A college student has many daily tasks. There’s nonstop homework, classes, meeting new people and exams to study for. This task list alone can lead to late nights and insomnia for many students. Being a student, I recognize how difficult this is. To add to this list would simply seem insane. Yet I know at least one student who takes on the responsibilities of a college student and still finds the time to run his own company.
Toyosi Azeez is a third-year in economics at Ohio State. He is also a CEO of SKEWETT Inc., a company he started in high school. He also happens to be my roommate.
Azeez told me he chose the name SKEWETT because it was a catchy name that he felt would be memorable.
“It (SKEWETT) started off being something that a lot of people said in my hometown. I decided that like Google and Yahoo, very quirky names, this name would stick,” Azeez said.
He and co-CEO Michael Meadows, a fourth-year at George Mason University, came up with the acronym Spreading Knowledge Everywhere While Enjoying the Technique.
Everyone in the company is between the ages of 20 and 22. It’s interesting to see how he reached these people, often through social media.
“I mainly use Twitter. I will study their tweets because how they tweet, how consistent they tweet, and what they tweet about actually shows me a lot about who they are as a person,” Azeez told me.
His parents shaped his passion. When he was in high school, Azeez said his father sent him to the library daily to work on homework. During this time, he began reading books about Donald Trump and Warren Buffett, which inspired him to start his own company.
His company sells T-shirts, silicon bands, lanyards and shorts as products. They also have two artists: Tr3Dash and Doobie Darko.
The photographer, Richard Smith, was drawn in through online networks, which is exactly how Azeez wanted to find the talent for the company.
When Azeez came up with the idea of SKEWETT, Meadows was unsure about the idea but decided to be part of the movement. He then became co-CEO.
They share the task of finding talent, organizing companies to make websites for and making T-shirts. Being a friend and roommate of the CEO, I was able to attend a couple of their business meetings. They would get down to business, feed off each other’s creative ideas and then joked as if they’d been friends for years.
I asked around campus to see what students thought of young people starting their own businesses. I talked to William Basil Swad, a second-year in finance. I asked him first what he thought about a college student starting a business.
“That person has to have a lot of initiative and obviously has to know the percentage for failure. It’s a huge risk,” Swad said.
Azeez and Meadows are not huge risk-takers, but they are willing to go after their dreams. As a roommate, it’s inspiring to see him be able to do this. Few people have the creativity or persistence to find success in such a risky endeavor. Yet Azeez has persisted, despite the time constraints and setbacks. As his friend and a fellow college student, Azeez’s success goes to show that a dream and the drive can lead to success at any age.