Matt Larson has always been a self-starter. One afternoon when he was 3 years old, he told his mother he was going to play in the front yard. Instead, he walked eight blocks to downtown Ludington to go to work.
“I walked to a store where her friends used to work,” Larson said. “They would pay me to pick up price tags and different things off the floor while my mom was shopping there.”
He didn’t stop there. When Larson was in third grade, he charged his fellow students one snack a month to hold their lunch money in a lockbox. Students who kept their money with him were even assigned an account number, foreshadowing the bookkeeping business he would start after college.
“Early on, I knew that I didn’t want to work for someone,” Larson said.
Larson is currently the Entrepreneur in Residence at the Richard M. And Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University. He holds Bachelor’s Degree in Finance, a Master of Arts in Career & Technical Education and a Master’s of Business Administration from Western Michigan University. In the years after college, he started an advertising company, a bookkeeping business, which he sold to a CPA firm, and bought a vending company. He also worked as a business consultant and coordinated a local inventors network in Ludington. He is currently working on his most ambitious venture to date with Campus Starter, a crowdfunding platform that seeks to expand funding opportunities for student entrepreneurs.
“We really want it to be an all encompassing platform for college students or administrators to engage with alumni in the community and connect with support in terms of mentorship and other community engagement,” Larson said.
As the Entrepreneur in Residence at CEI, Larson is eager to lend his experience to helping students and community members start their own entrepreneurial journeys. He emphasizes that whether or not a venture succeeds, it’s all about hands-on experience.
Larson was drawn to entrepreneurship because he saw it as the the most feasible way to achieve his goals and create opportunities for himself.
“Entrepreneurship gives you that potential,” Larson said. “Is it a guarantee? No. So that is kind of the choice people have make.”
One of Larson’s goals is to be in a financial position to give back to the community.
“I love kids and animals. I feel like they are two things that kind of don’t have a voice,” Larson said. “Those would be two things that I would want to help out with.”
Matt Larson holds office hours at CEI on Mondays from 3-4 p.m. and Tuesdays from 2-5 p.m.