Ice cream truck fuels boy's startup dream
Grabbing food on the go isn't usually hard to do, unless it's the food itself that's on the go. Nine-year-old Cooper Williams is developing a solution to the problem many food truck aficionados face. Freez! will be an app that tracks mobile food vendors in real-time. He says the idea came from his own frustration with missing a chance to get a favorite food fix. "I hear the ice cream truck outside my house and by the time I dig for money, it's gone."
Williams' pitch for Freez! during the Red Raider Startup program is already paying off. He got his first investor after the three-day community-based event held at the Innovation Hub. Two businesses at the Hub were also inspired to get involved. "My mom (Program Director Taysha Williams) works there, and Flint Avenue Marketing and NextGen Code Company are tenants. These companies have given their time to help me. I cannot thank them enough for what they are doing."
Jess Davis, CEO of NextGen, says this unique collaboration works on several levels. "Cooper was able to identify an everyday problem in the world and create a very practical solution, which is the goal of every entrepreneur. That is the very definition of creating value. We felt this would be a great opportunity for NextGen to give back to the entrepreneurial environment of the Innovation Hub that had greatly helped us in the past. We discussed as a team what we could provide to assist Cooper in his business venture and decided to build the application, with the marketing/design help of Flint Avenue Marketing, free of charge."
Amy Wood, CEO of Flint Avenue Marketing, says it is exciting to be part of Williams' team. "Cooper had visions about his logo, screen designs, icon sets, and we just brought them to fruition. Our 'why' for getting involved is pretty simple: at Flint Avenue, we love entrepreneurs. Aligning ourselves with Cooper's vision, donating hours to get him on his way, is our way of saying there are no boundaries to entrepreneurship. He truly drives this project and we love working with him!"
Davis says Williams "is a boss." "All of us at NextGen have been very impressed with his creative ideas. He tells us what he wants and we build it. We leave all of the creative direction to Cooper."
All three say "hustle" is a big part of the entrepreneurship mentality. Wood says, "Cooper's project inspires the hustle in all of us through his consistent dedication, working into the night to flush out his ideas, and his persistence to make it happen. He's a special kid, there's no question about that, but he's still only nine. If Cooper can do it, so could you!" Davis agrees. "At NextGen, we love the word 'hustle.' It is one of the things we believe you can never have too much of. Not only do we believe in the Freez! app idea, we believe in Cooper. He has more hustle than all of us together." Williams says finding challenges fuels his hustle mentality. "I love thinking and solving problems. I want to show other kids that no matter how old you are, you can do great things as long as you put your mind to it. Keep on trying with whatever you do and just don't ever give up."