Michael Amegashie and Quaison Carter: Two Young Entrepreneurs
Michael Amegashie, an NJIT junior, took the first place prize of $5,000 for a start-up business called University Storage. The business, now in the planning stages, will help college students store their belongings during summer break.
Quaison Carter, also a junior, took second place for a start-up business called fetchFIRE, a website based repository of emergency information that clients use to stay in touch with each other during emergencies (www.fetchfire.com).
Amegashie, an industrial engineering major who minors in business management, said that University Storage will provide safe, inexpensive and nearby storage space to its clients. It will also offer UPS shipping, an online tracking service as well as direct delivery to their dorms or apartments.
The Genesis of His Business
Amegashie got the idea for the business when he arrived in America from Ghana in the summer of 2006 to attend the Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP) six-week summer program. But arriving in the summer, he had no place to store his things. A friend offered to help him, but that experience became the genesis for the business.
His engineering and management classes have been instrumental in helping him plan the business, he said.
“It’s a business idea born from my own experience,” he added, “so I think it will fulfill a need that students have for storage. I will first offer the business to NJIT and nearby colleges in Newark, then expand throughout the state. And the $5,000 prize will help me get the business started.”
Amegashie said he was “awed and overwhelmed” when a panel of contest judges picked him, especially since “other students in the contest, such as Quaison Carter, had such terrific ideas.”
Quaison and Randall: a Team?
Carter, a School of Management student who minors in biology, won $1,500 for taking second place in the contest, which was sponsored by Randall Pinkett, chairman of BCT Partners, a consulting firm based at NJIT’s Enterprise Development Center. Pinkett, best known as the Season Four winner of The Apprentice, a television show, also holds an honorary degree from NJIT. He was a keynote speaker last year at the university’s commencement.
Carter, too, said he was grateful to win, since so many students had such good ideas. Winners get to have lunch with Pinkett, which Carter is especially looking forward to. One day, he said, he’d love to work for Pinkett.
Quaison and Michael: Perfect Together?
And in the future, there’s even a chance that he and Amegashie, who are friends, might team up.
“Randall Pinkett was one of the judges so I’m very proud of being a close runner up,” said Carter. “I’m also proud of my friend, Mike Amegashie, who is a brilliant student and a wonderful person. We may even work together on a new business venture in the future.”
(By Robert Florida, University Web Services)