
The club provides members with opportunities to implement the information that they’ve learned at HPU into relevant, real-life situations. Members are given the chance to aid their community and gain hands-on experience in the business field.
Many of the students involved in the Entrepreneur Club in past and present years have owned their own successful businesses. These students join the club for inspiration and experience in the business world.
“A lot of people say, ‘I’m interested in business because I want to start my own business’,” said Schoolland, regarding prospective club members. “They don’t necessarily want to learn business just to fit in with the business world, they want to start their own and be independent and creative. That’s why they join our club, because we have other people who are the same and they get projects all the time.”
The Entepreneur Club showcases their projects at a nation level in Enactus, an annual global competition featuring 36 countries and 69,000 participating students. Serpentini’s Ragical Griptape project was one of the many that was showcased at the Enactus national convention.
“It benefits business students, and other students, by providing a platform where like-minded people can discuss and work towards a goal. I also hope that our members gain leadership experience that they can use in the classroom and when they are graduating,” said Kronborg.
The club is currently in the process of opening an ice cream and coffee shop called AZ Corner, which is scheduled to open at Aloha Tower Marketplace in Fall 2017. For more information on how to join the Entrepreneur Club, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos by Ken Schoolland and Jordan Serpentini.