With the help of some friends from Minot State University, Wooster’s Jonathan Allotey ’15, recently founded www.collegeitem.com, a website where students can buy and sell various items such as textbooks from students at the College of Wooster. CollegeItem was, like most businesses, created as a solution to a problem.
“I’m from Ghana,” Allotey said, “Like many international students, I accumulate a lot of stuff at college. So when it was time to go back, I didn’t know what to do with my unwanted things. I soon realized that many people were in the same situation as I was and needed a platform to get rid of their things. I had an ‘aha!’ moment and decided to create a website to fix that problem.”
Although it was a fast transition from Wooster student to entrepreneur, it was not an easy one. Allotey was building the website within 24 hours of the original idea, “I researched how to make a website and then I … started building. It took a lot of time, a lot of heart and I made a lot of mistakes. I was just experimenting. Typically, I didn’t sleep until 4 a.m.”
Today, his efforts have paid off as CollegeItem is up and running. Most importantly, Allotey sees his website as a marketplace for students. “You want to be able to know who you are buying from. You can check the username, who is selling what and where you can find them before you proceed to make your purchase.”
This marketplace is easily accessible and navigable. Right now, CollegeItem is exclusive to Wooster, so any COW student can buy and sell from the website and pay securely through PayPal. Registration is easy and online. Allotey hopes to make it Facebook friendly because it is easier and faster. “I’m hoping every Wooster student will be on the site one day, and my dream is that when people finish a class they’ll take their textbook and sell it through the website to a student who needs it.”
If there’s anything this young entrepreneur wants us to know about him and his website, it’s this: “I don’t like to be part of a status quo. I’m a biochemistry major, and I’m always wondering how to be different in my field of study. I’m not your typical nerdy computer guy, so I’m surprised I’m doing this, but I’m doing it because it can solve a problem. I like to be valuable to my community.” In response to his favorite Steve Jobs quote, Allotey adds, “I’m one of those crazy people who believes he can change the world.”