In the Fall of 2018, Moise Bertrand, a senior Pre-Physical Therapy major at Florida A&M University, had an idea.
He wanted to combine services provided by entrepreneurs through some type of system that helps students in need in Tallahassee from every university.
Through brainstorming, and social media searching the light switch turned on in his head. That light switch idea co-founded Navineeds.
“I looked on Instagram and kind of noticed how people would say to DM (Direct Message) for scheduling, so I was like ‘ok, let me replicate what Facebook does for entrepreneurs and let me mix up what Yelp does for entrepreneurs’” Bertrand said. I figured out if I created a directory where everybody is listed in the area, a lot of people could be like ‘wow, this is what I really needed the whole time, it makes my life a lot easier,’” said Bertrand.
Navineeds is an online one-stop shop that provides students with navigation to everyday needs. It helps students transition in the new city from home and aims to eliminate the trial and error process of finding the right services. Its directory offers a plethora of necessities such as apparel, beauty, grooming, photography, videography, and graphic design from local vendors and entrepreneurs looking to expand clientele.
Bertrand says Navineeds is different. The website is free to vendors, looking to expand their business which only benefits them financially.
The company’s other Co-founder, Ivori Smith, is a junior at FAMU majoring in health science. Smith came to be a vital instrument in making the launch of Navineeds successful by bringing the clientele to the business and by also adding her expertise.
“When we first initially talked about it, he [Bertrand] was all open and receptive to anything I had to say,” Smith expressed. “I came in and basically just organized the thoughts, because I wanted to narrow down our vendors to specific categories.”
Navineeds realized it needed a team to make this work. Beyond just the co-founders, Bertrand understands the importance of having other expertise.
“As bad as you want to do everything by yourself, you have to throw in the towel and trust the people who’s around you,” Bertrand said.
On staff, they have, Daniel Turner, Navineeds’ Business Operations Manager, and Brandon Moise, the company’s Content Writer.
Turner budgets the company, figuring out how much should be spent on a monthly basis. He’s also in charge of writing up the mission statement and business proposals.
Moise, a senior interdisciplinary studies student at FAMU, manages the emails and applications, all while creating statements to send out to vendors. Through his tenure as the content writer, he says that he has big aspirations for the development of Navineeds.
“My goals for Navineeds are to grow as a business, create a substantial name and reputation for it, and ultimately get it to be nationally known, Moise said. “I envision the company to play a very big role in college entrepreneurship.”
Marketing is the main tool Navineeds uses to get the company off the ground and in everyone’s ear. Social media, for them, is a huge tool in getting their brand out to other people.
They first started off by holding a networking event in the Summer of 2019 that would help them get to know different entrepreneurs and businesses around the city looking to grow together.
Navineeds just opened up a Brand Ambassadors program with the hopes of the program adding more awareness to the online one-stop shop.
“The whole objective of that is to have students that go to different schools in the city spread knowledge about Navineeds to every else,” Bertrand said.
Since the launching of Navineeds, they’ve able to offer over 30 vendor options on their site. They have many plans still in place to keep the brand growing. Some of their future plans include starting a vlog channel on YouTube, and a college tour to spread the word and brand of Navineeds.
“Our final goal is to have headquarters somewhere in California, wherever the universe takes us,” Bertrand said. “We’re just going with the motions. We don’t plan things like how we should, but we also have goals that we intend to hit.”
He added on by saying “we set that bar too high to fail, that’s the way we look at things.”
Some advice to anyone looking to become an entrepreneur of some sort, Smith says to “never compare your journey to the next person.”
To check out what Navineeds has to offer, go to www. Navineeds.com, or check out their social media pages on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @Navineeds.