Howard University Students Launch Startup to Offer Affordable Access To Campus Meals

January 11, 2016 HBCUMade, Startups

Alston and Hannah Clark (brother and sister) are a true Bison Family. Both of their parents went to and met at Howard University, where Alston and Hannah are currently attending. Growing up homeschooled in St. Paul Minnesota and Maryland, the two tech entrepreneurs developed a passion for technology at an early age. They are now putting their brain power together, with the help of their friends, to bring an innovative solution to college campuses across the country.

SwypeShark is a text based service that enables college students to buy and sell unused cafeteria points(swypes). “We noticed that many students with meal plans, have excess meals at the end of the semester. On the other hand numerous students without a meal plan would like to eat in the cafeteria without the financial burden of purchasing a semester long meal plan” says Alston, the youngest of the sibling team. Hannah came up with the idea after noticing students organically selling cafeteria swipes on campus. She wanted to create an app to facilitate the transactions and give a broader network to the students exchanging swipes.

Both students credit the Bison Startup and Bison Accelerate classes for helping them push their idea to fruition. Alston believes that being at Howard is a plus for them since there is a huge entrepreneurial spirit on campus. The team plans to expand their service to other universities in the Spring 2016 semester.

For other students seeking to launch a startup, their advice is simply, “Nike. Just do it. The process of starting a startup is one of the most educational and rewarding things a college student can do. The great thing about being a college student is that there are innumerable resources and people who want to help you. Even if your startup ‘fails’ completely, you will still gain skills and connections that can benefit you later!” Hannah adds by saying, “Don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember that other tech greats often had early failures.” 

Meet the brother and sister entrepreneur team this weekend as they co-host our next google hangout with Forbes 30 under 30 recipient, Jewel Burks.

Both Hannah and Alston can be found on twitter at @hmclarrk and @alstonclark