To be a successful entrepreneur, you must be passionate about what you're doing, but be open-minded enough to change course on a dime.
Working on a Mountaintop Project at Lehigh this summer through the program LaunchBayC, student-athletes and IDEAS student Zach Drake (men's lacrosse), Lauren Beausoleil (women's lacrosse) and Eddie DeDomenico (men's lacrosse) have taken everything in stride as they create and develop their paint brush cleaning product.
LaunchBayC, a student idea accelerator, features three different tracks: creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. The student-athletes are in the innovation track, which means they have identified a problem, see it as an opportunity and are working to develop a solution.
The trio wouldn't be where they are without an idea which began in one of Beausoleil's classes in the fall of 2014.
"I took Entrepreneurship 101 with Professor (Pat) Costa and he gave each group in the class a certain subject," said Beausoleil. "Ours was the arts. I happen to have a friends whose mom is an art teacher, so I observed her class and I wanted to uncover an issue."
The creation of a new product often comes from a problem that needs to be solved.
"I realized how much time they spent just for cleanup," said Beausoleil. "It's been an issue for not just her class, but also for the after-school programs."
Beausoleil uncovered an opportunity for a product to fill a need.
Professor Costa liked the idea and encouraged Lauren to look further into the issue, beyond his class. Beausoleil's original group members were unavailable to stay at Lehigh this summer, but were excited the idea could be developed further. Beausoleil sought to find people who could help.
"I had class with Eddie (DeDomenico) and we have similar, but also very different mindsets," said Beausoleil. "He was so interested in the idea."
After DeDomenico joined the team, an engineer was needed. They found Drake, who is an IDEAS (Integrated Degree in Engineering, Arts and Sciences) major. He was equally on board with the group's direction.
"I love taking an idea, building it and making it happen," said Drake. "I happen to be very passionate about the product, being a painter myself. I painted in high school, so it's something that's close to my heart."
The group began the summer by working on a hands-free brush cleaning system that cleans paint brushes in bulk. A relatively simple concept, the project could have far-reaching impact.
The setup on the Mountaintop Campus has allowed for creative thinking, helping the group progress at a good pace. There are many different projects happening at once in one collaborative atmosphere. Lehigh University is there to help in any way possible. The group members have many resources at their disposal, including 3D printers.
"Lehigh is almost working for us to the point where they're supplying us with everything we need," said Drake. "It's a collaborative experience between students and faculty. We've developed more than a student to professor relationship; it's essentially been a peer-to-peer relationship."
The three have also learned about working together as a group. They all think enough alike where they're on the same page, but yet they all bring different skills to the table.
"I have the engineering background, so my role is more of the design and building," said Drake. "Lauren and Eddie handle the business side of things. I have no business acumen, but we still go back and forth. I don't take full responsibility of how the product works and they don't take full responsibility of the business. It's very collaborative."
Read the full story at the Lehigh University Athletics website.
-Justin Lafleur is the Senior Assistant Director with Lehigh Sports Media Relations.
July 22, 2016