When the pandemic hit, Jack Ebert was studying abroad in London and was sent back home to New York, where playing video games was a part of his daily activities.
Ebert, a graduate student pursuing his master’s degree in business administration at Quinnipiac University, started to freelance and do social media work for a private medical practice. Through this experience, he came up with a way to help small businesses.
“I really saw the importance of communicating and how vital it is to have that open line of communication,” Ebert said. “That’s not always just about who has the most (social media) followers, but being present and having that information available. That’s where I saw that small businesses are suffering.”
By working with colleagues from Quinnipiac and home, he created Driven Media, a company made up of students that work with small businesses to help build their brand. The students get real world experience helping small businesses with their marketing.
“We also knew that students could do good work,” Ebert said. “The reason why small businesses don’t have access to marketing expertise is because they can’t afford marketing expertise.”
Nicole Davison, an adjunct professor at Quinnipiac and founder of NMD Career Consulting in Cheshire, partnered with Driven Media after seeing a lot of students were starting to get internship opportunities with the business.
“It was kind of funny because I kept seeing all of my former students popping up on LinkedIn with, ‘Oh I just got an internship at Driven’ and I just kept thinking, ‘What is Driven? What is this?’” Davison said. “... When I reached out to Jack, it was not necessarily for my company, it was for understanding what Driven is and how all of these students were getting internships.”
After talking with Ebert about Driven Media, Davison “fell in love with their vision.” She then used Driven Media to help her company, which is a career counseling, coaching and consulting service.
“Not only can they help my company, but they are providing real world experience to students,” Davison said. “... This is something that allows them to really get involved in the decision making with a small business. We’ve had one on one meetings via Zoom, we’ve had planning and strategizing meetings together to talk about my social branding. They’ve helped me.”
Ebert said students have joined the Driven Media team by applying on the website, connecting through social media and going to the company’s table at the Quinnipiac career fair.
Holly Raider, dean of Quinnipiac’s School of Business, said that Ebert and Driven Media have also been doing some work to help out the university.
“(Jack) is working with the School of Business and with our Integrated Marketing Communications team to help us with some of our own marketing initiatives,” Raider said. “It is very cool. I think it says a lot about Quinnipiac, it says a lot about the quality of (Driven Media’s) work and what better way to say we really believe in our students than to hire them?”
Ebert said a lot of Driven Media’s success is because he has not taken any of his connections for granted.
“I leaned on people that have been important in my life,” Ebert said. “... All of our big clients initially came from referrals ... The fact that we had people that knew us, that trusted us, respected us enough to refer us and basically put their own professional reputation on the line, by saying we do quality work, I think that’s invaluable.”