A Craving for Entrepreneurship
Carson Sweezy, Senior from Centreville, Va.
Initially pitched as a “Sales Degree”, Carson self-designed his own major that studies how human communication is effected by various media. His self-designed study: “The Cross Disciplinary Studies of Media Communications Theory and Practices”, was inspired by several courses in his Liberal Arts studies.
“Coming to W&M as a transfer from the D.C. area, I was eager to get involved in the Entrepreneurship scene. When I found the ECenter, I felt a place to belong to. Somewhere I could hang my coat at where interesting conversation and amazing, likeminded people were always nearby.
When the College shutdown The Crust and Pita Pit, students were angry. Feeling their emotions, we immediately put out a survey to figure out a solution to the madness. Crave was born as the student’s answer.
Crave is a student run organization, reshaping food ecosystems on college campuses. Started at William & Mary. Our MVP (minimum viable product) is peer-to-peer food delivery, by students for students.
Our unique value proposition: Since our Delivery Heroes are peers, they understand our customer base better than anyone else, and have unique access to campus buildings and dorms!”
Crave started off strong, “Our MVP was a huge success. We delivered over 200 meals in the first 8 weeks alone, selling over $3,000 worth of food. The customer validation was instantaneous.” And along the way Carson and, eventually, his team experienced the hardships of startup life. Early on, demand was manageable enough for Carson to serve alone: “When word spread that Crave was delivering yummy food, we needed to bring on new Delivery Heroes (drivers). That was a bit of setback, because it wasn’t our focus. Now that we’ve made finding Delivery Heroes a priority we’ve found that so many students on campus are interested in helping us solve this problem!”
On his journey: “I’ve been obsessed with food my entire life. I started cooking when I was four, and its been an essential part of my life ever since. I’ve worked on farms, in restaurants, and at markets, but this is my first entrepreneurial venture related to food. In that regard, its amazing. For me, food goes beyond a meal. It’s sharing connection, its humanity at its finest. Sharing a meal, is sharing a lifeline. Something essential to our being, that brings us so close together no matter what our background.
On campus, Crave is a huge connector. Beyond what we do everyday, it gives us a platform to host events like ‘Showing Up Naked’, bringing the community closer together.
I’ve realized how beneficial a college environment is for entrepreneurs. There are so many factors that make it ideal:
• Foremost, the students. Students are curious, empathetic, and eager to get involved. Students love novelty! They’re still flexible as consumers, many habits and traits haven’t been set yet. So, unburdened by old solutions, they adopt new products that make sense!
• The culture of a college campus is ripe for start-up solutions.
• Your geographic proximity: When else do so many people with the same problems, same jobs, same age, same knowledge of the world, similar interests and backgrounds, and a common link live so closely together?
• Low risk: The risk of failure is about as low as anyone could ask for. This is the time to experiment the most. This is the time when students should be experimenting in something they love or are curious about, with no fear of failing.”
The EC wants to extend a huge thank you to Carson for sharing his journey, his passion and his inspiration. Best of luck to Crave, and Carson, in the future!