Ofo Ezeugwu, FOX ’13
The same year he graduated from Temple, Ofo Ezeugwu co-founded WhoseYourLandlord, a web platform that’s empowering and informing the rental community through landlord reviews and housing literacy content. His goal: increasing transparency in the residential market and bridging the communication gap between renters and home providers. The site currently has reviews in over 270 cities, nationwide.
How did you get the idea for your business? While I was serving as vice president of external affairs for Temple Student Government, I was discussing student housing options with other TSG reps late one night. So I started to think about putting the power in students’ hands. I thought, “What if students could rate their landlords so that the students who follow them know what they’re getting into before they even sign the lease?”
Where did you get the money to get started? In the beginning, I used the income I earned as a fashion model to invest in the development of the site. I managed to keep the business afloat until our first big break came in April 2014 when we won $20,500 in Temple’s Be Your Own Boss Bowl.
Did you always see yourself as an entrepreneur? Growing up, I never pictured myself working for anyone. I held many coveted internships and jobs throughout high school and college, but for some reason, when I pictured myself in the future or even while dreaming at night, I was never wearing anyone else’s logo on my shirt. I was always a lone rider, I enjoyed seeing things differently, and I always loved leading amongst other great leaders.
How do you describe your leadership style? I believe in letting people flow. The more you let people do what they love to do, the more passionate they are when doing the work.
Megan Rubino, PHR ’17
Daring to care
For Megan Rubino, who flourished as a student at Temple’s School of Pharmacy, starting a business had to be learned on the job. Luckily, she has great mentors: her parents Paula, PHR ’86, and Louis, PHR ’86, Rubino. They’ve owned Hometown Village Pharmacy in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, for eight years, and were instrumental in advising Rubino as she launched her own independent drug store in nearby Nesquehoning.
In an industry dominated by chain stores, Rubino encourages her staff at Panther Creek Pharmacy to get to know their customers on a personal level.
“It's an incredible feeling knowing we can help people and take the time to answer questions about their healthcare.”
Richard Henne, FOX ’15
John Allen, KLN ’15
As undergraduates at Temple, John Allen and Richard Henne started a housecleaning service, created a social app to track parties on campus, and in 2012, founded a clothing company called Boho Outfitters. While running this startup out of Allen’s basement with the help of their friend and former Temple student Jacob Castaldi, a pattern emerged that they couldn’t ignore: anything with an elephant on it sold quickly.
“That’s how we came up with the idea for Ivory Ella, a clothing company featuring elephant designs that would donate 10% of its profits to charity,” says Henne.
The company launched in April of 2015, and sold out of its first run of 500 t-shirts in minutes. In the years since, Ivory Ella has grown exponentially. So far, it’s raised $1.6 million for Save the Elephants.
As with many startups, the original founding group of Owls has dispersed, but Henne remains full time at Ivory Ella, serving as the company’s chief of staff.
Kristal Bush, CLA ’12
Since her senior year at Temple, Kristal Bush has been running her own business. Bridging the Gap, LLC—a transportation service that drives family members in Philadelphia to see their incarcerated loved ones—began as a no-brainer. The criminal justice major was already making regular trips to prisons to visit both her father and brother, and she thought it made sense to bring others along who needed a ride. Soon enough she realized her “carpooling” had massive potential.
While balancing a full-time job following graduation, Bush managed to grow her business. In 2018, she and her two other drivers reunited more than 600 families.
“The more you visit your loved one, the healthier the relationship is,” says Bush.
Today, the 29-year-old has fleshed out her mission into a full-fledged nonprofit. She hopes one day to provide service at no cost to her customers, build a group home for children with incarcerated parents, and eventually open a store that hires returning citizens.
“Yes, all the men in my family were incarcerated,” says Bush. “But I lived through it, and I feel like it’s something I can help others with.”