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When I came to Perkiomen, I wanted to capitalize on the opportunities unique to this institution. There were many to choose from, but my interests lied in business, which made the Entrepreneur Institute feel like home. This institute within the school was one of the biggest things I took away when I first toured Perkiomen, and that paired with the short amount of time I would have at Perkiomen gave me motivation to hit the ground running in the fall of my senior year.
I enrolled in the Entrepreneur Institute’s flagship course, Foundations of Entrepreneurship. Students taking this class were encouraged to either start their own business or help develop an existing local business. Throughout the year, we were guided, mentored, and introduced to groundbreaking concepts and technology to give us a solid platform required to successfully pursue our respective ventures. One concept that was frequently reinforced was to learn by doing – which is a translation of Perkiomen’s motto, Solvitur Vivendo. In order to take our project to the next step, action, regardless of how big or small, must be taken. I kept this philosophy with me throughout the year.
This philosophy was fundamental when choosing my business. I pursued several ideas, often spending a few weeks on each one, just to reach a dead end and have to think of something else. One in particular was a chewing gum brand called Histagum. The idea was to deliver medication (specifically antihistamines) and other vitamins through a piece of chewing gum. After spending weeks of research on this project, my Foundations of Entrepreneurship teacher, Mr. Yorgey, suggested I make sure there wasn’t any patents for a similar product. Sure enough, there was, which meant I could no longer proceed with the idea unless drastic changes were made to my product.
From that moment on, the first thing I did before proceeding with any business venture was to check for patents, or any other precluding legal matters. This was one of many valuable lessons I learned which can be directly accredited to the philosophy of “learning by doing.”
The idea I moved forward with was NoXiety, a business specializing in anxiety-relieving CBD products. Some of the reasons for choosing a CBD brand was its trending status, its relatively small size which made it easy to ship, a growing demand with a loyal following, and most importantly it was a consumable project, which meant recurring sales. Working with CBD was a unique experience and I needed to be sure the product I was selling was legal, organic, lab tested, and most importantly, contained only CBD.
I spent the most time working on NoXiety, so naturally, there were many lessons I learned from this project. One big lesson I learned is to have an idea of what you want to get out of a conversation before it even starts. In order to secure a manufacturer that fit my requirements, I had to make dozens of phone calls and negotiate prices, minimum order quantity, and shipping methods. After the fifth or sixth call, I realized that every person I negotiated with, had valuable intelligence and knowledge of the CBD industry that I would be hard pressed to find elsewhere. From that moment on, I began to use the phone calls differently. I asked manufacturers for success stories of any dropshippers whom they had worked with, and any general advice that they were willing and able to share. I was surprised to find that they were usually very willing to help.
Another great learning experience was the Perkiomen School Pitch Competition. It is events such as the Pitch Competition that set Perkiomen apart from other schools. Not many high school students can say they pitched their own business to a boardroom full of successful businessmen and businesswomen. While winning investment capital for my business was an amazing feeling, the experience, connections, and advice I gained from this competition hold much more value.
Going from one school that prohibited students from selling goods for profit, to a school that fosters and encourages entrepreneurship has not only changed my outlook on education but motivated me to take advantage of the resources Perkiomen has to offer before my time here as a student came to an end. I am proud to have been a part of this growing and progressive institution, and I look forward to returning to Perkiomen in the near future.
By Drew Steinmetz '19
A day student from Gilbertsville, Pa., Drew Steinmetz is a member of the Class of 2019 and will continue his education at Villanova University. Achieving Entrepreneurial Distinction, Drew also made his mark on Perkiomen as a member of the golf team, earning the award for the low average for the season in league play.
Throughout the year, we were guided, mentored, and introduced to groundbreaking concepts and technology to give us a solid platform required to successfully pursue our respective ventures. One concept that was frequently reinforced was to learn by doing – which is the translation of Perkiomen’s motto, Solvitur Vivendo. Drew Steinmetz ‘19