A student business fostered by Grove City College has developed a free app that allows parents to manage and incentivize Santa-crazed kids at Christmas time while directing donors to a local children’s charity.
”Santa’s App,” the creation of Garrett Jacobs ’20 of Bedford, Pa., and Randall LaBrie ’20 of McKees Rocks, Pa., allows kids to develop wish lists and communicate with Santa Claus – really mom and dad – while accomplishing behavioral goals and chores set by Santa.
“Our app is designed to help parents create a memorable holiday experience in an easy and stress-free way. Utilizing Santa’s App will allow families to focus on what matters most to them,” Jacobs said.
An in-app charity feature reinforces the importance of giving and highlights the Children’s Aid Society of Mercer County. Another allows parents to shop online from their children’s wish lists.
Their idea was accepted last year by Grove City College’s Center for Entrepreneurship + Innovation (E+ I) as a VentureLab project. VentureLab helps the Grove City College campus community explore and develop new ventures based on their own original concepts. It serves as a valuable starting point for innovation and enables aspiring innovators to gauge the feasibility of their ideas.
“It has been a true joy to support Garrett and Randall throughout their entrepreneurial journey. They have taken advantage of many of the opportunities offered to students by the Center for Entrepreneurship + Innovation and, as a result, have created and a launched a product rooted in joy that will help children in our local community as well. I couldn’t be prouder of this team and their mission,” Yvonne English ’97, executive director of the Center, said.
Through VentureLab, the Santa’s App team was eligible for a host of assistance, such as professional mentors, one-on-one consultation with guest speakers, and even some micro financing for startup expenses. In May, the team performed well at the annual Wolverine Venture Battle competition, garnering the investment of several thousand dollars by alumni judges, which made it possible to have the app up and running and available via Apple and Google Play stores in time for this year’s Christmas season.
Jacobs, a Marketing major, and LaBrie, a Finance major, have known each other since freshman year and regularly brainstorm potential business ideas. “We throw ideas around all the time,” LaBrie said. When they came up with Santa’s App, the reaction, he said, was “Hey man, I think we could do this.”
They are grateful for the support and resources provided to them from the nationally-recognized Center for E+I. “We haven’t just gotten an academic experience. We have been provided with the resources to launch a business while still students. The support we receive from this program continues to amaze us,” Jacobs said.
For more about The Center for E+I at Grove City College, visit gccentrepreneurship.com.