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Pursuing the Big Ideas

Stony Brook students have embraced the entrepreneurial spirit, starting and growing their businesses while still in school. Here are a few current students and recent grads whose businesses are continuing to flourish.

Matthew Glaser ’17 bought a radio station, WELJ, while he was still an SBU student majoring in political science with a minor in business entrepreneurship. His partner was his high school friend Andrew Adams and together they became the youngest owners of commercial mass media in the United States. The two also founded BOLD Media, an omnichannel media company that focuses on using radio, events and online brand management to help clients market products. Glaser calls himself a “marketing therapist” and counts among his company’s clients Stony Brook Medicine. The site is boldbroadcasting.com/matthew-glaser.

Doug Toledo ’19, a recent nursing school graduate, is the creator of Doug’s Lemonade, which he runs in addition to working as a registered nurse in the operating room of Stony Brook University Hospital. He started his business with advice from the University’s Small Business Development Center. The lemonade is made from just three ingredients — lemon juice, blue agave and water, with a sugar-free line that replaces blue agave with stevia — and is available in 30 retailers across Long Island, including Whole Foods Market and Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace. Learn more at DougsLemonade.com.

Yark Beyan ‘19 created a line of 100 percent natural, chemical-free hair care and skin products. Her company, African Grow ‘n’ Glow, which she started with her sister, Joann, is selling monthly subscription boxes called “Glow Kits.” Yark, a political science major in the College of Arts and Sciences, said the ingredients for her products are sourced from women in Liberia. The next phase in the company’s development will include the construction of a business education center in that country, equipping Liberian women with the skills and tools they need to grow their own businesses. Beyan’s site is africangrowglow.com.

Nicole Hershkowitz ’20 led a team of fellow biomedical engineering majors to win the 2019 Wolfie Tank with their invention, Apto, a surgical adaptor tool. The invention alleviates the damage done by retractors in surgeries by placing 3D printed sleeves over them. The team plans to use its winnings on preclinical testing of its tool, which if successful, will help them in their journey to starting a company to manufacture and market Apto.

Sydney Bell ’22, a marine vertebrate biology major, is founder of nonprofit Tidal Tees Apparel, an online store that sells eco-friendly apparel she designs to help save the oceans. The venture combines her love of art and her passion for ocean conservation. In 2019, she was a recipient of Long Island Business News’ “30 Under 30” award for her contributions to the community. For more on her company, visit tidalteesapparel.com.

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