Trine students help campus and community with class project turned business opportunity
By Catherine E. Porter
marketing and communication '16
NOV. 30 – A new service headed by Trine students matches community members’ needs with students seeking a job.
Last school year, a team of students in Trine’s Entrepreneurship and Venture Planning class were faced with the challenge of creating a business that would solve a problem in the community. Throughout the course of that semester, Aaron Wolf and Jacob Bagley, both of whom graduated in 2014; and Trey Calver, a senior finance major from Shelby, Ohio, established and developed the idea of Job Scholar, a web service that would meet a need that many college students face.
Job Scholar aims to provide college students with ways to make money regardless of their hectic schedules. By pairing with community members looking for inexpensive labor for projects or tasks, Job Scholar not only promotes growing local economies but also donates 5 to 10 percent of its revenue back to the universities with which it works. In Trine’s case, this money is allocated to existing scholarship programs.
Participating in Job Scholar is easy – students who are interested simply sign up on the Job Scholar website (jobscholar.com) and go through an application process if they see a posted job that fits their skill set. These jobs range from raking leaves and cleaning gutters to tutoring sessions; jobs are either a one-time task or one that repeats on a weekly basis.
“Many community members hire a student at the price they choose – $10 per hour is suggested – grab their to-do list, and have the student work as long as they originally requested,” Calver said.
According to Calver, the Job Scholar team began developing their idea in the beginning of September 2014. By May, they had registered as a limited liability company (LLC) and on Sept. 30, 2015 the first Job Scholar job was completed by a student, meaning that it took just over a year for the project to evolve from an idea into an operating business.
“During that year, my partners and I had a lot of late nights due to our busy schedules during the day. We had constant meetings at least two to three times a week,” Calver said. “We conducted research on pricing, competitors, web development, legal requirements, market research, marketing, financial projections, etcetera to validate our idea.”
The road to success for the group involved presenting to multiple Trine University professors, advisors, venture capitalists and the Ketner School of Business Advisory Board, as well as entering two business plan writing contests.
Sophomore finance major Ethan Riddell of Camden, Mich. said he signed up with the site to make a little extra cash. With a busy schedule and limited work-study job opportunities, he decided to give Job Scholar a shot. Not long after, he was connected with David Rollins, of Angola, to help winterize his lake house.
“It was a great experience,” Riddell said. “I got to connect with him and find out about his life experiences. You make connections and begin to add people to your list who might be helpful as references down the road.”
The experience was positive for Rollins as well. Rollins described Riddell “as an outstanding young man who was very helpful and worked hard.”
“We were able to complete tasks that I could not have done myself, or would have taken me three times as long,” Rollins said. Because of his success with Job Scholar so far, Rollins plans on hiring two more people in the upcoming weeks for a major landscaping project.
“As I age, it is more difficult to do all the chores I formerly did from a physical standpoint. Job Scholar allows me more free time,” Rollins said. Rollins has helped the Job Scholar team with mentoring and consulting services ever since hiring Bagley to perform some outdoor chores last year. It was during this exchange that the idea of Job Scholar was born and developed into the team’s project for their entrepreneurship class.
Justin Franchville, a junior chemical engineering student from Coatesville, is another Trine student who has had success with Job Scholar.
“A job that would take five or more hours out of my day several days a week simply is not something that would work with my coursework along with the extra-curricular activities I participate in,” Franchville said. “Job Scholar has allowed me to work with my own schedule in mind.”
Through Job Scholar, Franchville helped demolish the inside of a barn in preparation for its renovation. He worked with two other students and the group collaborated to optimize their time on the job.
“The week-by-week schedule we had agreed upon aligned perfectly with everything else I had going on at the time,” he said.
Looking forward, Franchville has found another job through the site where he’ll be helping a local resident around the house and aiding in some landscaping work. He plans on continuing to find job opportunities through Job Scholar while attending school at Trine.
“Job Scholar has allowed me to work in the environment I am comfortable with, it has allowed me to make money on my own time, and it has allowed me to network with multiple students as well as several prominent figures around town,” Franchville said. “I would strongly encourage any and every student who is looking for work opportunities that will collaborate with their schedules to consider Job Scholar.”
Job Scholar currently serves 210 students, and there are seven homeowners and two local businesses posting jobs. A total of 39 jobs have been completed since Sept. 30.
Calver says the Job Scholar team’s main goals are to provide a way for students to make quick cash, provide community members with inexpensive and convenient help, and to give back to the school for scholarship funds. They hope to have 500 students signed up by the end of the year and to have 25 to 30 jobs posted each week.
“By using Job Scholar, you are helping out students, building relationships, and donating money to Trine,” he said. “At the end of the day, we just want to help out the community and the students.”