In the News: Schulze Scholar Reaches $1M in Sales With Sustainability-Focused Business

Danielle Campeau, associate dean at the University of St. Thomas Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, and John Costello, a Schulze Innovation Scholar at St. Thomas, recently spoke with the Star Tribune about Costello’s business venture, which he started in high school.

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From the story:

By his senior year of high school, Costello was running West Metro Solutions, a company that refurbishes discarded office cubicles and resells them to other businesses.

Now a junior at the University of St. Thomas, Costello has balanced being a full-time student and his company, which has generated more than $1 million in sales so far...

Costello, who recently turned 20 and is a Schulze Innovation Scholars fellow at St. Thomas, will graduate in May with a double major in entrepreneurship and finance.

Funded by Best Buy founder Richard Schulze’s family foundation, the five-year-old scholars program provides full tuition to 10 students each school year.

Students selected for the program participate in extra programs including exclusive sessions with alumni and serial entrepreneurs on topics from venture capital and business funding to mergers and acquisitions and also receive coaching.

“What I think is great about John’s business model is that it aligns so well with the mission of the University at St. Thomas, which is to advance the common good and to think about how are we leveraging entrepreneurship and business to do good in society,” said Danielle Campeau, associate dean of the school’s Schulze School of Entrepreneurship. “John’s business model is an exact example of that, looking at environmental sustainability and overfills of our landfills and how much damage we’re doing to our environment.”

While entrepreneurship programs are not new, expanding opportunities to help solve companies’ problems and mentorship are expanding, she said. Students in the scholar program next spring will work with underserved entrepreneurs in the Twin Cities who have business ideas, but need help moving them forward.

Costello plans to run West Metro Solutions full time when he graduates. He switched one of his majors from accounting to finance to understand how to raise capital from investors.