A second-year economics and mathematics major's laundry service business will soon be available to Case Western Reserve students. With funding from his winnings in a student business plan competition and support from entrepreneurship experts and student life administrators, Marc Parnell's College Hamper will debut to students Oct. 1.
College Hamper was a third-place winner in last year's Spartan Challenge, a business planning and pitching competition that emulates the angel- and venture-investment process, complete with seasoned entrepreneurship mentors and prize money. Parnell credits much of his success to his mentoring relationship with Bill Grimberg, senior director of national development at CWRU, and Bob Sopko, director of the university's Blackstone LaunchPad.
With their support, Parnell brought his idea to CWRU leaders. Law students in the university's IP Venture Clinic helped negotiate details of the contract to bring his services to campus residents. Case Western Reserve students can now sign up for semester- or year-long subscriptions to his service, in which student couriers pick up, wash, dry, fold and return laundry to users in three hours. Single-load options are also available.
Lou Stark, vice president of student affairs, says supporting Parnell's business is just one way the university helps students develop new enterprise and supports their success.
“If we are going to say that it’s important that students work with Blackstone LaunchPad and that they try to collaborate on entrepreneurial interests, then it’s important that we help support that,” he says.