Ohio Wesleyan Senior Seeks to Help Others Through His Business Ventures
By Cole Hatcher
Ohio Wesleyan University senior Reese Little doesn’t hesitate when asked about the secret of his entrepreneurial success.
“Good things started happening to me when I started putting other people first, trying to help the community before myself,” said Little, a Business Administration major with a Marketing concentration.
Little’s first foray into business leadership occurred in fall 2020, when he launched an OWU chapter of First Generation Investors. The nonprofit organization teaches high school students in underserved communities the power of investing and provides funds for them to invest. To support his work, Little earned Ohio Wesleyan’s first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Grant in March.
In May, Little launched his second entrepreneurial venture, 420Coin, a community-driven cryptocurrency created in collaboration with one high school friend in order to benefit another.
“All of our holders support the legalization of medicinal cannabis,” he said, “so that individuals currently being treated with physically addicting medicine can get access to a non-physically addicting drug like cannabis.”
A resident of Short Hills, New Jersey, Little founded 420Coin with Sami Shehadeh to benefit their friend and former classmate Anthony Mouravski, who was paralyzed from the neck down following a tragic skiing accident last winter.
“Anthony was denied medicinal cannabis and continues to be denied medicinal cannabis,” Little said. “I thought of a creative way to help him and help people who are in a similar situation by creating this cryptocurrency.”
Supporting Medical Research
Each time 420Coin reaches an investment goal, it will contribute 2.5% of the goal to a cannabis research organization, Little said. To date, the company has donated $1,250 to the University of New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Research Fund, and it will contribute again when it reaches its $100,000 currency goal.
“The goals continue to double until we hit $800,000,” Little said. “From then on, every time our liquidity increases by $420,000, we will donate 2.5% of that ($10,500) to an organization that supports medicinal cannabis research.
“With this coin, people are able to give to a cause that they care about,” Little said, explaining 420Coin’s appeal. “They know that something good is coming out of the transaction and that one day they may be able to use the coin in dispensaries across the nation. People get excited watching the community grow larger every day. I’m a big believer in cryptocurrencies having success when they have a strong community backing them.”
Tapping into OWU Peer Expertise
This fall, Little hopes to extend 420Coin’s impact even further by working with The Delaware Entrepreneurial Center at Ohio Wesleyan University. Members of the on-campus business accelerator have access to Ohio Wesleyan student-interns to help them with market research, business plans, promotional campaigns, and other needs.
“We are interested in hiring an accounting student, finance student, and even a communications student, so that we can continue to grow at a rapid pace,” Little said.
“At the moment, we’ve only been halted due to limited finances, so being able to have access to this is going to be amazing for our cause and expansion.”
Making Professor and Alumni Connections
Little said his OWU classes and professors also are helping him learn what it takes to be a viable, successful entrepreneur.
This includes finished and future classes with Business Administration faculty Matt Vollrath and Glenn Bryan. Bryan’s assistance has included introducing Little to 1993 OWU alumnus Kevin Ramsier, who listened to a 420Coin pitch and chose to personally invest in the cryptocurrency.
“Kevin was moved by our pitch, as the problem we are aiming to solve hits close to home for him,” Little said of Ramsier’s investment. “I believe there are certainly other alumni who will be interested in being a part of our project.”
Creating a Family Legacy
In coming to Ohio Wesleyan, Little is following his father’s path.
James Little, OWU Class of 1982, majored in economics and spent his career working in the world of wealth management. The elder Little also is advising his son on the 420Coin cryptocurrency project.
Reese Little said he didn’t always know that he wanted to attend Ohio Wesleyan, but he knew that he wanted “to follow in my father’s professional footsteps.”
“I like where he ended up in his career,” Little said. “I’m very fortunate to have chosen to attend this school.”
Continuing to Make a Difference
After he graduates in May, Little expects to expand his work within the cryptocurrency field. He also wants to continue to help others through 420Coin.
“Our vision is coming true, and we’re excited to keep this going,” he said.