Set to graduate from Brigham Young University in April, Spencer Quinn is almost finished with the really challenging part of growing his young company, FiberFix: Up to this point, he’s been running the business while also handling a full slate of college classes.
The 25-year-old has hit it big over the last year, winning an investment on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank and selling the line of super-adhesive tape he created. FiberFix is now available in more than 6,000 retail locations across the United States.
While many college students spend much of their spare time sleeping in or playing beer pong, Quinn and others like him show that the spirit of entrepreneurship isn’t exclusive to people already in the work force. Each year the passion and business acumen of young people are honored at the Global Student Entrepreneurship Awards (GSEA) in Washington, D.C.
Quinn took home the most recent overall award, which included $150,000 in cash and business prizes, but says the boost of competition was a reward in and of itself. “That was really humbling… to see just how dedicated a lots of the students were,” Quinn says. “Honestly, there was a side of me thinking about how interesting it would be if we all put our own businesses aside and worked together—how many ideas would result? It was a really neat experience. I got to meet people from all over the world.”
Meet some of the other standouts from GSEA:
First Runner-Up: Daniel Fine
Company: Glass-U, maker of custom folding sunglasses offering licenses to universities nationwide
Second Runner-Up: Jordi Munoz
Company: 3D Robotics, a designer and manufacturer of aerial vehicles; “Regular [people] have the perception of drones as weapons. We are trying to change that slowly, because there is also a commercial use. You can do whatever is in your imagination.”
Social Impact Award: Joljit Tamanha
Company: Farmplicity, “an online marketplace where farmers sell their products directly to chefs… within 150 miles of their restaurant. Our goal is to make it really easy to order locally.”
Lessons from the Edge Award: Natalia Maczek
Company: MISBHV, a premium streetwear clothing brand
GSEA High School Winner: Megan Holstein
Company: Pufferfish Software, creating apps for autistic children. “People I talk to all the time say they could never start a company like I have because they’re not intelligent enough, they’re not lucky enough, they don’t have a family that will support them. But these are all things you can overcome. All you have to do is be stubborn and get started.”
International Finance Corporation Award: Sofia de Huguet
Company: April Store, a fashion retailer helping young women in need.