DUDLEY, MASS. (04/25/2019) One thing's for sure: If you want to be a business leader, you've got to first become a Bison.
Jared Williamson is one of many entrepreneurial students at Nichols College taking what they learn in the classroom and applying it to build a business and a brand for über success.
When the Falmouth, Mass., native embarked on his business education journey at Nichols College in August 2017, Williamson knew he would thrive on The Hill. The eager 19-year-old sophomore has become driven to find success within the College's culture of entrepreneurship and leadership.
The summer after his first year at Nichols, Williamson was thinking about how soon fall would come. He was excited to return to Center Road, because he would finally have a vehicle (a five-passenger GMC Sierra 1500) on campus for his sophomore year.
In pondering his future, Williamson knew he wanted to someday be his own boss, and getting a business education at Nichols College would be an excellent place to start.
"Nichols classes in marketing, management, business law, and financial accounting have helped me form an understanding of how I could create a successful business," he said. "After learning from my professors and doing my own research outside of class, I felt comfortable to start my own business."
With car in hand, business and marketing principles in his head, and a passion for driving in his heart, Williamson thought more about how to combine his interests into a business. He also thought about how Nichols is located in the small town of Dudley; car-less students often want to venture off campus to check out restaurants, shopping, and the latest Hollywood blockbuster.
But, without a car, how do they get there from here? And, most importantly, safely?
Enter Mobile Whip.
Seeing a transportation problem for many of his peers, Williamson launched Mobile Whip in January to provide only Nichols students with a reliable service that is affordable, safe, and easy to use. All the student has to do is log onto https://mobilewhip.comto reserve a ride. A Nichols student-contracted with Mobile Whip and whose vehicle is insured-picks up the customer and brings them to wherever they want to go within a 20-mile radius and then back to campus. The pricing for one-way and round-trip transportation can be found on the service's website.
"I thought creating a business that would let me be my own boss, drive my car, and help Nichols students safely get to where they want to go would work for me," said the criminal justice major. "Mobile Whip is the company that wants its friends to be safe."
Incidentally, where does the name come from?
"Mobile, as in a phone, and 'whip' is slang for 'car,'" explained Williamson.
In his first month of operation, Williamson had over 100 student customers. And due to the success of Mobile Whip, he launched this spring Mobile Eats, a food delivery service.
Mobile Whip's hours of operation are: Thursday 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Friday 6 p.m. to 3 a.m.; and Saturday noon to 3 a.m. Mobile Eats' hours of operation are: Sunday through Wednesday, 4 p.m. to midnight; Thursday 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.; and Friday and Saturday 4 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Mobile Whip has a range of up to 20 miles. Restaurants, bars, and clubs in Worcester, which is about 20 miles away from campus, have been the farthest rides for Williamson and his drivers. Mobile Eats has a five-mile radius, and the delivery fee is $5.
"The closest location I have driven someone to is Family Dollar, just a mile down the road," he said.
Approximately 850 students live on campus, and not all have a car. One Mobile Whip customer, junior Lyanna Rose, Student Government Association vice president for the Class of 2020, frequently uses the service.
"Mobile Whip is such an awesome service, because it's students helping students," said the criminal justice major from Lincoln, R.I. "Due to the fact that Nichols College is such a small community, it's nice to see a familiar face pick you up from your location as opposed to a stranger. It's also always affordable and reliable."
Rose said she and her friends use Mobile Whip once a week.
"Mobile Whip has brought my friends and me to and from local restaurants," she said. "Aside from that, SGA is planning for Mobile Whip to help us with our upcoming end-of-semester events to pick up our food."
Professor Luanne Westerling, Nichols College's associate dean for business, said that Williamson is just one example of a Bison building a brand.
"Nichols students learn the ins and outs of starting their own small business," she said. "We feel that Nichols College's focus on leadership, entrepreneurship, and business essentials is helping our students, so we do see quite often students starting their own businesses.
"We're very proud of Jared, and all of our students, and proud of our faculty, who bring the practical experience to the classroom," added Westerling. "That's what helps our students develop these businesses, in addition to receiving faculty encouragement to pursuing their passion. Obviously, Jared is a highly motivated young man, but he had that idea and that passion, and I like to think that we help support that."
Owning and operating Mobile Whip has created an opportunity for Williamson to help current and future students. He also contracts with 12 other drivers (also Nichols students), who have their own insured cars. Williamson expects his contracted drivers to clean and maintain their vehicles; arrive promptly to pick up the customer, drive safely, obey speed limits, avoid texting while driving; and to report in when the drive service is complete.
"By continuing on a successful path, I hope that Mobile Whip could expand to other schools across the United States," he said.
Williamson finds inspiration in his family and friends who have run their own successful businesses.
"I learn from their experiences and apply that to what I'm doing," he said.