Business incubator helps CCU students start company

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CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Two Coastal Carolina University seniors launched a new company on Tuesday afternoon and did it with the help of the Conway Innovation Center (CIC).

The company, LYSI U.S., is the exclusive domestic sales and distribution agent of the Icelandic fish oil giant, LYSI.

CEO, Sean Edwards, and CFO, Ross Kunmann, are both a part of CCU’s Wall Fellows program, which is how they got involved with the international business.

“We plan to grow the LYSI brand throughout the U.S.,” explains Edwards. “I’ve known all along that I wanted to own my own company. I just didn’t think it would happen at 21-years-old.”

Kunmann said he’s always had a passion to be an entrepreneur.

“But I definitely didn’t expect this opportunity as early along as we got it,” Kunmann admits.

LYSI U.S. will start off selling liquid cod liver oil but Edwards and Kunmann hope to expand to Omega 3s and other products in the future.

“You may see this prescribed in chiropractic or nutritionist’s offices,” said Edwards. Fish oil is a quality health supplement often taken in a pill form but the two students are hoping to change its perception.

“It’s no longer a rancid aftertaste, fishy product, but rather something you can really enjoy,” explains Edwards. He said right now the flavor is lemon and mint and can be taken alone or mixed with a salad or a smoothie.

Edwards and Kunmann were able to get their start with the help of the CIC.

“We saw an opportunity and we seized it,” laughs Kunmann.

Director of the CIC, Michael Roberts, said it’s a business incubator and partnership between the City of Conway and CCU.

Business incubators are also available in Florence and Hartsville for Pee Dee area entrepreneurs.

“One of the things that was a part of the model was to have a storefront where people would see on a major street in the community that there was this possibility of coming in and getting help and building a technology business,” said Roberts, who is also the Dean of Science at CCU.

Kunmann said operating your own business is something that can’t be fully explained in a classroom.

“You get that base knowledge in class,” said Kunmann. “There’s the legal aspect of it, the marketing, the finances and figuring out everything from the bottom up. You really have to have a good vision of what’s going on from all different angles.”

The liquid cod liver oil has already been pre-ordered by a few locations in the Conway, Florence and Myrtle Beach area and both students hope to get it in stores by October.

The LYSI U.S. Facebook page explains the product in greater detail. A website dedicated to the CIC explains different business opportunities.

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