Inc.Com's College Start-ups: Getting Your Asian American Business On

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Recession? What recession? Don't talk to me about a recession - or at least that you can't be in college, Asian American, and striking out on your own. Check out three Asian Americans who are being featured out on Inc.Com's Cool College Start-ups (go here for the full text on each one and then also vote for them too).

Danny Klam (Simply Splendid Donuts, University of Houston)

Some college students schedule classes so they can sleep in as late as possible, but not Danny Klam. The University of Houston senior, who is double-majoring in entrepreneurship and marketing, often begins his day at 3 a.m., opening one of the three Simply Splendid Donuts and Ice Cream stores he owns The chain employs a staff of 12. Last year, it grossed $750,000 and, this year, revenue is on track to top $1.2 million. "The hours are crazy," Klam says. "You just have to make time and get your priorities straight."
Jessica Mah (InternshipIN, University of California, Berkeley)

At the tender age of 14, Jessica Mah sold her first company, which rented server space to small businesses, at a marginal profit. She then set up and began to blog about business and technology from a young person's perspective. Last fall, Mah, now a Berkeley junior, came up with the idea for a new venture, which she began to chronicle on the site. "All of us were looking for internships, and I had no clue where to start," Mah says. "This is how business ideas begin: You want to do something, and you run into problems." Equal parts Craigslist and Mediabistro, the new site, InternshipIN, helps students identify high-quality internships—i.e., internships that do not involve "getting coffee and making copies," Mah says. Much of the initial traffic has come through a partnership with SimplyHired, a job search engine.
Brian Laoruangroch (Green Mobile, University of Missouri)

Brian Laoruangroch's eBay hobby has grown into a business with $500,000 a year in revenue. Starting in 2004, the University of Missouri student realized he could buy old mobile phones and resell them for a profit. He built his own website to market refurbished phones and then opened a kiosk in a local mall. Last summer, Laoruangroch decided the business, Green Mobile, was large enough to support a retail storefront. He borrowed money from his parents and then landed a $50,000 bank loan backed by the Small Business Administration.