TAMPA, FL (WFLA) — When asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?,” more young people are answering, “An entrepreneur!” According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, in 2015 an entrepreneurship degree was the highest paying business degree.
Most colleges and universities in Florida and across the country now offer entrepreneurship degrees, and as of this year, Tampa is the global headquarters of the National Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization (C.E.O.).
C.E.O. is now based out of the John P. Lowth Entrepreneurship Center at the University of Tampa. The university provides space and assistance to the center, but is not affiliated with C.E.O. Any entrepreneur can use the space, free of charge.
The new company, Simo Juice, operates out of the Lowth Entrepreneurship Center. It was started nine months ago by Mohamed Guennouni, Hitch Belkhayat and Hasan Alkhoor. Guennouni and Alkhoor are graduates of UT, and Hitch is a student. Simo Juice hopes to tap in to the growing market for organic, clean eating, by offering cold-press juices that target specific body functions. It’s founders work together on research-and-development, advertising, marketing, and production.
“We’re putting in 60 to 70-hour work weeks on Simo Juice,” says Mohamed.
Adds Alkhoor, “We typically start at 8 a.m. by collaborating about what we need to get done, what we’ve gotten done.”
Simo Juice represents the future of America’s workforce, says Giles Hertz, newly appointed head of C.E.O.
“The old adage that working for a company, cradle to grave, and having a nice pension and retiring from that company is outdated and not around anymore,” he says.
Today’s Entrepreneurship students learn finance and marketing targeted to self-employment. They’re also learning to write business plans, practicing pitches, and securing financial backing. And, they are taught that starting your own business isn’t easy.
“When you actually sit down and do it yourself, and have to do everything yourself, you see that it’s very different,” Mohamed.
Hertz says young entrepreneurs are committed to controlling their destiny, rather than have it in someone else’s hands.
“When you work for yourself, you’re more passionate about what you do,” says Hitch.
Simo Juice in limited production right now – with hopes of launching full-scale in 2017.
October 27-29, Entrepreneurship students will have the opportunity to pitch their companies to a panel of professionals, during the C.E.O. national conference in Tampa. The conference will also feature local developer Jeff Vinik, as well as the founders of Chuck E. Cheese and Redbox.