Every business starts with a great idea, but connecting and networking with the entrepreneurial community is what gets it off the ground. That’s what Julien Meyer, ’14 hopes students will take away from the Rosen College Entrepreneurship Competition, an idea he originally brought to the college that officially launches in January. Meyer studied hospitality and event management at UCF while running his own startup company, but since graduation, his newest venture has really picked up speed.
Meyer is currently CEO of BlurtBox, a mobile app that helps customers voice their complaints about a business and allows owners and managers to address customers in real time. While the technology sector may seem crowded, BlurtBox has already racked up a list of impressive achievements, surpassing 10,000 downloads in the Google Play and Apple App stores since its August 25 launch, raising $125,000 in funding and averaging over 200 new business customers weekly. Meyer and Blurtbox show no signs of slowing down as they seek a second round of financial support to hire employees and grow the company.
At the age of 23, Meyer clearly has a lot on his plate, but he finds time to pursue another passion besides his business – helping others realize their entrepreneurial dreams, too. As a recent graduate, he’s now a member of Rosen College’s Hospitality Management Industry Advisory Board, which is how he initially introduced the idea of an entrepreneurship competition. His experience at UCF inspired him to become an entrepreneur, which is why he believes it’s important to expose students to all the resources the university community has to offer.
“UCF provided me with a network of friends, alumni, professors and mentors who made my ventures possible,” said Meyer. “Entrepreneurship is a very scary and lonely path to take and I believe it is only made possible when you are surrounded by people and institutions that support you. UCF gave me that ecosystem and those people.”
The Rosen College Entrepreneurship Competition will be an opportunity for students to take an idea for a hospitality-related product or service and develop a plan to bring it to market. Students may enter as individuals or teams and at least one person must be currently enrolled at Rosen College. Participants will compete for cash prizes that can assist with startup costs and help make their dreams a reality.
“Competitions like this allow students to use the creative side of their brains and do something which is seemingly impossible – turn an idea into a business,” said Meyer. “My hope is that students will gain both insight and connections into the world of entrepreneurship and learn more about the ecosystem that exists for entrepreneurship here in Orlando. Win or lose, these competitions open incredible doors and make building a business 100 times easier.”
Full details about the Rosen College Entrepreneurship Competition will be announced in early January.
Learn more about hospitality management education at Rosen College.