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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Former student receives entrepreneurship award

By Jake Hibbard

At a time when most recent college graduates are worrying about finding employment, Benjamin Bartholomew is concerned about the bottom line for his company next year.

Bartholomew, who graduated from the U in accounting last spring, had his company, Rising Rain Studios LLC, named one of the top 25 student-run Utah businesses by Utah Student 25, an independent group that evaluates local business.

Utah Student 25 had its inaugural awards ceremony Sunday, and Bartholomew was one of two current or former U students to have a company they founded named on the list. Dan Lauritzen, a graduate student in public administration at the U and founder of Simple Systems Inc., was the other.

“(The list) awards companies based on growth and popularity,” said John Pilmer, communication chairman for Utah Student 25.

To be eligible for this year’s list, a student must have started the business while attending either high school or college in Utah and the student must either be a current student or a 2009 graduate.

Bartholomew’s business mostly deals in marketing, and the majority of its clients are nonprofit or government organizations in the northeastern United States, though Bartholomew said it recently has started to find work locally in Utah and Nevada.

He said his company runs with low costs and a small staff.

“We presently have three employees, including myself,” Bartholomew said.

Before becoming an entrepreneur, Bartholomew did freelance work since high school in areas similar to what his company does now. For instance, he worked for Horizon West Management, one of Utah’s largest audit escrow firms, in addition to being a full-time student.

“Between the freelance (working at the firm) and being a full-time student, one of them had to go,” he said.

In the fall of 2007, he quit his job at the firm, started Rising Rain Studios a month later, and jumped into the world of running a business while still attending the U.

He used money that he had saved from his previous freelance jobs to start the company and has not worked for anyone but himself since.

Starting out, Bartholomew said his biggest worry was finding clients willing to use a company with such a young founder, but he said he has been surprised to see how busy his company has been since opening.

“I’ve been very successful, and since organizing (the company), it’s experienced as much as a 400 percent revenue growth every year,” he said.

Bartholomew said he encourages any aspiring entrepreneurs not to hesitate in starting their own businesses.

“Get out there, get your feet wet and start doing something,” he said. “You never know the potential until you get out there and do something.”

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