Published on January 26, 2024 by Sofia Paglioni  
Samford Startup Female Student

The Samford Startup is a student-focused incubator program that promotes a supportive environment for students to launch and run their own business. This community of like-minded individuals provides opportunities for students to learn more about business, enterprise and innovation.

Through the program, students pursuing any Samford University major gain an understanding of how to fully embrace an entrepreneurial mindset, enabling them to expand upon their creativity and develop problem solving skills for facing issues and uncertainty. Students are provided with a space to plan and operate their businesses while also having a chance to connect and network with local business professionals.

There are a variety of businesses currently operating within the program, from jewelers to health food producers to yard work management. Ash Perry, a senior accounting major, has been a Samford Startup resident since his sophomore year. Through the program, Perry launched his business Howl Services LLC, a service-oriented business that connects high school and college students with various jobs around the communities.

 “Samford Startup has helped me launch my business by giving me a space to collaborate with fellow students also pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams. With the help of Brock School of Business faculty and local professionals, we are also gaining new insight and tangible ways to grow our businesses,” said Perry. “ It’s the resources and collaboration that this program offers that have helped me start a business that will hopefully make a redemptive impact here on campus and around the nation.”

The Samford Startup helps turn dreams into entrepreneurial realities, and that was certainly the case when student-athlete Titus Moore wanted to launch his granola bar business. Moore is a marketing graduate, current MBA student and the founder of Moore's Granola Bars. His idea emerged from the late-night hunger struggles of a dedicated student-athlete, which he has now turned into a business. Moore believes the Samford Startup program has helped him excel professionally, and his business has grown as a result. He said, “After joining the program, I had the opportunity to see how other sides of the industry function. I am now able to see firsthand how things like operations, finances and sales are done for companies. This exposure has not only expanded my skill set but also deepened my appreciation for the consumer goods profession.”

Junior graphic design major Emma Ferrante is the owner of Art by Emma LLC and a resident in the program. She has gained confidence from being involved with the program. Ferrante commented, “The Samford Startup program has allowed me to exceed my business goals by equipping me with day-to-day skills such as budgeting, setting prices, and knowing how to get the best ‘bang for my buck’ and be smart with my money. I have come to know the value of my work and of my time because of my peers in the incubator.”

Many students have left the program with a multitude of business knowledge, connections and values needed to succeed in their field. Samford Startup alumni have utilized their time in the program as a launching pad to take their businesses full-time. Kaitlin McDermott ’23 launched her social media management business, Social Hour Media, in the incubator program, and has now taken her business on fulltime and gained both local and regional clients. She said, “Under Dr. Mazzei’s guidance and connections, I was able to build an established business plan around the idea I’d come to Dr. Mazzei with in the fall of my junior year. It’s hard to teach entrepreneurship, when it’s really centered around self-motivation and discipline, but the program fed my ambitions with the resources I needed to establish my business financially and strategically for full-time launch post-grad. Through my experiences in the program and student entrepreneur pitch competitions, Social Hour Media has grown steadily since it started in 2021, and I have Dr. Mazzei’s leadership and guidance in the Samford Startup program to thank for that!”

The Samford Startup program is entering a new and exciting era with help from Samford’s Innovation Fund. Thanks to a grant from that effort, the Samford Startup will get a new space in Cooney Hall to offer students more room to operate their businesses and invite customers and clients to see their work.

Applications for next year’s cohort will run from March 11- 31, 2024. Students can learn more here.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.