Chapman business student wins Forbes entrepreneur contest
Chapman University student Tilden Smith, a junior business major from Westminster, has won Forbes magazine’s All-Star Student Entrepreneurs “Most Likely to Succeed” Contest.
In the online contest that ran Aug. 4-21, Forbes profiled nine All-Star Student Entrepreneurs from across the nation. Through Facebook, viewers were asked to vote for the student they thought would be the most likely to succeed. Chapman’s Smith not only garnered the most votes, but had more than twice as many votes as the second-place position. (Only one vote per viewer was permitted.)
Smith founded International Pet Solutions, LLC, with his high school friend Dylan Balsz when he was a freshman at Chapman University in 2009. Their launch product was a uniquely designed indoor outhouse for pets called “PetLawn,” a $120-$150 doormat-sized device covered with artificial turf that masks a removable tray with a disposable, absorbent pad. Two years later, Pet Solutions has earned more than $100,000 in revenue, mostly from sales of PetLawn. They also sell accessories like absorbent pads, replacement grass, plastic “waste bags” and a spray cleaner.
Smith handles operations and Balsz oversees sales. Both are on track to graduate from Chapman in 2013. In the meantime, plans are in the works to introduce two products this fall, including a spray-able “attraction scent” to lure dogs to use PetLawn. They also want to grow the company into products for pets other than dogs, as well as take the products internationally into Australia and Japan.
The nine young men and women who comprise Forbes’ All-Star Student Entrepreneurs hail from all over America, including Vermont, Pennsylvania and Utah, and from all sizes of both public and private universities. All started significant businesses with larger than six-figure revenues while attending school full-time. More information on the contest is available at Forbes.com.