By: Romanda Noble-Watson
Claflin University Sports Information Director
When Aaron Perry walks across the stage as a Cum Laude graduate this Saturday (May 12) during the Claflin University Commencement, he will be one step ahead of many of his classmates. He will do so as a business owner.
You see, Perry, a senior from Stone Mountain, Ga., and member of the Claflin University baseball team, is the winner of the 2018 Bulldog Startup Challenge sponsored by Orangeburg business owners Sidney Fulton, III and Jacquelyn Fulton.
For his Entrepreneurship Class taught by Claflin University professor Dr. Robin Davis, Perry developed the Super Shoulder for his then-made up company Revolutionary Strength Technology. He has since adopted the name as the permanent one for his company.
After receiving an “A” on the assignment Perry decided to present his product at the Bulldog Challenge.- an event for young entrepreneurs looking for assistance for their startup.
Most students focus on finishing the assignment on time and getting the best grade they can. Very seldom does a student focus on turning the assignment into a life-long adventure worth thousands of dollars. But that is exactly what Perry did, turned his class assignment into upwards of $50,000 and an opportunity to present his product to the world.
“As graduates of South Carolina State University, the Fulton's were seeking a way to partner with South Carolina State's School of Business to developed a Shark Tank like competition to give back to the students of Claflin University, Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College and South Carolina State University,” Fulton, III said. “The competition is a way to allow entry into the business world and support students that have startup business ideas. It's a year-long process with workshops aimed at product development, finance and business plan writing at the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center at SCSU. It is also a way to gather all the needed tools and provide a structured format to be successful all in one place.”
Perry not only had his idea on paper, he was also the only presenter to have a prototype of his product to present during the challenge. The Super Shoulder is geared mainly towards student-athletes, but is also useful for individuals who spend time working out.
“The purpose of this product is to assist with upper body strength,” Perry described. “I truly believe once the patent is awarded this product will be useful on so many levels for many years to come.”
Because of a pending patent, a visual for the Super Shoulder is not readily available.
In addition to assistance with startup capital, Perry will also receive assistance with completing his patent, accounting services, marketing and business advice similar to the television show.
“As entrepreneurs, we realize the trials and tribulations of getting a business idea off the ground,” said Fulton, III. “The competition allows for the winner to be awarded up to $50,000 in business investment and other tools to help them be successful.”
Note: Sidney B. and Jacquelyn R. Fulton are entrepreneurs that own six Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen Restaurants and Carolina Seal and Stripe LLC, an asphalt parking lot maintenance firm. Mr. Fulton remembers the day of his startup ideas and attempting to put a solid business plan of action in place as a college student.