Malik Jackson, Ian Gray Scholar

By Malik Jackson

When I first arrived at Michigan State University (MSU) for their Chemical Engineering program, I knew very little about entrepreneurship. By the end of my second year, however, starting my own business was of much interest to me. Inspired by an idea called Sportal that I had formed for a class, I quickly enrolled in the Entrepreneurship & Innovation minor.

Unfortunately, my first venture failed; however, the experience of building my first business inspired a new idea. One with the potential to impact my hometown of Flint, Michigan. After months of research — supported by the MSU Hatch, Startup Weekend, and several MSU professors — I developed a new, mobile water purification and storage unit intended for communities within developing countries. Trinhydral was born. The company—a social venture—is dedicated to creating new devices and services that provide clean drinking water for those in need. Since then, I have switched degree programs to Applied Engineering to better pursue a career in business development.

I eventually merged my interests of indie film and business into yet another startup, Fylm TV. Fylm is a streaming platform that allows indie filmmakers to earn money by leasing their content on our site, while also providing resources and a growing community.

My passion lies in building companies from the ground up. I’m motivated by taking in the overall entrepreneurial experience. To foster this, I have assisted other startups, including Skoop, Makeo, Venyoucast, Art + Texture, and Last Night’s Mistake. In doing so, I have gained skills in marketing, business development, branding, business strategy, management, and leadership. These experiences broadened my knowledge and expertise more than I could have imagined before I came to MSU, and I now could not imagine getting this chance and experience anywhere else.

I continue to pursue my passion and accomplish a great deal, thanks to the Ian Gray Scholarship. Receiving the scholarship this year was a blessing, and I am grateful for it. Near the end of the summer term, I struggled to find funding to continue my education at MSU due to issues with financial aid. Receiving this scholarship lessened my burden of out-of-pocket expenses. Without the Ian Gray Scholarship, I would have had to work during the semester to pay for school. Instead, I am able to use more of my time to focus on my entrepreneurial ventures, my role with the Entrepreneur Association, and my full-time course load.

Malik Jackson is a Junior at Michigan State University. This post is part of a Voices of the MSU Hatch series showcasing the vibrant, talented recipients of the James Ian Gray Scholarship in Entrepreneurial Studies. On Tuesday, November 27th, 2018, you can be part of MSU’s #GiveGreenDay — 24-hours of philanthropic giving! Together, we can ensure entrepreneurial scholars, like Malik, receive the support they need to pursue their passions and nurture their curiosities at Michigan State University.