The Magnetic Pull of Entrepreneurship
PROVO, Utah – Apr 05, 2021 – As a nine-year-old boy, Bryan Stringham started a yard work and lawn mowing business with one of his friends, charging $2.50 an hour. During seventh grade, he sold 1,700 gumballs to his peers at school, wanting a little extra pocket change. Years later, thanks to his experiences at the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at the BYU Marriott School of Business, Stringham’s passion for business has only grown, expanding far beyond lawns and gumballs.
Stringham, a fourth-year BYU mechanical engineering PhD student from Bear Lake, Utah, has wanted to be an entrepreneur for as long as he can remember. “When I was younger, I used to say that I wanted to become an inventor when I grew up,” he says. “My aspirations later changed to wanting to become an entrepreneur, because I realized that real inventors are entrepreneurs who bring new things to life. The ability to invent and create is one of my favorite aspects of being an entrepreneur.
“I’m passionate about creating something that didn't exist before,” he continues. “I want to invent something that makes the world a better place. Knowing that I can improve the world around me makes my efforts on the long and grueling days worth the reward.”
One resource that supports Stringham’s passion for impacting the world is BYU Marriott’s Rollins Center. “The knowledge and growth that I’ve received from the Rollins Center’s competitions, trainings, seminars, and classes is invaluable,” he says. “These resources prompt me to think about the many components required to start a successful business. Startups have a thousand different ways to fail. The Rollins Center helps me focus on the critical things I should do to achieve success.”
The Rollins Center’s Big Idea Pitch competition, in particular, gave Stringham the courage he needed to leave his comfort zone. “The Big Idea Pitch competition, which I entered in 2017, was a real game changer for me because participating in the competition helped me overcome my fear of pitching,” he says. “Going into the competition, I was nervous beyond all reason to present, but I knew that I had a good idea, so I forced myself to overcome that fear. I ended up placing fifth out of the 120 ideas that were submitted. Over the dozen or so much more important pitches that I've given since that competition, I've become completely comfortable doing product pitches. The Big Idea Pitch was the first hurdle that nudged me out of my comfort zone.”
In March 2020, Stringham was inspired to step out of his comfort zone once again and build his most recent invention: MagTrax. “I was looking for a way to entertain my son. He loves blocks and car tracks, but those create clutter and can take up floor space, and our apartment doesn’t have much room,” he says. “I looked online for some car race tracks you could put on the wall but didn't find any viable options.
“As I was thinking about my need for this product, I had an idea to create a modular marble track,” he continues. “I spent the next two hours writing down all of the ways that I could think of to make the track cool and fun to build.” MagTrax now has more than twenty-five different types of track elements to choose from and can be built on any wall in the house, thanks to metal wall plates and wall putty.
When it comes to the future of MagTrax, Stringham hopes that kids all around the globe can eventually play with the toy. “My focus in life is to create a positive impact in the world. My vision for MagTrax is to expand the product from the thousands of current customers it has reached to tens and even hundreds of thousands of people,” he says. “I want MagTrax to provide real value in people’s lives, whether that be by facilitating quality time for families or by helping kids develop curiosity and STEM-based skills.”
Stringham’s passion for nurturing curiosity stems from recognizing the many people who have supported his learning over the years. “I’ve been surrounded by people my entire life who have cheered me on and encouraged me to pursue my dreams, including my mentors at the Rollins Center,” he says. “I hope that, in all of my future ventures, I can help young people find that same success and that I can be a mentor like those who have mentored me.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Sarah Calvert