Insight Point: John Costello, a Schulze Innovation Scholar at the University of St. Thomas, has built a successful business, West Metro Solutions, which focuses on refurbishing discarded office cubicles and reselling them to other businesses. This sustainable business model aligns well with the university’s mission to advance the common good and address environmental concerns.
Entrepreneurship and Sustainability: A Winning Combination
John Costello, a junior at the University of St. Thomas, has achieved a remarkable feat. At the age of 20, he has successfully managed his company, West Metro Solutions, alongside being a full-time student. Started in high school, West Metro Solutions refurbishes discarded office cubicles and resells them to other businesses, generating over $1 million in sales so far.
Costello’s business model perfectly aligns with the mission of the University of St. Thomas, which aims to leverage entrepreneurship and business for the greater good of society. Danielle Campeau, associate dean of the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, commends Costello’s approach, stating, “John’s business model is an exact example of that, looking at environmental sustainability and overfills of our landfills and how much damage we’re doing to our environment.”
Costello’s success can be attributed to his participation in the Schulze Innovation Scholars program, funded by the family foundation of Best Buy founder Richard Schulze. This program provides full tuition to 10 students each year and offers additional support through exclusive sessions with alumni and serial entrepreneurs. The scholars also receive coaching on various topics, including venture capital, business funding, mergers and acquisitions.
While entrepreneurship programs are not new, the University of St. Thomas is expanding opportunities for students to solve real-world business problems and provide mentorship. In the upcoming spring, scholars in the program will work with underserved entrepreneurs in the Twin Cities, helping them move their business ideas forward.
Costello’s dedication to his business venture is evident in his decision to switch his major from accounting to finance. This change will equip him with the necessary skills to raise capital from investors, enabling him to run West Metro Solutions full time after graduation.
With his sustainable business model and commitment to environmental sustainability, Costello serves as an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs. His success demonstrates that entrepreneurship can be a powerful tool for creating positive change in society.