Two Florida State University College of Business student business owners have been recognized for building a business with a heart.
Gov. Rick Scott presented the Governor’s Young Entrepreneurship Award to entrepreneurship majors Jason McIntosh of Pompano Beach and Mitch Nelson of Tampa for creating and growing DivvyUp, a “social entrepreneurship” business, during the Oct. 27 meeting of the Florida Cabinet. Scott created the award in August to recognize Florida students, college graduates and young entrepreneurs who are excelling in the workplace and creating innovative ideas in Florida.
“These two young entrepreneurs have successfully grown a business all the while attending Florida State University,” said Scott, who praised entrepreneurs all over the state.
McIntosh and Nelson, both seniors, created DivvyUp as a requirement of the college’s Sophomore Experience program. The business has given more than 3,500 pairs of socks to homeless shelters in Tallahassee, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa.
“Mitch and I saw the class as an opportunity to give back to the community,” McIntosh said. “But we were unsure of what was needed or how to help, so we decided to take a trip down to the Tallahassee homeless shelter to ask what we could do. Expecting to hear shelter or food as their largest needs, we were really surprised when they expressed a huge need for clean socks.”
McIntosh said he and Nelson wanted to give back on a sustainable basis and seeing that socks were trending on campus, they decided to sell fun designer socks with a mission of giving a pair of socks to the shelter for every pair they sold.
The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship funds the entrepreneurship program at FSU, and a $400 loan from that program through Jim Dever, one of the college’s entrepreneurs-in-residence and senior lecturers, allowed the two to purchase the first batch of socks. After six weeks, they were able to give 160 pairs of clean socks to the shelter.
“We were thrilled with the success we had in the class. People loved the socks and the mission,” McIntosh said.
After the class ended, he and Nelson invested $800 each to build a website and purchase additional socks — and pay back the $400 loan. They spent the past year selling their socks on their website, at local markets and events across the state. They recently partnered with Dance Marathon at FSU to create a custom “DMFSU2016” sock. With every pair of DMFSU socks purchased, McIntosh and Nelson give $5 to Children’s Miracle Network and a pair of socks to someone in need.
DivvyUp was nominated by Wendy Plant, the college’s director of Student Engagement and an entrepreneur-in-residence at The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship, which is housed in the college.
Over the past several years, FSU has been working toward an ongoing transformation into “The Entrepreneurial University” and a campuswide emphasis on creating a culture among students, faculty and staff that embraces entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation.
To contact McIntosh or Nelson, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.