Beyond the Pitch

Rosemary Garry Receives 2014 VentureNEXT Student Award

For Rosemary Garry, winner of the 2014 VentureNEXT Student Award, her first introduction to entrepreneurship wasn’t by choice. David, her younger brother, “borrowed” her iPod and sold it on craigslist.

Based on this market test—and on the test of his sister’s good will—the then 12-year-old boy went on to earn $10,000 reselling three to four iPods a day.

“When I saw that he really was doing this,” Rosemary said, “I thought, if he can do it, I can do it, and I got the bug.”

Moving from California to Ohio further inspires entrepreneurship

“Moving from Anaheim, CA to go to college in Midwestern Columbus, OH was one of the biggest transitions of my life,” said Rosemary, a sophomore majoring in business at OSU.

“I hoped that my freshman year would be flooded with networking and meeting new people, but I quickly realized how difficult it was to make plans with busy people,” Rosemary said. “Dozens of texts or emails were painfully necessary before we would find a time that worked. I knew there had to be a better way.”

Rosemary began to research schedule sharing solutions. What she saw caused her to move from “there had to be a better way” to “I can create a better way.” She began drafting wireframes for a mobile application called Stacker using a ruler, multi-colored pens, and graphing paper.

A mentor introduced her to the Business Builders Club (BBC). Rosemary entered her first pitch competition, the BBC’s Pitch competition, took first place, and got Stacker on its way. Not only that, but Rosemary had become a confirmed entrepreneur.

“I knew that Stacker needed validation from more than just forty-some BBC members, so I distributed a survey and got the input of 90 more students,” Rosemary said.

She applied for and advanced to the top six pitches for the BBC Fall IdeaPitch Competition.

“I had never before organized financial statements, nor been challenged to think about the long-term future of Stacker,” she said. “Sitting in the waiting room surrounded by seniors wearing designer suits scared me to endless lengths.  I was convinced I was not prepared enough, not professional enough, not experienced enough, and that there was no way I was going to win. And that’s when I decided I had nothing to lose.”

An hour later, she was taking pictures with a three-foot long second place check. A few weeks later (as an OSU freshman) Rosemary with a partner entered the OSU Business Plan Competition, again capturing second place.

Currently Stacker is being developed as a Capstone project by students in engineering at OSU.  Last week Rosemary saw the prototype.

“It’s working on Android and Apple and across the two platforms together,” she says. “By next semester we should be in beta testing.”

Early lessons in entrepreneurship

“The biggest thing I’ve learned is how important it is to reach out to people. You need to find people you can trust, people who can help you along the way. You have to share your ideas to get the feedback you need to be successful,” Rosemary said.

“The key for anyone attending OSU is that they provide a lot of resources,” she said, “and so does the Fisher College of Business—from work space, to mentors, to connections with other entrepreneurs, to faculty members who will help you out. There are so many resources from there for businesses and from the Columbus region in general. It makes life as an entrepreneur so much easier.”

Rosemary’s little brother is still selling iPods and applying to colleges. She’s trying to get him to come to Columbus for school.

“I would love to do business with him in the future,” she said. “To get the Garry family together in business would be quite an entrepreneurial experience.”


VentureNEXT College Awards are sponsored by Bricker & Eckler with $2500 in scholarship dollars award to two students attending a college or university in the 15-county Central Ohio region.

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