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The Columbia Chronicle

We've got you covered

The Columbia Chronicle

We've got you covered

The Columbia Chronicle

Student business owners gather for first small business expo

The National Society of Leadership and Success’ Student Small Business Expo, held in the 1104 S. Wabash Ave. building, provided students with the opportunity to showcase and promote their businesses on Monday, Dec. 4. (Cierra Lemott)

Eunkyung Alice Kim, a junior music major, launched their small business, Cozy Stitches by Alice and Arey, because Kim, and their business partner Areanna Whittington, a junior web and app development major, wanted to combat fast fashion.

“I think it’s important to support small businesses because fast fashion is kind of problematic right now,” Kim said. “Appreciate small business and the small business owners for their hard work and what they’ve done.”

Whittington added that “because of fast fashion and because we’re fiber artists, too, I feel like it’s really important to make sure you just support local businesses because we work hard to give you beautiful stuff.”

According to a survey conducted by Morning Consult and Samsung Solve for Tomorrow, out of 1,000 members of Generation Z – young adults ages 16 through 25 – 50% wanted to ditch corporate jobs and run their own businesses.

Kim and Whittington are just one of many small business owners and entrepreneurs at Columbia.

“I’m just hoping to get back into networking again because it’s been a little bit and I’m kind of excited to be with my friend just networking and talking to people,” Whittington said. “We’re here to promote our business,” Kim said.

Tatianna Santiago, a senior marketing and communications double major, organized and planned The National Society of Leadership and Success’ student small business exposition at Columbia. Similar to Kim and Whittington, Santiago said supporting small businesses – especially among peers – is essential.

“Especially with the students on this campus, these are your peers,” Santiago said. “These are people that you have classes with or you’re in clubs with or you do networking events with, so it’s just helping out the next person.”

At Columbia specifically, there is not a School of Business, but the college’s Business & Entrepreneurship Department does offer undergraduate majors in arts management, design management, marketing and music business.

Quonyel Shelton, a junior film and television major, vlogged with a camera and tripods to showcase the art of social media influencing and content creation while simultaneously promoting her upcoming organization, Creators Set Trends. Launching next semester, this organization’s goal is to encourage collaboration and community.

“It’s just going to be based off influencers and promoting creators and just really building a community where everybody can create together and collab freely,” Shelton said. “Everyone has had to start from somewhere. It’s really important to just promote people and ride the journey with them.”

Nicki Oh, known on stage as Nicki Sage, sang at the event and networked with fellow peers in the process.

“I’m just really grateful to be here. I’m super excited to hear the other performers perform and to get to know more business owners,” Oh said. “We should be supporting each other.”

The Student Small Biz Expo was held at the Conway Center at the 1104 S. Wabash Ave. building on Monday, Dec. 4, and gave student entrepreneurs the opportunity to market their businesses and network with other business owners.

Members of NSLS were more than helpful when it came to greeting and directing students, aiding business owners with setting up their tables and encouraging attendees to mingle and network with one another.

Though this was the first small business expo hosted by the organization, it will not be the last.

“This is actually a precursor for us,” Santiago said. “We are testing the event in the waters to see if this is something that we can expand out in the spring, hopefully eventually turning into being able to sell physical stuff on campus at least once a semester.”

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