Student-owned businesses on the rise for Gen Zers at Morgan State

Small businesses are growing among the Gen Z and millennial generations.


Spokesman Staff

Look out for the rise in student businesses on Morgan State University’s campus and across Generation Z. Khari’s Lash Lounge, MainCeramics, KiyahKotureNails, and Outskirtts are all student-owned businesses at Morgan.

Amere Dorsey, Staff Writer

Many young entrepreneurs or small business owners are going to school and pursuing a degree while also running a business on the side.
A lot of these small businesses start from passions, desires and college students needing extra money while in school.
According to Forbes, the number of business applications reached its all-time high of 551,657 00 in July 2020. The applications increased by 95 percent compared to the same period in 2019.
The current era of college students, Generation Z, are making a name for themselves as the most entrepreneurial generation ever, including college students at Morgan State University.
62 percent of Gen Z has indicated they have started, or intend to start, their own business, according to Business Wire.
Omar Muhammed, director for the Entrepreneurial Development and Assistant Center at Morgan, believes entrepreneurship is in a sense like an internship in a sense..
“I started a business when I was here at Morgan. It was about creativity. A lot of students want to start a business because they see celebrity shows about entrepreneurship and see it as an opportunity to be a boss.” Muhammed said.
“Entrepreneurship is becoming something to do, they are influenced by seeing other people with businesses,” Muhammed said.
Next semester, Muhammed will start an initiative to help students take their businesses to the next step, starting with legal entities.
When speaking about the best advice to give student business owners, Muhammed said, “Take advantage of making your company into a legal entity. Individuals should utilize resources at the campus for student-based entrepreneurs and find a mentor in your industry.”
Some Morgan students started their businesses as a plan for what they would like to do when they graduate.
Chukwuemeka Lyke-Azubogu, a senior fine arts major with a focus on ceramics, started his own art business called “Main Ceramics.” Once he is done with school, he wants to focus on his business and expand further.
“I would love to eventually rent out my own workspace and studio to create. But, I also understand that I must build up my brand,” Lyke-Azubogu said.
Student business owners have a lot on their plates with juggling classes and focusing on their business. In order for their businesses to thrive, they have to learn how to prioritize school and work.
Khari Coates, a senior hospitality management major and owner of Khari’s Lash Lounge, designates days of the week strictly for her business and classwork.
“I make sure that I have selected days out of my week that I take off all my school work and then the remaining days I leave open to take care of my business” Coates said.
Her inspiration to start a business came from other Morgan students in her age group that saw success in their businesses.
“I started my business because I was inspired by other students at Morgan who started their own business over the quarantine and are now flourishing with it. This motivated me to start investing in my potential as a lash tech,” Coates said.
The number of student businesses increased at the beginning of the pandemic as students had more free time than before. During the beginning of the pandemic, many students had a lot of free time on their hands and put this time to good use by starting up a business.
Zakiyah Hoes, a senior social work major, turned her hobby into a career with her business called “KiyahKotureNails.”
“I do want to pursue a social work career, I made a decision not to go to graduate school right away. I’ve decided to take a year off and dedicate my time to my business… Other than social work, nails are also something that I am passionate about, and believe that attending nail school could potentially take my business further,” Hoes said.
The love for nails and creating art inspired Hoes to start a business.
“I’ve always been a creative person and was always into art. I enjoyed creating different types of art whether it was drawing, painting, coloring etc… I loved the idea of having nails on, getting my nails done, and the many different designs someone could get on their nails so I decided to invest in it and see where it takes me,” Hoes said.
Jeremey Jean-Baptize, a sophomore strategic communication major and Jordan Granville, sophomore multimedia journalism major, created the clothing brand “Outskirtts” before coming to college. Although they were young, they did not take their age as a limitation in creating their business.
“We never looked at our age as something that could hold us back in the fashion industry. We are a part of the most entrepreneurial generation ever. 62 percent of Gen Zers have or intend to start a business. We have the passion to run a business and a clothing brand, and we just felt like it was the right time to start.” Jean- Baptize said.
Look out for the rise in student businesses on campus and across Generation Z.