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Organizing the Entrepreneurial Garage

When he worked at an Italian restaurant while still in high school, Bryan Welton loved discovering ways to improve the flow of the company in every aspect, from the salad bar to the pizza-cooking process. Years later as a successful business owner and mentor for the Rollins Center of Entrepreneurship and Technology at the BYU Marriott School of Business, Welton continues to enjoy the process of improving—primarily through helping students improve their companies.

Bryan Welton
Bryan Welton. Photo courtesy of Bryan Welton.

Welton developed his passion for helping startups shortly after he graduated from BYU in 1999 with his degree in political science. While at BYU, Welton experimented with search engine optimization and building websites, relatively new fields at the time. The summer after his graduation, he started doing search engine work for local companies, including an engraving shop in Orem. He helped the company build its website, which drove traffic to the business. In the following year, Welton launched various online websites and e-commerce for other businesses, which led him to a career significantly involved with startup companies.

Now Welton works as the CEO of several companies that he started: Namify, a promotional product supplier; Axomo, a brand-engagement platform; White Fir Properties, a multimillion-dollar real estate portfolio; and Welton Capital, a company that provides angel investments to startups. Welton has always enjoyed the challenge of managing the components of a startup business.

“I like organizing chaos. When I think about entrepreneurship, I imagine going into somebody's garage where they've hoarded stuff for many years,” Welton says. “Most people would approach that situation and feel completely overwhelmed and not know where to start or what to do. To me, figuring out how to start organizing things and build a better solution is exhilarating—that’s the world of startup businesses.”

Welton invests in student startup businesses as a member of the Rollins Center Entrepreneur Founders Organization, which he joined in 2011. In addition, he contributes to the Rollins Center through guest lectures, where he speaks on a variety of different subjects. Most recently, he encouraged student entrepreneurs to build a founding team with members who can compensate for their weaknesses.

“I shared with the students that the key to entrepreneurship is recognizing both your own abilities and your lack of ability, or where you feel weak,” he says. “If you play to your strengths and work with team members who complement you, you will find success. My advice is to identify what characteristics you want in other founders of your company and then set out to build your team.”

Welton’s speaking opportunities connect him with students, and he also feels grateful for the connections he has forged to other Founders Organization members through the Rollins Center. “One of the coolest parts of the Rollins Center for me and my wife, Jenny, is meeting like-minded individuals who are a few years ahead of us in life. Other Founders give us advice and travel with us,” he says. “Through these incredible people, we’ve discovered numerous humanitarian opportunities, including an annual trip to Peru, where I served my mission. We go there to speak with Peruvian entrepreneurs and try to help them with their business ideas.”

Bryan Welton speaking to students
Welton enjoys speaking with student entrepreneurs as a mentor of the Rollins Center. Photo courtesy of Bryan Welton.

In addition to being a guest lecturer, Welton occasionally helps judge at Rollins Center competitions. However, the activity he enjoys the most is one-on-one mentorship. As a mentor, he guides students through the process of building their businesses. “I like asking the student founders of startup companies questions, sharing my knowledge, and bringing the students resources that they need to feel empowered to make the right decisions for their startup,” he says.

“I love that no matter the business problem, any student from any discipline on campus can walk into the Rollins Center and can say, ‘I need help with X, Y or Z,’ and the Rollins Center will find the resources to help them,” Welton continues. “I’m grateful for the students who do take advantage of the Rollins Center and the students that I’ve mentored, because I love seeing their passion and excitement for their businesses.”

Bryan Welton and his family
Bryan Welton and his family reside in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Photo courtesy of Bryan Welton.

Outside of work, Welton loves spending time with Jenny and their six children in Lake Oswego, Oregon, where they currently reside. “We enjoy living here. I’ve served with the youth in our stake for seven years now, and I love when kids leave our stake to attend BYU and then reconnect with me through the Rollins Center,” he says. “After watching these kids grow up, I always look forward to helping them accomplish incredible things with their businesses.”

Writer: Sarah Calvert