Small Business

Ella Ray, Co-Print Managing Editor

A slight frown appeared on sophomore Elsa Joy’s face as she realized how much trouble younger students were having suffering with learning their material online, so she decided to create a small business, Project Scholar, that would help students during COVID-19. Joy’s biggest inspiration to bring her business to life was her younger brother, John Joy.


“My younger brother had summer classes, and my family was too busy to sit down and make sure he was doing his schoolwork. I created Project Scholar because I thought the kids might not be spending the whole day at school, but at least the parents have the consultation that we’re reviewing what they’re learning in school,” Joy said.


Joy then goes on to explain that since school is online, the students are not learning these critical skills in a classroom setting, so the point of the service is to make sure the students have a full understanding of the material they are learning. She also elaborates on the fact that it is important that students learn fundamental concepts while they are young because they need them further into their education. Being inexperienced in the overwhelming world of business, Joy had done everything she could just to get a bit of exposure to the bright light of the business industry.


“I talked to one of my friends, and we figured out how to launch Project Scholar through things like websites and even Instagram. A lot of our staff and attention we’ve gotten is actually through social media, so we definitely started out with a lot of PR campaigns,” Joy said.


 Joy goes on to say how she messaged other organizations with their own projects to seek some type of promotion. She even used neighborhood group chats to stir up some awareness as well. Joy was pretty much already to go, but she had an extreme scarcity of staff.


“During the pandemic, a lot of high schoolers started their own clubs. There were basically a million clubs that were started at Tompkins,” Joy said, “Definitely one of the hardships we’ve faced was getting people to sign up to do this because there were so many opportunities where they could do the same thing.”


To grasp some volunteers for her business, Joy made some distinguishable changes between her tutoring service and others. She gave them more independence with teaching schedules and methods. Another thing that makes Joy’s business different is that she believes in connecting and giving back to the community. Most tutoring services are very concise and question-and-answer, but Joy likes to get more generous by reviewing everything that the students have learned so far. Joy also expresses that she has big plans with her service for the future.


“We’re actually getting an expander in New York. We’ve gotten a group of high school kids from New York who are applying to start their own chapter of Project Scholar. The social media exposure actually got us to New York, so I’m grateful for that,” Joy said.