From “Intro to Social Psych” to starting my own business

Ebenezer Neequaye is a junior in LAS, where he currently studies Psychology (Industrial/Organizational) with a minor in Business.
Photo courtesy of iVenture.

Ebenezer Neequaye is a junior in LAS, where he currently studies Psychology (Industrial/Organizational) with a minor in Business. Born in Ghana but raised in Chicago, Neequaye is passionate about using his social science degree to challenge preconceived social norms and educate others culturally in the arena of entrepreneurship.


When you think of the current entrepreneurship ecosystem, which is heavily dominated by technology, I may not be the typical person that comes to mind.

I have a diverse background of interests and involvement on campus:

  • I study Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
  • I am an active member for the African American fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi, and the co-ed entrepreneurial fraternity Sigma Eta Pi.
  • And I’m interested in challenging social norms that result in unfair business practices.

But from this diverse background of interests, I’ve also grown into a student entrepreneur. Through the iVenture Accelerator program, earlier this year I started a company named 1ST WRLD, which is a clothing company that promotes economic growth and cultural awareness for Ghanaian entrepreneurs by marketing American streetwear fused with native fabrics to U.S. consumers.

My coursework in the College of LAS has laid a foundation for my business venture, proving that a liberal arts education can go hand-in-hand with entrepreneurship.

Some of my favorite classes have been Intro to Social Psych, Learning and Memory, Fashion Illustration, and Intro to African American Studies – all of which taught me how to cultivate my passions into productive endeavors. They have expanded my entrepreneurial mindset, helped me understand what motivates people in their interactions and beliefs, and opened my eyes to how cultural factors directly affect behaviors.

Whether you view yourself as a “typical” entrepreneur or not, the College of LAS and the University of Illinois is the place for you to explore your interests, develop creative ambition, and make lasting changes in the world.

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Ebenezer Neequaye