GROVE CITY — Two Grove City College students have taken a classroom task to the next level by turning it into a business to empower people with Alzheimer’s and dementia and their caregivers.
“We are excited to continue to fill these orders,” said Ethan David.
David and Luke Gilligan, both 20-year-old juniors majoring in entrepreneurship, officially launched the Resense Memory Box with the help of the Center for Entrepreneurship + Innovation.
The specially curated box contains items intended to improve brain health.
The name refers to “renewal of the senses”, and the logo – a brain and a light bulb in the shape of a face – was designed by Katie Howland, a friend of Gilligan’s.
Content can include puzzle books, basic knitting projects, fidget toys, coloring, card games, aromatherapy, and QR codes that the user can scan to access music playlists of the individual’s preferred gender.
When the two were freshmen, they teamed up with classmate Lydia Young on a project that challenged students to come up with a business idea that filled a need. The assignment was part of Yvonne English’s Lean LaunchPad course.
Young has a grandparent with dementia, and Gilligan learned more about these illnesses after working in a nursing home as a teenager.
“I’ve always had a passion for it,” said Gilligan, who is from Fishers, Ind.
This inspired them to create a product for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia, making sure to include resources and items for the caregiver.
“It was really impactful,” David, from Mars Township, said of the research process.
They spoke to Alzheimer’s and dementia experts, nursing home workers and caregivers and spent time at the college’s VentureLab, keeping their slogan “comfort and joy” in mind. “.
They have since shared Resense boxes with these groups and have received great feedback so far, and orders are starting to come in.
The product even made it to TikTok, where users reviewed the box: Life with Grams and Care Partner Patti gave it a ‘thumbs up’.
“We just want to give them things they can enjoy,” David said.
They want the boxes to contain something for each of the five senses, although they have to be careful with the food. Pacifiers can pose a choking hazard, for example.
They are also working on a box for people in the later stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia; this will likely include doll therapy.
Gilligan has learned more about childhood Alzheimer’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, so they anticipate the variety of box contents to expand.
Although there is no cure for these illnesses, Gilligan and David hope Resense will provide comfort, create new memories and connections, and encourage more research.
They would like to one day open a physical factory and are looking for partners interested in supplying the contents of the box.
The boxes currently contain coloring pages designed by an artist in Ukraine, who in turn helps support people in Ukraine with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia through Marcel Fund Ministries.
“Their care just can’t stop,” David said of the war with Russia.
A Ukrainian artist has also designed Resense t-shirts; buying two of these shirts will send a box to Urkaine.
For now, they’re keeping the gear at David’s, and anyone can buy a Resense box online for $35.99.
Care communities can purchase boxes in bulk or purchase a subscription.
Gilligan and David thanked the college for its support, especially their professors and English, the executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship + Innovation, and Logan Hammerschmitt, the center’s marketing and outreach coordinator.
They have made remarkable progress in a short time, said English, who noted that many people relate to the product because these diseases have touched many lives.
“I also like how Ethan and Like are trying to maximize their impact for the greater good,” she said, referring to support for Ukraine.
She is very proud of them and sees the two young men as role models for their peers interested in “redemptive entrepreneurship” that incorporates caring and good.
In April, they were finalists in E-fest, a major national business competition hosted by the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis.
They introduced Resense to prominent business people, including Dick Schulze, founder and chairman emeritus of Best Buy.
They came in fifth place, winning more than $10,000 for Resense and new product development, Gilligan said.
Both are interns, Gilligan as a project manager at an industrial manufacturer and David as a community success manager for a career consultant, and both would like to be involved in other start-ups.
They want to be involved with other start-ups.
“Our ultimate goal is to make an impact and change lives,” David said.
For more information about Resense, visit resensebox.com or check out the company’s Facebook page.