Room service

Alumni Memorial Residence

Image caption: Alumni Memorial Residence

Credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University

San Diego native Ian Han recalls arriving at Homewood two years ago and having to run all over with his parents searching for items he couldn't bring on the plane. "I love my parents, don't get me wrong," Han says, "but spending two days with them trying to scramble to get all this stuff—everything from laundry detergent to printers and pillows—was crazy."

So Han and Chris Alvarez, both Class of 2014, created The Complete Dorm Room, a Web-based business offering one-stop shopping for the necessities of dorm living. They got startup funds from Hopkins Student Enterprises (HSE), a program created by the Center for Leadership Education to support undergraduate entrepreneurs. (HSE maintains a venture capital fund that provides seed money.) They asked dorm residents what they wished they had when they moved in, then contacted suppliers and set up a website. Then they partnered with the Admissions and Registrar's offices to connect with incoming freshmen. Finally, during Move-In days, student employees delivered purchases as freshmen checked into their rooms.

This first year, The Complete Dorm Room has already made back HSE's initial investment and turned a profit, and Han says they plan to expand the business. "We want to be more of a delivery service throughout the [academic] year," Han says. "So for Valentine's Day you can order a rose for someone special. Your parents can order you a cake on your birthday."

This is Han and Alvarez's second business launched through HSE. As freshmen they started The Blue Jay Cleaners, employing students to clean on- and off-campus apartment complexes.

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