Jess Corr is the Chief Operations Officer of Ethic, but she’s better known as “The Architect” within her team. This is the tile she gained by being an architecture major, one area of study that is often overlooked in the startup world.
“I really love architecture, I’m passionate about real estate and property, and I’m also super passionate about entrepreneurship,” said Corr.
When it comes to entrepreneurship, people tend to assume it’s a career reserved for business or engineering students. What they overlook is the fact that startups need teams of diverse backgrounds in order to find entrepreneurial success. Corr says that she has even learned the most important lessons and tips from entrepreneurs of unexpected majors.
She believes that it’s not what you study that makes you an entrepreneur, but rather it’s about passion, drive and putting your area of study to use in the startup setting.
“Architecture has had a huge role in helping me figure out who I am in regards to entrepreneurship,” she explained. “We do a lot of group projects in architecture, we have a lot of late nights, we’re constantly kind of collaborating with other people. I slowly started to realize what I enjoyed the most was collaborating with others and leading projects.”
Corr recognizes that being an entrepreneur, especially while in college can be challenging. However, she also notes that there are benefits to match the struggles.
“It’s definitely a juggle, being a student and entrepreneur, but I think that’s kind of what makes my day really exciting,” she said. “You’re getting new challenges thrown at you all the time which is exhausting and stressful, but also really fun, and you know that you’re constantly growing into the kind of person that you want to be.”
What surprised her the most, though, is the fact that her entrepreneurial spirit came out almost unexpectedly. Corr says she went on a whim to the 2018 Cal Poly Entrepreneurs Startup Weekend, now known as Startup Marathon, where Ethic co-founder Garret Perkins pitched the idea for a sustainable shopping platform.
“I think I’ve always been an entrepreneur and I didn’t really know it,” Corr began. “I heard about Ethic and just felt really connected to the vision and the passion that the people involved had for it. When I joined the team, I was like, ‘Whoa, this world’s for me.’”
Since then, the duo has taken their startup through the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) Hatchery and HotHouse Accelerator programs. Now, Ethic is a HotHouse Incubator company, officially launched with a running site full of ethical and sustainable-focused products for sale.
“As being one of the youngest people, one of the only females and being an architecture major having no business background, I definitely felt somewhat intimidated going into it,” Corr said of her entrepreneurship experience. “It was just really nice to have different mentors within the CIE and all of the introductions they made for us, allowing me to have different people to go to when I was unsure about something within our own business.”
Corr sees entering the entrepreneurial world as a valuable experience, even if her pursuits will change in the future.
“I want to be doing something that I love everyday and I know that’s going to involve entrepreneurship in some way, whether it’s in architecture, real estate, Ethic or something completely different,” she said. “If you have a passion for something, you need to put it somewhere and let other people share in that.”
If you have a passion for something innovative, but never thought it was your place to pursue it, find out how you can make your dream business happen through the CIE’s Hatchery program at https://cie.calpoly.edu/prepare/hatchery/. Not the right program for you? Contact us and we’ll help you find your best fit for success.