Student Entrepreneur is Inspired....and Wins!

Rebekah Finn came up with the idea of Providing Pawsable as a student at Marietta College.
Like many entrepreneurs, her idea came from a personal need. She was diagnosed with EDS, a connective tissue disorder that leads to unstable joints and fragile skin, and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome or POTS.

For Rebekah, this leads to her heart rate skyrocketing and blood pressure dropping when she changes positions or stands for too long. She explains, “With POTS, I have dizzy spells and even can become unconscious.” She went from a healthy, active 18-year-old to a 20-year-old with major health challenges, which made her realize this wasn’t the life she wanted. The treatments doctors were offering were not helping.

“I began searching for other answers and found service dogs and how they could help. For months that was all I could think about, but I couldn’t afford any of the organizations out there nor wait multiple years on their waiting list,” Finn said. “So, I began looking around at shelters for a dog I could train myself. That is when I found Zoey, and we have been together one-and-half years now. She has raised my quality of life so much that I can't even put it in words.” Once Finn saw the difference Zoey made for her, she knew more people could benefit from service dogs.

“But the market was so difficult between the extreme cost and long wait times,” Finn said. “I began researching what these organizations were doing well and what wasn’t working, in the eyes of a client. I then combined all the good I could with the goal of reducing cost and wait time. That was when Providing Pawsable was born.”

For guidance, Rebekah and her partner, Michael Undersander, reached out to Pamela Lankford, Director of Building Bridges to Careers Epicenter and an adjunct faculty member in Marietta College’s Entrepreneurship Program.

“I met with Pamela Lankford on a couple of different occasions for help with the PioBiz competition and my business as a whole. The first time we discussed how to determine my pricing structure while covering my own costs. She was able to teach me the process so that I could do it on my own in the future which I found extremely valuable. This made it possible for us to determine our income and COGS for the business plan round of the competition,” said Finn. “The second occasion we discussed additional details of our business plan, specifically the balance sheet. She again was able to educate us on how the sheet works. Her help was extremely valuable in our success in the PioBiz competition.  She also made us feel welcome to reach out to her in the future if needed.”

“It’s always fun to work with young entrepreneurs and see their enthusiasm for their projects and to help them learn about business concepts.  And of course meetings were more fun with Zoey there,” stated Lankford. “I’m excited to see what the future holds for Providing Pawsable!”

The business idea of Providing Pawsable won the final round of Marietta College’s 2019 PioBiz competition, which is focused on the business plan. Finn and Undersander won $9,000 for finishing first. This was the fourth year of the competition, which is open to all Marietta College students and their partners.

Photo Credit: Marietta College