Many college students work part-time jobs or do some side projects in order to bring in a a bit of extra cash. Monmouth University senior business administration students, Griffin Tomas, Dylan Sara, and Ben Zakowski decided to take a different approach when creating the concept for Division One Fitness. What started as a few TikTok videos of some friends playing soccer soon exploded into its own brand.
The goal of Division One Fitness is to entertain and educate. “We built this company from a small idea and vision that three best friends had in mind,” Tomas, Sara, and Zukowski wrote in an email statement.
“In just a little over one short year, we have grown our social media platforms to around 300,000 followers worldwide and accumulating over 10 million likes on our content. Division One Fitness is currently based primarily around soccer, but we are planning to expand into a variety of other sports,” the trio described.
Tomas, Sara, and Zakowski are excited to be finalist for Monmouth University’s Business Pitch Competiton, HawkTank, which will take place in the Great Hall Auditorium at 5:30 p.m. on April 6. “Being a finalist for HawkTank is a huge accomplishment for us. We are grateful for the opportunity because it is giving us a chance to pitch our company to experienced entrepreneurs and real investors. The experience is important for us because building our network is one of our main priorities as young entrepreneurs.”
Of course, this couldn’t have been done without the help of The Center for Entreprenuership at Monmouth University and Alison Gilbert, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship. “Monmouth University has supplied us with all of the tools that we have needed in order to start up our own business.
We are blessed to have such a strong community of like-minded people to support our goals and dreams. One person that has really elevated our experience is Alison Gilbert. Alison has acted as not only a role model but also an excellent connection to helping us build our network. We are happy to be a part of the Center for Entrepreneurship that she is building and are excited to act as a great example to other students who aspire to be entrepreneurs.”
Tomas, Sara, and Zakowski also credit their parents for their inspiration and support as well as Marcel Legrand, an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Management and Leadership at Monmouth.
“As far as our academic careers go, most of the business classes that we have taken at Monmouth University have been great contributors to our success. Our favorite class to this day is strategic management. The professor of that class, Marcel Legrand, has acted as a mentor and role model once we introduced our business to him. His professional experience and confidence in our company is reassuring and has helped us in countless ways,” said Tomas, Sara, and Zakowski.
The trio concluded, “Although we didn’t see success right away, we did see a long-term vision starting to form. We saw all of the support we had gotten on the videos, and a lot of messages from young athletes looking for us to help them achieve their goals of being a division one athlete, or just to get better in general. This then gave us the idea to focus on our long-term goals and really build a trusted brand out of our personalities. We started posting more and more, and the content had increased in quality, which led to an increase in support and a major increase in following. Now we are all co-founders of a developed brand that we are proud to be a part of. We are happy with the success thus far, but this is only the beginning.”