Entrepreneur helps students start businesses

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COLUMBIA - A young entrepreneur is helping fellow students achieve their goals of running a business.

John Larrick started Eon Home Services over a year ago. The company did household maintenance work such as cleaning gutters. Larrick said he wanted to have a more direct impact in his community and with peers that shared similar aspirations. When Larrick found the chance to help start up businesses through the University of Missouri's Entrepreneurship Alliance he said he decided to pursue it.

"It happened really organically," Larrick said. "You just see an opportunity and experiment with it and see if this will work and when it does work you try and repeat it. That's what happened."

Larrick helped students start Tidy Tigers and Truman's Windows.

Tidy Tigers is a housekeeping service started by Natasha Brewer three months ago; Truman's Windows is a window-cleaning business started by Curran Van Waarde two months ago.

"By working with this, it's kind of helped me learn what I want to do," Brewer said. "The experience has been very educational. We've definitely learned a lot in the last few months."

Van Waarde said the experience taught him aspects of starting a business he wouldn't have learned in a classroom setting.

Larrick worked with Brewer and Van Waarde on strategies to start a business and build clientele. Larrick said he enjoyed the direct impact of helping people find jobs.

Tidy Tigers and Truman's Windows have customers that overlap, but both businesses operate independently.

Homeowner Greg Bier uses both services and said hiring a business run by young adults has its advantages.

"I think one of the key things about students is they're just more responsive," Bier said. "They're trying hard, they're returning phone calls, returning text messages and they show up when they say they're gonna show up."

Larrick said the experience has taught him about more than just the logistics behind running a business.

"I've learned how to work with people a lot better," Larrick said. "I've learned to understand other people's goals and then to try to align yourself with their goals to try and make them achieve what they want to make."

Brewer said she has seen her business grow and recently hired an employee to help her. Van Waarde also said he has seen business expand and that the company recently purchased a machine to help clean windows faster and with a smaller chance of leave streak marks.

Larrick said the best part of this experience is seeing the relationships and businesses blossom.