There is a new business starting at Rose Hill, but do not expect it to be selling Spring Weekend tank tops or Fordham apparel. Instead, the business is offering students hands-on business experience in the Belmont community.
Bronck’s Consulting is Fordham’s newest startup, aimed at helping local Belmont businesses expand. As for the story behind their clever company name, the Bronck’s team wished to pay tribute to Jonas Bronck, an influential Dutch settler in the New Netherland colony whom the borough was named after in 1874.
According to Nick MacDonald, FCLC ‘16, head sales executive and co-founder at the company, the idea of college students acting as consultants is not a new one on college campuses. “This is something that’s happening all across the United States, just not here,” MacDonald said.
MacDonald founded the company along with Chase McQuillan, FCRH ’16, and John Wasserman, GSB ’15. McQuillan, chief executive officer, is a finance major at Gabelli with a minor in entrepreneurship. He cites growing up near the Silicon Valley in California as one of the major influences on his interest in the world of startups. McQuillan says he identifies the Belmont community as a community that could benefit from free consulting.
All three founders have an extensive background in the business world, from working in the Silicon Valley back home in California to helping businesses in Nicaragua, as was the case for MacDonald in the summer of 2013. In the group’s interview with The Fordham Ram, McQuillan said, “In today’s world, you can’t just have one internship or just one job. You need to have several layers and build your brand — your resume is your brand.”
“You’re basically making solutions for problems, you’re scratching an itch that you see in PHOTO: name of photo in web photo folder the market. We saw the local Belmont area needing help with expanding the business and helping it grow and prosper,” he said.
McQuillan and Wasserman, the chief technology officer at Bronck’s Consulting, met in high school. Wasserman is pursuing a major in business administration with a specialization in finance and information systems. He is no stranger to the campus business scene, as he and a friend collaborated to start Fordham Nights, a website promoting social events through social networking this past year.
Bronck’s Consulting will operate as a non-profit consulting firm that will offer Belmont businesses consulting advice from Fordham business students. Services will be offered to clients for free, while student workers will be incentivized between five and 10 percent of their particular business’s revenue growth over time, all thanks to donors and sponsors who have shown interest in this student business.
While the Belmont community is largely known for cultural diversity and successful restaurants that have been around for generations, founders McQuillan, Wasserman and MacDonald argue that there are plenty of newer businesses that need both to improve business tactics and effectively target Fordham students in order to increase revenue. “We are Fordham students and know how to market to ourselves,” said Wasserman.
The entrepreneurs hope to work with new businesses such as hair salons, restaurants and real estate companies looking to attract Fordham students. Some businesses, such as Healthy Fresh, expressed an interest in working with the group following the students’ proposal.
“They say they would definitely consider working with us if we propose something good,” said Wasserman.
Thanks to support from professors and businesses, the possibilities for successful partnerships between Fordham’s business students and Belmont’s newest additions to the local market seem promising. Yet they admit that the pressure to remain focused on the company while keeping up with classwork and other responsibilities will be their biggest challenge as the business begins to hire its first consultants.
Bronck’s Consulting offers a space for anyone willing to put in the work required to make the college startup a success. In fact, each of the three founders of Bronck’s Consulting brings a different perspective and experience to the topics of startup ventures and consulting services.
Professor Christine Janssen-Selvadurai, the director of the entrepreneurship program for Gabelli School of Business, is one of the professors who has served as an advisor to the students and expressed a desire to use their business as one of her class projects, which would possibly aid in furthering Fordham’s connection with the Belmont community.
Janssen-Selvadurai could not be reached for comments. Belmont has the potential for even greater cultural and commercial wealth. The Bronx Beer Hall, which just celebrated its one year anniversary, is an example. In recognition of the borough’s success, Liz Robbins, a feature writer for The New York Times, put simply: “If that other borough [like Brooklyn, N.Y.] can reinvent itself, why not the Bronx?”