KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jonaie Johnson, a freshman on the UMKC Women’s Basketball team, has recently been selected to be a part of the UMKC Entrepreneurship Scholars (E-Scholars) program through the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The E-Scholars program is designed for UMKC students and community members that focus on early-stage business ventures.
Johnson attended the UMKC EOY (Entrepreneur of the Year) event in the fall of 2018, where she met Ben Grueber, the E-Scholars program coordinator. There, Johnson showed him her venture idea and Grueber encouraged her to sign up for the E-Scholars program and apply.
“I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset, and always knew what I wanted to do," stated Johnson "Being a part of this program is giving me great head start and that’s why I’m so excited to be in E-Scholars."
Johnson’s venture, called PetTech, is a way to make life easier for pet owners who are away from home. The venture will provide consumers with an automated pet cage that can be operated from their cell phone while they are away from home. The consumers will be able to see their pets, talk to their pets, dispense food and water to their pets and open and close the pet cage all from the touch of a button.
Though PetTech is still in the development phase, it is Johnson’s hope that it will be available for purchase on the market soon with her completion of the E-Scholars program. She is currently in her second month of the program and notes that, “Learning from the professors, mentors, and other people in the program, especially people who have started their own business, has been very educational and impactful.”
Throughout the semester, Johnson will be developing her marketing pitch, business plan and visual display for the Regnier Venture Creation Challenge in May. It is Johnson’s hope to get a working prototype of her product, along with the proper resources, knowledge, and connections to successfully get her venture started through the E-Scholars program.
“We are proud of Jonaie and her hard work in this program,” said Amelia Howard, Assistant Director of Academic Support. “This is an incredibly competitive and prestigious program through the UMKC Bloch School, and as a freshman, Jonaie is excelling as a young student-athlete and entrepreneur.”
To learn more about the E-Scholars program, go here
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