Students form new club to encourage entrepreneurial health projects

Health solutions senior Nadaa Taiyab started the Health and Wellness Entrepreneurs Club to introduce students to creating health-related nonprofits. (Madeline Pado/DD)

A new club at ASU wants you to see more green on your plate — and in your pocket.

The Health and Wellness Entrepreneurs Club is looking to introduce students of all majors to the idea of creating a business or nonprofit that specializes in promoting healthy lifestyles.

The group held its first meeting in late April to promote their goals and gauge student interest. Health solutions senior Nadaa Taiyab, who is president of the club, said she wishes to give people the extra push they need to act on their ideas.

“There’s just a lot of creativity and potential locked up inside people,” Taiyab said. “People often just need encouragement and inspiration and resources to get going.”

Taiyab has a bachelor’s degree in international relations and a master’s degree in business and environmental policy. However, she wants to integrate her past experience with the field of health and wellness, which all but requires becoming a registered diagnostician.

“I’ve always really loved nutrition and wellness,” Taiyab said. “I had a latent interest in it, but I didn’t really know how to go about it. I’ve been searching for something I’d really love to do for a really long time.”

As for the kinds of students the club is looking for, Taiyab said she welcomes anyone who feels they have something to offer and wants to take that feeling a step further.

“There are a handful of students that are really excited about this stuff, that really have a lot of potential and passion, but they don’t know where to start,” Taiyab said.

Exercise and wellness graduate student Adrian Chavez, the club’s vice president, said the group is still discussing an overall structure for future meetings but had a general idea of what it wanted.

“Different meetings will have different focuses,” Chavez said. “We’ll put one meeting together that focuses specifically on putting together a business. The first meeting of the semester will probably be more (networking-focused).”

While the club is geared toward health and nutrition-based business ventures, Chavez said the subject is broad enough for ideas that are only loosely related. To give an example, Chavez talked about a student interested in creating a product that assists those who are giving birth at home.

“That’s kind of something you wouldn’t necessarily consider if you’re in this field of exercise and nutrition,” Chavez said. “But, it falls under (the health and wellness) category.”

But one of the challenges for the club will be getting beyond just ideas. Brent Sebold, the senior venture manager for ASU’s Venture Catalyst program, said the most difficult step is actually doing something with your idea.

“The hardest part about being an entrepreneur is execution,” Sebold said. “Anybody in the world can come up with an amazing idea. … Those ideas are a dime a dozen. They’re essentially worthless.”

Sebold said he didn’t want to dissuade students from becoming entrepreneurs, but he stressed the importance of knowing how much time and effort it takes to transform their idea into something tangible.

“You have a great idea. Perfect. But you’re nowhere close to where you need to be,” he said.

Sebold suggested that students refrain from worrying about whether their business ventures are funded, and instead focus on working with others to further cultivate their ideas into marketable business plans.

“At the end of the day, money is not oftentimes the answer,” Sebold said. “What I think really drives innovation among students at ASU is their ability to launch student organizations.”

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