Syracuse Surge Accelerator-Meet the Teams: Clutch Delivery
Posted on November 22, 2023
Celestin Abwe thinks of his family when he thinks of his entrepreneurial journey. Abwe recalls watching his grandparents work in the Democratic Republic of Congo, his grandfather farming and his grandmother selling items at the markets.
“Entrepreneurship has always been in my blood,” said Abwe. “My grandparents from both sides have always been entrepreneurs, whether it's restaurants, whether it's making actual products.”
When arriving in Kenya as refugees, Abwe and his family leaned on that entrepreneurial spirit. Refugees had very few opportunities for employment, so Abwe and his family worked in creative ways to earn the money they needed to survive.
“My sisters used to do different things. I used to sell snacks on the roads. I used to carry water for people in the wheelbarrow, carry sand for construction. You name it, I've probably done it,” said Abwe.
Once in America, Abwe started a drone photography business during high school and eventually made his way to Le Moyne College to study finance and entrepreneurship. It was at Le Moyne where Abwe launched Clutch Delivery, the business that got him into the Syracuse Surge Accelerator.
Abwe said he was up one night wishing someone could bring food to where he was living on campus, and not just leave it outside a building as food delivery services typically do.
“It’s very difficult for their drivers to deliver on a college campus. They don't know the layout of the campus. They don't have access to the buildings, and they can't find parking on a college campus.”
Abwe’s solution: Employ students. They have greater access to campus facilities and it’s an added security benefit for campuses, knowing who is in their buildings. But Abwe said one of the big differences between Clutch and other delivery services is the way it employs students.
Unlike many delivery services that treat those doing work for them as contractors, Clutch Delivery brings on students as employees. Abwe said that means pay is standardized and there are opportunities for growth. He thinks of it as a “revolution,” allowing college students an environment to learn, earn and grow all at the same time.
“I want it to be a full circle moment,” said Abwe. “You start a business; you pay people well and you create a culture that's positive. Hopefully, once they leave and go to a different company, or they create their own company, they can create that same culture and build that same synergy where people are connected. You can work together and help build opportunities for each other.”
In just a few months of participating in the Syracuse Surge Accelerator, Abwe has already received personalized assistance from the program in order to grow his network of mentors and collaborators, connect to new potential customers and secure additional funding to develop a mobile app and redesign the Clutch Delivery website. His next milestones in the Accelerator include working with CASE at Syracuse University to hire staff and expand Clutch Delivery's operational footprint.
To learn more about Clutch Delivery, visit their website or Instagram page. If you have a startup that you think would be right for the Syracuse Surge Accelerator, please click here to fill out our interest form and receive information about when applications open for the next cohort.
Photo by Shanay Bradley-Light to the Darkness Photography
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