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Start-up career fair aims to connect students with small businesses

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Members of the OSU Business Builders Club listen to a lecture on Jan. 21 at the Ohio Union. Many club events are in casual attire, while events such as the club's career fair on Feb. 3 require a business professional dress code.  Credit: Courtesy of Sydney Sundell

Members of the OSU Business Builders Club listen to a lecture on Jan. 21 at the Ohio Union. Many club events are in casual attire, while events such as the club’s career fair on Feb. 3 require a business professional dress code. Credit: Courtesy of Sydney Sundell

An upcoming career fair aims to introduce students to small businesses, startups and community businesses.

Ohio State’s Business Builders Club, a student-run organization that seeks to promote entrepreneurship by collaborating with local and global organizations, is set to host its third small business and start-up fair Tuesday from 1-5 p.m. in the Cartoon Room of the Ohio Union.

Like other fairs, students will be able to meet directly with recruiters from several companies, including venture capital fund Drive Capital, Juiceboxx — which is run by OSU students, former students and graduates and makes cases for MacBook chargers — and Columbus-based North Market vendor Hot Chicken Takeover. The intimacy of the event, though, allows students to also have the chance to meet with company owners and presidents, said Theo Fields, the event chair for the career fair and a fourth-year in finance.

Fields said he wanted to organize this event because he has had experience  working at Medical Staffing Options, a local business that recruits for traveling nurses and permanent placement career options for healthcare professionals. Fields said the company only had 16 employees while he was working there.

“I worked for two years at a small business here in Columbus. I got to do a lot and learn a lot really quickly,” he said. “I was meeting with the president (of the company) and was able to shape where the small business went. I wanted to give other students the chance to develop their own skills.”

There will be at least 24 companies in attendance at the fair, including Juiceboxx, which was started at OSU.

“It all started at the Business Builder’s Club’s … Fall Idea Pitch, where we won first place after presenting a rough concept of the pain, problem and solution,” Lucas Williamson, one of Juiceboxx’s founding members, said in an email.

Williamson and the other founding members of Juiceboxx created a case for MacBook chargers that prevented the cord from fraying. They entered their design in the 2014 OSU Business Plan Competition and won first place and $5,000 in the undergraduate track.

Williamson gave some advice about how to prepare for the fair.

“Students should do their homework on the companies attending and learn about what they do so you can spend more time learning about how you would fit in,” he said.

As an entrepreneur, Williamson said he thinks getting students better connected with local businesses will help them develop skills that can be applied to other jobs.

“This is the only career fair at OSU that connects students with local start-up companies,” he said. “Start-ups, by nature, promote resourcefulness and creativity to solve problems, both of which are highly valued at all companies, big or small.”

A complete list of companies attending is available on the OSU Business Builders Club website.

Fields said he thinks the fair will help OSU students become better acquainted with the employment opportunities available in Columbus.

“It’s a great way to get connected in the community and also hopefully get a better experience working where you might not have otherwise,” he said.

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