COB graduate's dreams flourish during time at ECU
Name: Grant Smith
Majors: Entrepreneurship and marketing
Hometown: Wake Forest, North Carolina
Hobbies/interests: Tennis, soccer, chess and food.
Clubs and Organizations: ECU Club Tennis, ECU Rotaract, AMA, Copeland Fellow, Beta Gamma Sigma
Favorite hangout: Isley Innovation Hub
Favorite place on campus: Third floor of the student center in the outside seating area
Favorite place to eat: On campus: Panda Express; Off campus: Chipotle
Favorite class: New venture launch
Professor who influenced you the most: Dr. Michael Harris
Favorite TV show: “Burn Notice”
Favorite band/musician: Saint Motel
Dream job: Serial Entrepreneur
Role models: My older sister Bree and my Grandma
Your words to live by: “Be confident, not cocky.”
What advice do you have for other students? Take advantage of everything you can because you don’t know what will come out of it.
It would be wrong to assume Grant Smith’s entrepreneurial journey began after coming to East Carolina University’s campus during his first year in 2019.
The journey began when Smith, a College of Business double major in marketing and entrepreneurship, started a landscaping business his sophomore year of high school while attending Franklin Academy in his hometown of Wake Forest.
“I did it for several years, and I loved it,” said Smith, who will graduate in May. “I thought this entrepreneurship thing was kind of cool, and I liked being my boss.”
He soon turned to ECU to hone his entrepreneurial skills, and Smith would say it was not a hard decision. His sister attended ECU two years prior, and while visiting her on the weekends, he witnessed firsthand what would soon be waiting for him.
“I got the feeling we (the students) were going to do some amazing things,” Smith said. “Everyone was humble and had a bit of a chip on their shoulders.”
At first, Smith looked to pursue his marketing degree — his mother is in marketing — with an entrepreneurship certificate, which soon turned into an entrepreneurship degree pursuit through the Miller School of Entrepreneurship and the College of Business.
During his first year, Smith took third prize in an ECU competition of the Hult Prize, an annual challenge centered on social entrepreneurship. Though COVID-19 derailed the next steps of his Hult Prize pursuit to London, he did compete virtually and soon set his sights on ECU’s premier entrepreneurial pitch competition, the Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge.
Smith worked with a Vidant Medical Center — now ECU Health — resident to create InHouse Call, an app that provides a physician with all hospital phone numbers needed to attend to a patient’s care. After pitching in three rounds, Smith and his partner won the fourth Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge in 2022 and $15,000 to pursue the idea. Smith says he plans to focus more on InHouse Call after graduation.
Smith’s resume is a checklist of how to be a successful ECU student. He is in the Honors College and has won numerous scholarships like the Kevin M. & Lori Coates Shannon Scholarship. His internship opportunities included ECU’s RISE29, Accelerate Rural NC and Greenville’s Water Resources Center. His campus involvement included participation in the ECU Tennis Club, Rotaract Club, COB’s Beta Gamma Sigma, and the American Marketing Association.
Smith was also part of the inaugural cohort of the Copeland Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship, a two-year program that allowed Smith to add to his leadership knowledge by exploring different world views found in the COB and at ECU.
“The program pushed me to participate in new experiences that I would have never considered or even known about,” Smith said. “That’s one of the reasons I was glad to be a part of it.”
Smith has soaked in all he could during his time at ECU and learned some good lessons along the way.
“If you want to do something, do it,” Smith said. “Be confident in who you are and be yourself.”
Smith plans to build on his ECU experiences by participating in the Thomas D. Arthur Graduate School’s inaugural immersive MBA pathway starting in the fall of 2023.