The Shoemaker Scholars program brings together 10 Indiana University Bloomington students from a variety of academic disciplines. They encourage other students to explore their own entrepreneurial and innovative interests, and they oversee the StartupIU website that connects students with university-based startups. John and Donna Shoemaker funded the program, which awards annual scholarships to its members. Travis J. Brown launched and directs the program.
Stephen J. Conway, a junior from St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, majors in informatics with a business cognate in the School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering and in human resource management in the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. This will be his first semester as a Shoemaker scholar. Stephen was kind enough to answer questions for the Crimson Catalyst.
Crimson Catalyst: How did you learn about the Shoemaker Scholars program?
Stephen J. Conway: I learned about the Shoemaker program though another entrepreneurial club at IU; the Ideation and Creation Entrepreneurs Club.
CC: What impact do Shoemaker scholars have?
SJC: The program provides students with the opportunity to grow and utilize the entrepreneurial mindset needed to start and succeed in their business venture. This happens either through the events hosted by our organization or interactions with successful entrepreneurs, either directly or though reading about their successful practices in our newsletter.
CC: What is a common misconception students have about entrepreneurship and innovation?
SJC: They believe they need large amounts of capital to start their own venture. I believe that is not necessarily the case. If students bootstrap their idea and commit to it, they would be able to create an effective shell, or prototype, that would appeal to a niche audience. As the business develops, the entrepreneur would be able to build upon it and create a more cohesive product with the newly gained resources.
CC: How do you share insights with others, as an ambassador?
SJC: By participating in other entrepreneurs’ projects, either by consulting with the entrepreneurs — such as in the ICE club I mentioned or CEO at IU — or directly working with them.
CC: What are your own entrepreneurial endeavors?
SJC: I intend to launch my startup sometime over the second half of 2020, as I am currently developing basic code and infrastructure to support the product. Recently, I have been employed as an IT and marketing intern at The Canopy apartment complex in Bloomington. The goal is to develop the world’s first self-sustaining, eco-friendly apartment complex, and to demonstrate to the rest of the world that being eco-friendly can be profitable.
CC: What do you enjoy most about being a Shoemaker scholar?
SJC: I enjoy interacting with entrepreneurs who have attended or are attending IU, and gaining personal insight into successful practices of starting your business and maintaining its ongoing success.
More information about the Shoemaker Scholars program is available at the following websites: