Sean Hathaway always knew he had an entrepreneurial mindset. He just didn’t realize he’d be in business with a friend while navigating his own undergraduate career.
Hathaway, a second-year finance major, and Adam Geiger, a second-year computer science major, have developed the mySTATE – State College mobile application on Apple’s iOS platform. They’re currently targeting freshmen as the perfect audience for their location-based app.
“Entrepreneurship is something to attach yourself to other than school,” said Hathaway. “We want to build this while we are undergraduates and it’s easy to attach yourself to something like that.”
The application is free and is a database of every building at Penn State University Park. It also includes maps of many off-campus locations, such as restaurants and bars in State College Borough, fraternity houses and apartment buildings. It also hosts a comprehensive taxi service contact list.
“It’s great practice to put our heart into something,” said Geiger. “Even if our application is still a work in progress, we are willing to go out there and give it to people.”
Hathaway and Geiger knew they needed some guidance as they moved through the process of creating their product. They wanted to build their brand and an audience but didn’t really know where to begin. So they took advantage of the free student entrepreneurship consulting opportunity at the Kunkle Activities Center, also known as Kunkle Lounge.
Representatives from Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Nittany Consulting Group are available for free, confidential advice about any small business issue from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at Kunkle Lounge.
Linda Feltman, senior business consultant of student entrepreneurship at SBDC, said she was impressed by Hathaway’s tenacity, as he continued to return to Kunkle Lounge with ideas until he found the right one. And once he connected with Geiger, she said it was clear they had the vision and momentum to make the app idea a reality.
“Students tend to believe they do not have the time to start a business. They are also unaware of the incredible resources they have at their fingertips here at Penn State,” Feltman said. “These students made the time to develop a product and then did a great job of tapping into resources to help them move forward.”
Hathaway and Geiger have recently formed Apex Applications LLC to work more formally on this mobile app project and they hope mySTATE – State College can enhance the Penn State experience by making it easier to get around the sprawling University Park campus and its environs.
“If more people would do what we are doing, it would create this boom of entrepreneurs at Penn State,” Hathaway said.