New student organization helps to empower student entrepreneurs with community market pop-ups

Trisha Dasgupta, General News Reporter

A new student organization called Longhorn Made is helping UT entrepreneurs build a community and consumer base with the goal to empower students with small businesses.

The group helps small businesses grow their brand and organizes markets for student entrepreneurs to sell or advertise their businesses in a cost-effective way. Usually, in-person markets charge nearly $100 in application fees and require vendors to bring their own stall materials, Longhorn Made social media manager Jordan Potts said. In order to make in-person selling more accessible, Longhorn Made partnered with Mi Mundo Coffee, a coffeehouse and roastery on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on Oct. 29 to set up a free market where student entrepreneurs wouldn’t need to pay or find their own materials.

“(Longhorn Made) is a place where creatives and entrepreneurs can come to try to find local community members to assist in selling, for example, in in-person markets,” human development student Potts said. “As a larger organization, our goal would be to help small businesses get off the ground and get organized.”

Running a business while in college can prove challenging, Potts said, but the organization hopes to bring students facing the same struggles together.

“Collaborating a lot with other creators that are in our org helps a lot,” Longhorn Made campus manager Jessica Burke said. “People, especially on Instagram, really like to see that engagement with other creators and they’ll be like, buying from multiple of us at one time and it’s more of a community feel that everybody’s looking forward to.”

In addition to accessibility, Longhorn Made strives to build a community for creatives, said Sofia Alejandro, who runs a handmade jewelry business. She said the organization provided her with a place to meet and gain support from other students in similar positions.

“Recently, (one of our members) got into this market that will showcase artists, and we were all hyping her up and everything in our group chat,” said Alejandro, a radio-television-film freshman and Longhorn Made content manager. “We also like to have little meetings or socials and just talk about any updates in our small business and what we can do to promote each other.”

The program prioritizes providing students with information on marketing and advertising on social media, helping small businesses on campus navigate promoting and selling, Potts said. 

“It’s a great way for starting businesses to get a taste of what it’s like selling their product in-person, building community ties and really just expanding their reach,” Potts said. “It’s really nice to have a community of similar people who are going through the same struggles just so you know, you’re not alone.”