January 17, 2021

Penn Libraries’ Network of Resources Supports Successful Entrepreneurial Venture

From Penn Libraries:

“Working with entrepreneurs on campus is my favorite part of my job,” says Cathy Ogur, Assistant Director of Penn Libraries’ Lippincott Library of the Wharton School. Cathy regularly meets with students, faculty, and staff in the early stages of business ideation to help them gauge how marketable their venture might be. “The resources of the Penn Libraries help identify gaps in the market for new products, services, or ideas,” says Cathy. “Unless you know what’s out there, you don’t know what’s missing.”

Unlike other library databases, which typically skew towards the academic, Lippincott hosts a collection of business databases that Wharton grads might ultimately encounter in the corporate world. Cathy recently helped two MBA students, Kate Kim and Ryan Morgan, navigate these collections for the development of their venture, rmdy, a digestive supplement for women.

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With Cathy’s guidance, then, Kate and Ryan made use of multiple industry databases — BCC Research, IBISWorld, Passport GMID, Mintel, and Business Source Complete, to name a few — in researching their customer base, sizing the market, assessing entry points, and identifying potential manufacturing partners. One of the lesser-known business resources Cathy directed Kate and Ryan to was Panjiva, an importing database that provides information about global supply chains. Panjiva’s indices of bills of lading allow users to determine the origin of imports into the United States. In Kate and Ryan’s case, the import was simethicone, an anti-foaming agent that relieves gastrointestinal bloating (and therefore a crucial ingredient in probiotics).

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With Cathy’s guidance, then, Kate and Ryan made use of multiple industry databases — BCC Research, IBISWorld, Passport GMID, Mintel, and Business Source Complete, to name a few — in researching their customer base, sizing the market, assessing entry points, and identifying potential manufacturing partners. One of the lesser-known business resources Cathy directed Kate and Ryan to was Panjiva, an importing database that provides information about global supply chains. Panjiva’s indices of bills of lading allow users to determine the origin of imports into the United States. In Kate and Ryan’s case, the import was simethicone, an anti-foaming agent that relieves gastrointestinal bloating (and therefore a crucial ingredient in probiotics).

Kate describes the network of library resources, fellow students, and Penn professors that aided in the development of their project as an “ecosystem” which offers student entrepreneurs “support from every angle.” She and Ryan ultimately secured funding, and rmdy is currently scheduled to launch this June (though customers can already sign up for the product’s waitlist at www.rmdyco.com.) “Cathy and the library content resources were critical in our building our business in six months,” says Kate. “We wouldn’t be here without her!”

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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