Wanting to know more about your child’s university or college, as well as what to do when you visit the campus or surrounding area, spurred Sarah Schupp to create an information service that met a need.
A graduate of the University of Colorado (CU) at Boulder, Sarah had first-hand knowledge of what she and her parents didn’t know when she was a student. So she decided to take a project she developed in her senior business school class to the university which was looking to increase its relationship with families of undergraduates. A small business was born from a passion Sarah had since she was a kid: to be an entrepreneur.
Sarah started University Parent in 2004 after graduating from CU. Her business focused on producing “institution-specific guides and websites for parents of college students” with information on “academics, career planning, health and safety, housing, finances and student life” per a 2013 interview in the Daily Camera. Not officially affiliated with her alma mater, the business has since become the destination for more than 10 million parents with listings for 3,000 universities and colleges nationwide.
Getting her new business financed was also a learning experience for Sarah. Through a contact at the Boulder County Business Report, she was referred to Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) where she qualified for two loans to bridge cash flow, and support website updates and hiring needs.
“Businesses that work with banks tend to be older and more traditional. We weren’t a good fit for them but we were for CEF whose help was critical.” Sarah also worked with CEF’s Business Acceleration Services (BAS) consulting team whose support was “incredibly helpful.”
Now embarking on the next milestone for her company, Sarah is focusing on developing the business’s digital platform, having sold the publishing license to another company. The bulk of her employees worked on the print side, so Sarah is again collaborating with a few key contractors to make her multi-million-dollar website even more indispensable for parents. She also continues her involvement with CU where she teaches part-time at the Entrepreneurship Center and serves on the Chancellors’ Strategic Advisory Council and Board of Trustees.
Listed on Inc. Magazine’s Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30, Businessweek’s top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25, and Denver Business Journal’s Top Women Under 40, Sarah’s rise to national recognition as an entrepreneur started with winning a business plan competition at CU.
“I really appreciate all that CEF has done for me and my community,” remarked Sarah. “Their staff’s impressive commitment to small companies helped mine succeed.”