This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the fifteen student startups who are participating in our Terp Startup summer accelerator at the College Park WeWork. Participating student entrepreneurs received a stipend up to $5,000 that would enable them to work exclusively on their startups over eight weeks in the summer.
Founder & CEO: Barathi Aravindan ’22, Finance major
DC: Tell us about your startup. What problem are you solving and for whom?
Aravindan: Azelle manufactures high-quality charm bracelets to raise awareness of the precarious condition of the Chesapeake Bay, the world’s largest natural estuary. Our mission is to support the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay in a fashionable manner and empower women in the field of business by hiring young women in the community.
DC: How did you first come up with your idea?
Aravindan: A group of us came up with the idea during a program called Junior Achievement Rising Women. The program’s goal was to promote entrepreneurship among women and learn how to start a business from the funding stages to liquidation. During this program, we created an earlier version of Azelle, called Chesapeake Charms, and sold out of our product within two weeks. After seeing our success, a few of us saw the company’s potential and decided to continue it on our own as Azelle.
DC: What are some major milestones you’ve achieved so far?
Aravindan: Thus far we have sold over 250 bracelets and donated more than $1,000 to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Our donation could remove 600 pounds of trash from the Bay and its tributaries or help grow 200,000 native oysters. We are continuing to sell our bracelets and donate a portion of our profit to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
DC: What drives you to keep going?
Aravindan: What drives me is our mission to help preserve our ecosystem and empower women in business. Our environment is rapidly deteriorating as a result of the pollution humans create everyday and we must do something about it. By donating to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, we are helping preserve and restore our environment to the condition it was once in. Additionally, if I had not been a part of the Rising Women program, I would not have developed the confidence I have today. I hope Azelle can help other young women grow and develop their skills necessary to succeed while doing something they love.
DC: How do you feel about working in a cohort with fellow student entrepreneurs?
Aravindan: I’m very excited to be part of Terp Startup and working with fellow student entrepreneurs. I love working with others and look forward to being surrounded by such driven people who are also looking to grow their business. Each individual has their own story and I believe I can learn something from all of them.
DC: What are you hoping to achieve during Terp Startup this summer?
Aravindan: 1) Register Azelle as an LLC with the state of Maryland. 2) Start developing an additional product for the company. 3) Donate $1,000 more to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.