Entrepreneurs find success with humanitarian element - East Valley Tribune: Business

Entrepreneurs find success with humanitarian element

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Posted: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 6:42 am | Updated: 1:30 pm, Wed Feb 22, 2012.

Just months after starting their new business, co-founders and Arizona State University students Jeremy Ellens and Dornubary Vizor have collected more than $10,000 in sales.

Yazamo, a business which designs websites, mobile websites and social media marketing campaigns, has seen a large number of clients, in part because the business has a one-for-one model, in the same vein as Toms Shoes, Ellens and Visor said.

For every sale the company makes, some of that money will go toward financing a loan for poor entrepreneurs around the world, Vizor said.

"It's more about financing others rather than making money," he said.

Vizor was born in Africa and spent three years at a United Nations refugee camp before moving to the United States, he said.

"Growing up in Nigeria, I saw poverty first hand and the social problems that come along with it," Vizor said.

With every sale the business makes, they finance a loan through Kiva.com, a website that finances personal and business loans to people living in poverty who otherwise might not be able to secure one.

It's a business model that they believe can become game changing, Vizor said. They are expecting to make $100,000 in sales this year, but it isn't the money that's the driving force for the business idea.

"Imagine if Google had built a company around giving back," Vizor suggested.

Giving back is only a part of it, as the two are also extremely passionate about entrepreneurship, Ellens said.

"I started an app company after my aunt, who is a vet, was diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis)," said Ellens, who created a mobile app for vets that assists veterinarians in diagnostics. "It switched the way I see problems. I think a lot of problems can be solved by entrepreneurs."

One of those problems is poverty, and the two believe through entrepreneurship, they can help others.

"We want to help people take control of their own future," Vizor said.

Finding financing for his own business ventures was hard, and Vizor hopes that this makes it easier for those who don't have the same opportunities.

"We can offer, as students, creativity and a return on investment," Ellens said. "We have a 100 percent money back guarantee."

It's a money back guarantee that includes one-on-one talks with the developers.

Yazamo also offers consulting on what prospective clients should be looking for in web design, a service that is offered free even if the company chooses not to use their services, Vizor said.

So far, client feedback has been good, Ellens said.

Yazamo has worked with a number of local businesses, including Valley Goldmine and ClearMyGuilt.com, a Tempe-based confessional-style website that posts anonymous admissions of guilt, as well as companies from Ellen's native Michigan.

"I was impressed with how Yazamo supports entrepreneurship in Third World countries in addition to their top-notch quality of work," said Tim Hargis, CEO and founder of Valley Goldmine.

Ellens is a senior at ASU majoring in business management with a focus in entrepreneurship. He was nominated for the 2011 College Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Vizor is a junior at ASU studying justice studies, with a minor in small business.

Yazamo is based out of Skysong in Scottsdale.

To learn more about the company and for examples of their work, log on to www.yazamo.com.

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