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From College Students to PPE Entrepreneurs

Posted by Ellie Carlson on
From College Students to PPE Entrepreneurs

The day the world shut down, college students across the country watched as their summer plans withered into a Covid-19 uncertainty. These rising DePauw seniors were no exception. Ellie Carlson, a pre-med student, lost a research opportunity at Duke University, while Sarah Galliher had to forfeit an internship at the White House. Sophie May gave up on her Nashville summer, where she would be working on music video production, but if it weren’t for Carter Gillie, these four seniors might have wasted their summer in isolation as opposed to spending it the way that they did.

In the midst of a global pandemic, this team of young entrepreneurs united their variety of talents and breadth of knowledge to build a business that will help students and parents feel safer as they navigate returning to campuses in the coming months. Sanitize Your Semester (www.sanitizeyoursemester.com) is a monthly subscription service through Clinician’s Health Solutions, LLC (an Indiana-based company) that delivers personal protective equipment (PPE), like hand sanitizer, masks, and a level 5 surface cleaner right to your door. This box is meant to protect students, families, and business owners while we adapt to a sterilized and socially distant life with an unpredictable virus.

The four driven students started to write and implement a business plan in a small office off Meridian Street. They dove into business 101 by creating a branding/marketing strategy, products/packaging and fulfillment plan to deliver the first subscription box service for PPE. The complex and uncertain ramifications of coronavirus forced these students to come together and build a brand, Clinician’s Choice.

“When I first started this internship, I was just happy to be able to be working during the global pandemic,” Gillie said. “I had no idea that my boss was going to give me the opportunity to take ownership of a business alongside three of my closest friends. I have learned more than I could ever imagine and I feel like I’m doing something good for other people by creating this business.”

In the process of building their website, the DePauw seniors connected with local veterans, Chuck Mack and Jeff Piper. Their company, Veterans Industries and Arts, was established in 2000 to foster opportunities for at-risk veterans such as employment, arts therapy, and education as they integrated back into civilian life. An instantaneous friendship blossomed after meeting Mack and Piper as the students routinely collaborated with the pair. In a matter of weeks, the four students helped the veterans create a logo, website, and vision for their new hand sanitizer brand, Frontline Hand Sanitizer. All the net proceeds from the sales of this brand will go to fund initiatives at Veteran Industries and Arts. Their initial bond developed into a partnership through their shared motivation to truly, selflessly, help others.

The culture of Clinician’s Health Solutions is one of giving. To the students, giving back is just as important as the business itself. Their intention is to raise money and awareness for our most forgotten heroes, our veterans. These four students decided to give a portion of their earnings from SanitizeYourSemester.com back into the community by supporting the people who have sacrificed the most to protect our country, people like Mack and Piper. Their website, along with Frontline Hand Sanitizer, have become a platform to help veterans win their quality of life back by engaging in already established programs.

The eagerness and devotion of the veterans transformed the students’ mindset about entrepreneurship and what merits good business. The reward isn’t the profit, it’s what the profit is doing to local communities by building up the dynamic of veterans. Whenever you purchase a product or monthly subscription from Sanitizeyoursemester.com, you are actively supporting their mission to help the reintegration of veterans back into the local community.

These DePauw seniors have cultivated an experience that most weren’t able to this summer. In just a few short months, they learned the first steps of entrepreneurship in the midst of business uncertainty while forging a friendship with two, passionate individuals. The unprecedented summer for these students became an experience you simply can’t find in an internship or classroom.

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