Business is Booming for B-CU Junior Kofi Adu Zulu and His AduKicks

Business is Booming for B-CU Junior Kofi Adu Zulu and His Adu Kicks

Introducing Kofi Adu Zulu, a junior majoring in Computer Information Systems at Bethune-Cookman University. Hailing from Southeast, Washington D.C., Kofi is the entrepreneur behind AduKicks, a successful shoe cleaning business. Established in October 2021 with a simple yet universal concept—everyone has shoes, and everyone's shoes get dirty—AduKicks offers quality services, becoming a favorite among those who value cleanliness and longevity.

In this exclusive Q&A session, Kofi provides valuable insights into his academic journey at Bethune-Cookman, delves into the inspiration that led to the creation of AduKicks, and reflects on the significant impact of his selection to participate in the inaugural cohort of the Startup Scholars program, facilitated by Clark Atlanta University’s Southeast Regional Center for Entrepreneurship. Kofi was among the nine students chosen from the 28 HBCUs in the Southeast region to receive a $10,000 scholarship, along with an integrated portfolio of support from the Center, including business funding.

B-CU: Can you discuss your decision to enroll at Bethune-Cookman? What factors or individuals influenced your choice of attending an HBCU and, specifically, Bethune-Cookman University?

Kofi: My decision to attend Bethune-Cookman was driven by a simple yet powerful factor, the Marching Wildcats. The allure of this vibrant musical tradition brought me to Florida. Having grown up in a private school environment, where many older students attended HBCUs, the choice to join the legacy at Bethune-Cookman felt like a natural and exciting next step in my educational journey.

B-CU: As a computer information systems major, what sparked your interest in this field? How has your time at B-CU contributed to your professional and personal growth?

Kofi: Embarking on the dynamic journey of Computer Information Systems at B-CU has been nothing short of transformative! My passion for this field ignited when I realized the power of technology to revolutionize industries and streamline processes. My time at B-CU has played a pivotal role in shaping both my professional and personal growth. The rigorous curriculum, hands-on projects, and supportive faculty have equipped me with a robust skill set. Beyond the classroom, involvement in band and other organizations on campus has provided me with valuable leadership experiences. Networking opportunities with industry professionals facilitated by B-CU have opened doors to internships and mentorships, further enhancing my understanding of real-world applications.

B-CU: AduKicks has achieved remarkable success. Could you share the backstory of its establishment, detailing what motivated you to start the business and providing insights into its trajectory and the number of customers you’ve assisted?

Kofi: Before Adukicks, I always took pride in maintaining my shoes, using small shoe cleaners for that extra shine. The idea to start a shoe cleaning business struck me when a friend asked me to clean their shoes. The simplicity and universal appeal of the concept everyone has shoes, and everyone's shoes get dirty—felt like genius. Adukicks was founded on October 23, 2021, with a mission to offer shoe cleaning services to everyone who values the cleanliness and longevity of their footwear.

B-CU: As a young entrepreneur, what valuable lessons have you learned on your journey? How have these experiences influenced your approach to entrepreneurship?

Kofi: As a young entrepreneur, I've learned vital lessons that shape my approach. Resilience is key, embracing change and staying adaptable. Building a strong network provides guidance, and customer feedback is invaluable. Time management and prioritization are crucial skills. Maintaining a positive mindset and passion for what I do fuel my perseverance. Each experience, whether a triumph or a hurdle, contributes to my growth and shapes my entrepreneurial journey.

B-CU: In what specific ways has Bethune-Cookman University played a role in the development and success of your business?

Kofi: Bethune-Cookman University has played a pivotal role in the development and success of my business through various avenues. The comprehensive curriculum in my field has provided me with a strong foundation of knowledge and skills essential for entrepreneurship. Faculty support and mentorship have offered valuable guidance, helping me navigate challenges and make informed decisions. The supportive community at B-CU has fostered a mindset of innovation and resilience. Engaging with fellow students, participating in entrepreneurial events, and accessing resources like workshops and incubator programs have further enriched my entrepreneurial journey. In summary, Bethune-Cookman University has been instrumental in nurturing my entrepreneurial spirit, providing me with the education, support, and connections crucial for the development and success of my business.

Business is Booming for B-CU Junior Kofi Adu Zulu and His Adu Kicks

B-CU: Describe your path to discovering the startup scholars program. What factors influenced your decision to apply, and how has the program impacted your entrepreneurial endeavors?

Kofi: Applying for the Startup Scholars Program was an unequivocal decision prompted by the guidance of Ms. [Jewel] Harper, a scholarship advisor at Bethune-Cookman University. She informed me about the program and recommended that I apply, given that I met the requirements. These included having run a business on an HBCU campus for at least a year and submitting a business pitch video that provided a detailed description of my venture. The straightforward eligibility criteria and the opportunity to showcase my business made the decision to apply to the program an obvious choice.

B-CU: If granted the $10,000 business grant, what are your plans for utilizing the funds to enhance your business further?

Kofi: If I win this grant, I would be immensely grateful as it would be a game-changer for AduKicks. The funds would enable us to reach new customers in different cities, expand our team to meet high demand, and potentially open a shop beyond campus. This expansion would not only allow for a more centralized cleaning and restoration hub but also establish a convenient drop-off and pick-up spot for our customers.

B-CU: What are your post-graduation aspirations? Do you plan to continue and expand your business? Are there specific expansion plans you can outline?

Kofi: After graduating I plan on moving to Atlanta GA, where I plan on beginning the start of a huge franchise. My goal is to have an Adukicks business at a numerous count of locations. Eventually it will be a nationwide expansion to all college campuses to make it convenient for all students to always have clean sneakers. 

B-CU: Reflect on any significant insights gained from your participation in the startup scholars program. How has the program specifically benefited your business?

Participating in the Startup Scholars Program has been a transformative experience, providing me with significant insights that have directly impacted my business. The program's emphasis on strategic planning and market analysis has refined my approach to business development. Through workshops and mentorship, I gained a deeper understanding of customer needs and effective marketing strategies.

Networking within the program has proven to be a game-changer. Connecting with like-minded entrepreneurs, industry experts, and potential collaborators has expanded my business network and opened doors to partnerships and opportunities that I might not have encountered otherwise.

B-CU: Based on your experiences in starting and running a business, what advice would you offer to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Kofi: As someone who has navigated the challenges of starting and running a business, my advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to prioritize having a solid business plan. Don't start a business just for the sake of it; instead, develop a concrete plan that serves as the foundation for your venture. A well-thought-out business plan not only provides direction but also becomes a roadmap to guide your decisions and actions, setting the stage for long-term success.