This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the 11 student startups participating in our Terp Startup Accelerator summer program. Participating student entrepreneurs will receive a stipend of up to $5,000 that will enable them to work exclusively on their startups over the next eight weeks.
Founder: Ijeoma Asonye ’24, mechanical engineering major, creative writing minor
DC: In two to three sentences, how would you describe your startup?
Asonye: E. Ozie Studios is a multimedia creative house currently engaging young adults
and the young-at-heart with the beauty of STEM and Art. Our powerhouse is based on
the core values of our novel The Beautiful Math of Coral: produce impactful stories that
focus on the wonders of the universe about us. We are creating revolutionary
conversations in both traditional and innovative ways including books, poetry, films,
board games, and more.
DC: At what point did you know you wanted to create your own startup?
Asonye: I’ve always loved books so the idea of writing a book came across my mind and I
just jumped on the opportunity. My venture started off with my book “The Beautiful Math
of Coral” after watching a TED talk of the same name. I would call my book a coming-of-
age story that creates metaphors with concepts in STEM, mixed with lots of love and
other intangible things. I think it’s a very swoon-worthy book. Now I want to expand the
creative house as what we are doing feels niche and I know there are people that would
be interested in supporting our creative works.
DC: Who or what is your biggest influence for your startup?
Asonye: I was inspired to create my own creative house by learning about Einhorn’s Epic
Productions which is an entertainment creative house. I think they are doing some really
cool stuff for underserved gen-z fandoms which is an industry E. Ozie Stiudios is also
tapping into with our work. One of the co-founders of the company purchased my book
and that is how I learned more about them. On the film side of things, I am inspired by
A24 and some of the thought-provoking, niche, and creative films they have put out.
A24 is my dream collaborator so if an executive from A24 is reading this, let’s connect!
DC: Why did you decide to start a business in this industry?
Asonye: To create innovation (and disruption) in the entertainment industry. There is a
growing need to produce films and other media that show women and people of color in
STEM. This has primarily been a target for younger individuals like elementary and
middle schoolers. I think there is a mass market though, of connecting with high
schoolers and older that has been untapped. I also wanted to show a new perspective
on creating symbolic content that relates STEM and art to the human experience.
DC: What updates or significant accomplishments can you share with us about your company from the last few months?
Asonye: We received grants from the Clarice Performing Arts Center and the Arts for All
Initiative. We finished production on our short film that is based on the novel “The
Beautiful Math of Coral”. But as a creative who has a personal standard and is always
finding ways to make things better, there are some scenes I would like to add so we are
in a semi-post-production phase. We also sold some books at in-person events during
the spring which allowed us to build our subscribers to our newsletter.
DC: When it comes to your startup, how do you define success?
Asonye: Wow such an important question I have never asked myself. I define success as
continued support from supporters. I think the way my business has been able to grow
is through word-of-mouth. I want to leverage word-of-mouth this year through social
media which is an avenue I have struggled to explore. I know my business is
succeeding and gaining traction through the growth of new customers and having a
reputable amount of passionate customers who will advocate for my brand. I think in the
future when my business is able to establish itself in other markets, success will be the
ability to score collaborations and partnerships.
DC: What are you hoping to achieve during Terp Startup Accelerator this summer?
Asonye: I want to achieve launching a Kickstarter campaign for our board game, begin the
manufacturing phase for the board game, partner with stores to sell our book and
merchandise, and find ways to promote our short film as it’s in the post-production phase
and open our e-commerce store. I also want to use Terp Startup Accelerator as a way
to connect with other entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry to gain advice and
grow my network.
DC: If you could give advice to any aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Asonye: It feels like a reminder more than advice: There will be several nos before a yes.
The moment before your yes could be when you decide to reinvent yourself. Don’t give
up even if you have to give yourself a break. Give yourself time to chill if you feel burnt
out from the nos but don’t give up on your story and passion.
To learn more about E. Ozie Studios, please visit the website here.