Two students from the 2017 Clifton Builders cohort at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln look to change the way students and tutors interact. As a part of the Clifton Builders program where they develop innovative talent and study strengths-based leadership, Deep Patel and Jordan De Spong have taken the first steps toward starting their own business. Naming the business StudyScope, the two international students want to build an online application and website that connects students with tutors that fit their learning styles and personalities. The matching system works similarly to the CliftonStrengths assessment, having students answer questions and learn about their personality type. This helps match the tutors with the students.
They hope the platform allows students to not only learn from their tutors but also create friendships, since their personalities would be similar. Currently in the testing environment, the platform will be launched after receiving funding. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln will be the first campus they introduce StudyScope to, with plans to expand to other schools in the Midwest.
De Spong, a sophomore management major from Dunedin, New Zealand, and Patel, a sophomore business administration major from Francistown, Botswana, spend about 20 hours a week refining their business model, testing market strategies and developing the product. Brennan Roberson, a junior computer science major from Lincoln, Nebraska, helps them on the technical side by developing the algorithms for the matching system and managing their website.
“Jordan usually comes up with the ideas and gets them rolling. I focus on structuring those ideas and helping build the path to get them implemented,” Patel said.
Patel advises anyone wanting to start their own business to start with a mentor. Patel and De Spong received advice from Mark Pogue, executive director of the Clifton Strengths Institute, and Dr. Sam Nelson, director for the Center for Entrepreneurship, about the best places to start their entrepreneurial journey. De Spong and Patel also learned to utilize their top five CliftonStrengths in the startup environment.
“It’s not easy starting a business. You have to work hard for what you get, and it may not turn out how you planned because things can get altered along the way,” Patel said.