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TEC Alumni Series: The Ashton Clark Story
URBANA, Ill. (June 22, 2011)- When University of Illinois alumnus Ashton Clark isn't working as an IT strategy consultant for Accenture, he is working hard to grow his start-up business.
Accenture, a consulting firm based in Chicago, has allowed Clark to network and gain more experience in the business field, a skill set that comes in handy for his start-up business UticketIt.
UTicketIt.com was created by Clark and his identical twin brother Ryan while attending the University of Illinois and serves as an “online event registration and management service” site for general admission tickets.
The site was originally geared toward college events and was created in order to provide a central place to make the buying/selling process much easier.
“We were frustrated on campus with the ticket-buying process,” he said. “We wanted to make it easier for other colleges, departments, friends and family in the community to buy.
According to the site, UTicketIt is also used for non-profits, churches, small firms and community organizations who offer general
Currently living in Hyde Park, Ill., Clark is working primarily on UTicketIt, hoping to partner with other companies to market the business. The companies would be early adopters and could use the site to promote their events.
“Sites or small businesses are more successful when there is word of mouth,” Clark said
Although UTicketIt was the first innovation the Clark brothers created at the University, this is not their first business venture. The two have been business innovators since high school, when they began working on a company called LudaKicks, an online athletic sneaker company.
In addition to LudaKicks, the “dynamic duo” created a music website as well, 247mixtapes.com. The site was created for artists to promote their music and for music lovers to share with their favorites with friends. The two continue to work on these sites, but focus on UTicketIt.
Clark, originally from Flossmoor, Ill., chose the University based on its merit and reputation for engineering. “I just didn't want to pass it up,” he said.
While attending Illinois, Clark participated in several Technology Entrepreneur Center programs and competitions, including the Idea to Product® competition and the Cozad New Venture Competition. Clark also participated in Illinois Launch.
Clark was a finalist in the Cozad New Venture Competition in March 2010. He and Ryan won several prizes, including the Illinois Technology Association Incubator Prize. The incubator prize garnered them space at TechNexus, an office in Chicago for the summer of 2010, which helped ground their business in Chicago.
Clark said his involvement with TEC has “provided many opportunities” and helped make him aware of programs to participate in on campus. Meeting fellow entrepreneurs and other students to discuss ideas was also of value to Clark while at the University. The support from TEC is much appreciated, he added.
“TEC put a lot of things into perspective for us,” he said. Clark continues to put TEC experience to use with UticketIt. He hopes to expand the business’s usership to dozens of college campuses and summer is the perfect time to work on that.
Clark’s ability to carry a full time job and build a start-up on the side is a great example of how hard work and determination can make all the difference.
To learn more about Ashton and Ryan Clark, visit www.dynamikduo.net.