Entrepreneurial student-athletes are finding encouragement and the practical know-how to launch new companies through the SportUp Incubator, part of Oregon State Athletic’s Everyday Champions Program in collaboration with the College of Business. Each year, about one-fourth to one-third of all student athletes are business majors
OSU SportUp is a first-of-its kind collaboration where student-athletes and business students can get advice and develop their ideas. Participants include Beaver football’s Dustin Stanton and rowing’s Mimi Grosselius, students in the College of Business.
Stanton has been working on a training device for track athletes called Rabbit with teammate Ryan Cope. It’s a smart phone app that controls a drone used to pace runners in training. The software allows the user to enter a time or speed, and a drone leads the athlete around the track. It even has the capability to record video that can be reviewed by a runner or coach.
Stanton, who will graduate with a business administration degree after fall term, said he’s gained real-world experience and received guidance from professors in the College of Business.
“We learn how to effectively create and bring ideas to life,” he said. “This program has changed my outlook on what being a modern-day entrepreneur consists of.”
SportUp’s organizers put on an event in Portland in May of 2016 where hard-working business students pitched their ideas to a group of about 50 Oregon State alumni, donors, sponsors and friends.
Grosselius also attended the pitch event and said it was encouraging to see all the business leaders, including the Dean of the College of Business, Mitzi Montoya.
Grosselius’s startup idea is to redesign used athletic gear into a sustainable clothing line.
“I’m a person who likes to solve problems,” she said.
At any college campus, there are boxes, totes and closets full of old uniforms, athletic apparel and sporting equipment, which often is destined for the landfill. Grosselius, a merchandising management student in the College of Business, alters Dri-Fit shirts into cropped tops and shorts into skirts. Uniform stripes become colorful accents.
The biggest impediment has been time.
“I just don’t have enough time to do it all myself,” she said.
A design professor in the College of Business allows Grosselius to use the sewing lab during the evening after she's finished her second daily rowing session.
Grosselius has already created a few clothing prototypes. Her plan is to hire apparel students to do the sewing, then to market the repurposed black, orange and white, limited-edition items to Beaver fans. She plans to direct half the proceeds to a social cause, such as buying books and uniforms for children in Kenya to attend school.