A Purpose-Filled Podcast
PROVO, Utah – Mar 26, 2021 – With a nationally ranked entrepreneurship program, the BYU Marriott School of Business is full of student entrepreneurs and innovators. However, many students outside of the entrepreneurship program remain unaware of one of BYU’s most valuable resources for aspiring entrepreneurs: the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology. In September 2020, New York City native Eddy Columna had an idea to start a podcast that could inform students about the resources of the Rollins Center.
The idea for the podcast came after Columna, a junior studying marketing, listened to NPR’s successful How I Built This podcast. “I thought to myself, ‘BYU has student entrepreneurs with cool success stories,’” he says. “I’ve been working for the Rollins Center for a few years now, and I wanted to create a podcast that could help share those stories and inspire students to start their own businesses by utilizing the Rollins Center.”
The podcast soon became a reality, thanks to the efforts of a dedicated student team. “None of us had ever made a podcast before, so we all did our share of research,” says Meeshell Helas, the marketing and public relations manager for the Rollins Center, who oversaw the podcast production team. “The way each team member took initiative was impressive. The students were also naturally talented at fulfilling their roles—we really did have the dream team.”
In addition to Columna and Helas, the podcast team included Spencer Crowley, a pre-communications sophomore from Morrisville, North Carolina; Olivia Hales, an illustration senior from Draper, Utah; and Noah Gull, a media arts studies sophomore from Falmouth, Maine. Each student played a unique role in making the podcast possible. “My job was helping clean up the raw audio,” says Gull. “The nature of my job requires me to listen to each interview multiple times, and I love hearing the stories of the student entrepreneurs.”
In his role as the podcast’s host, Columna enjoys listening to the stories of each entrepreneur and believes in the power of what they have to say. “Storytelling is compelling, and so is resonating with and seeing yourself in their stories,” he says.
Gull agrees that the podcast helps student entrepreneurs seem more relatable. “Starting a business feels intimidating for students at first, because they don't realize that resources out there, like the Rollins Center, can help them get started,” he says. “The podcast takes that scare factor away by showing that other students, who had no prior experience in starting businesses, found success.”
Helas has witnessed firsthand how the podcast furthers the goal of the Rollins Center to help these students find success. “The purpose of the Rollins Center is to inspire entrepreneurs of faith and character while giving them the tools they need to succeed,” she says. “The podcast encourages students to take advantage of the Rollins Center. Each of the stories shared on the podcast illustrate how the Rollins Center's resources assisted the student in their entrepreneurial journey. The episodes end with a call-to-action to see one of our advisors. Many students come into the Rollins Center after listening to the podcast.”
In addition to encouraging students to visit the Rollins Center, the podcast also prompts students to consider becoming entrepreneurs. “The number-one result of the podcast is people feeling inspired to start their own businesses,” says Columna. “I've had multiple students come up to me and say, ‘Hey, this certain episode was inspiring. Hearing about how easy it was for that student to start their own business surprised me.’”
The Student Entrepreneur Podcast only has a few episodes left before it wraps up, but all episodes will remain on streaming services to continue to inspire future students. “Being part of the podcast has been an incredible experience, and the podcast accomplished exactly what we hoped it would: giving students the hope and confidence they need to start their businesses,” says Columna. “Anyone can start their own business with the right resources, and the Rollins Center is a fantastic place to begin.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Sarah Calvert