Xavier Perez with table of sneakers.
Xavier Perez ’23, founder of X's Kicks, is this past year's Bryant Ventures president. Ventures is a startup and small business accelerator that meets weekly with student entrepreneurs to help one another bring business ideas to life.
Bryant Ventures helps student entrepreneurs launch small businesses
May 05, 2023, by Emma Bartlett
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Reselling sneakers is more than just a hobby for Bryant’s Xavier Perez ’23. A quick scroll through his business’s Instagram, X’s Kicks, and you’ll find more than 500 posts of Nike, Off-White, and Yeezy kicks in a variety of colorways; the resale prices range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Perez, a Leadership and Innovation Management major, began reselling sneakers at 15 years old and aspires to one day open a storefront. Primarily moving inventory through social media, he also takes X’s Kicks on the road and has vended at sneaker events in Florida, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.

As someone who’s always had an interest in entrepreneurship, Perez currently serves as president of Bryant Ventures — a startup and small business accelerator that is a branch of the university’s Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Each week, student entrepreneurs gather in the Academic Innovation Center for an hour and assist one another in bringing business ideas to life.

“We start each meeting by going over how everyone’s business is doing that week, and we tell everyone to give us a company highlight and something they’re having a problem with,” says Perez, adding that this check-in usually gets a discussion going.

After the 15-minute conversation, members move on to their weekly activity, which is either a workshop session or guest speaker. Workshop topics spanning from “how to start your social media page” to “how to make a pitch deck” meet students’ basic and complex business needs. Meanwhile, local business owners and alumni entrepreneurs talk about their businesses, offer advice on how to acquire funding, and spend time answering students’ questions.

“Running a business while in school is difficult,” Perez says. “Ventures gives entrepreneurs a space where they can flush out those issues.”

He adds that not all members know where to begin when creating a business; Bryant Venture’s vice president Richard Burleigh ’24 was one of them.

“I had the idea for a company but no idea where to start,” says Burleigh, founder of an online marketplace and investing platform called Recquity. His business allows artists to independently fundraise by selling ownership of their music, which helps them increase funds to further their careers without entering into a traditional 360 record deal.

Through building connections with like-minded student entrepreneurs and gaining advice from business owners, Burleigh received help in launching a website and learning how to pitch his business to others.

“It’s easy to get lost in your own ideas, so being able to communicate to investors what you want to do is the biggest takeaway I’ve learned from Ventures,” he says.

Burleigh, who’s a Team and Project Management major, is currently building the rest of Requity’s platform. While the business is still in its pre-launch stage, more than 100 independent artists from a variety of genres have signed up to be part of the platform.

At the end of each Bryant Ventures meeting, Burleigh and the rest of attendees set goals for the next week. This practice keeps entrepreneurs accountable and focused on advancing their business amidst their academic course loads.

“In college it’s easy to get distracted, so having that set group of people you’re around who are all working toward this common goal of starting a business puts you in the right mindset and gets you actively working,” Burleigh says.

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