Published 08/24/10

Saving the environment – one filtered water bottle at a time

August 24, 2010

They’re not scheduled to graduate from Bryant until 2012, but six tenacious sophomores have already accomplished more in the business world than many seasoned veterans.

Their success story begins with an innovative “Business 101” course they took as first-year students. Morgan Morris (Sandwich, MA) and her team were brainstorming ideas for a business plan project and came up with PURO, a portable and customizable individual water filtration system they could market to colleges and companies that wanted to promote a “Go Green” image. The team felt that the concept related to their lives, would help people save money, and was friendly to the environment. Morris gave a presentation of the plan to her peers (a course requirement), and PURO was a hit.

In fall 2009, team PURO entered a prestigious business plan competition and was selected as one of three finalists from a group of 30 submitted presentations that described business ideas with market analysis, opportunities, and competitive advantages. PURO bested two groups of MBA students, which Bryant management instructor and team mentor Dave Greenan likened to David slaying Goliath. Bryant took home a grand prize of $27,500 in seed money to launch their business – as well as a boatload of confidence.

During the spring semester team members changed the company name to Inspire Green. They have incorporated, filed the necessary tax and organization forms, and had numerous meetings with their attorney, accountant, and webmaster. They identified a company that makes a filtered water bottle. Over winter break, Morris was asked by “Planet Forward” to submit a video, and, shortly after, the National Environmental Education Foundation approached the students to discuss future sales.

It’s been said that entrepreneurs never sleep. Between academics, sports, and other activities – as well as their fledgling business – CEO Morris, COO Paul Dornfeld (Newton, MA), CFO Emily Charpentier (Walpole, MA), HR Director Lauren Sheridan (Bethpage, NY), PR Director Jenna Zinno (Johnston, RI), and Marketing Director Kayla Manzi (Agawam, MA), may not be catching a lot of zzzs these days. Instead, they are dreaming big.

“Don’t sit on a good idea – if you believe you have something special, be active,” says Dornfeld, who came up with the idea of marketing a filtered water bottle. “Our professors have been so supportive in believing in us, our idea, and the potential it has.”

Adds Morris, “We have a great company, and I know it will be successful.”