Columbia College Students Create a Fresh New Business

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COLUMBIA - Many students who study abroad arrive in their new country with nothing, no friends, no car, no supplies. That's why two international students at Columbia College created a company to combat the uncertainty that comes with arriving in a new country for school.

A recent report from the Missouri Department of Higher Education shows in the last academic year more than 17,300 international students chose Missouri for higher education. That puts Missouri 12th in the nation.

Two students thought of the company to help international students with basic necessities when they land. It's called "Fresh Start" and Meg Goddard from the United Kingdom and Joran Ilic from Serbia founded it.

"The product itself is a startup package which is going to be left in international students' dorms," Goddard said. "It's going to have the essentials that they need-bedding, towels, shower stuff, the things that you can't really pack and bring over in your suitcase."

The organization does that in the form of a care package students can purchase with essential items inside that the organization then leaves in students' residences.

"I didn't have any friends, obviously, because I had just moved here," Ilic said. "And I don't have a car here so it was kind of tough to make a new friend and make him take you to Walmart."

The students entered into the Collaboration Leadership Innovation for Missouri Business (C.L.I.M.B) annual seed grant competition, but Fresh Start didn't win. Despite being in the development stages, the product has gained support from their international peers.

"We've had great great reaction," Goddard said. "Jovan interviewed a Scottish girl who goes to school here...she loves the idea. She thinks it could be a great help to international students and a great asset to colleges themselves.

The students plan to officially launch Fresh Start in the spring or summer of 2014.