Student launches business to help international students

BLOOMINGTON –  Ivy Tech software development student Joshua Johnson recently started a business called Hopper Home Helper, LLC., specifically designed to help ease the transition to Bloomington for international students. The business provides 24/7 concierge-like service to connect customers with transportation, housing, dining and grocery options, translation services, and more.

In April 2017, Johnson placed second for his business idea in the Ivy Tech’s Duke It Out Business Pitch Competition, sponsored by Duke Energy. He launched his business and website,  www.usehopper.com, in June 2017.

“I have been doing Chinese language exchange for the last two years, and the topic of how difficult it is to get situated in Bloomington keep arising,” said Johnson. “I used the Duke It Out event as a chance to pitch my business idea to address this common issue.”

Johnson also works part-time in Ivy Tech’s Express Enrollment Center, specifically helping guest students, many of whom are international.

“I met one student who, after arriving in Indianapolis, had a hard time finding transportation to Bloomington,” said Johnson. “I hear the same experience from many other students.”

Johnson is president of Ivy Tech Bloomington’s Student Government Association and is working toward associate degrees in software development and paralegal studies. Johnson said that his education and professors have been helpful in launching his website.

“As a software development student, I have the skills to create custom code and I can also make informed database decisions,” said Johnson. “I understand how databases, webpages and hosting are connected, and how to use plug-ins to make the website more efficient. One of my instructors, David Marrero, also helped support me in initial stages of the website by answering questions about design and formatting.”

Johnson is currently working with local apartment complexes and other local businesses to place flyers at their locations. The flyers are written in English and Chinese.

“We offer packages tailored specifically for international residents, although services are available to all customers,” said Johnson. “We are now accepting applications for 2017-18 services.”

Johnson plans to graduate in May 2018 and is applying to the Indiana University School of Informatics. He hopes to start a bachelor’s degree in informatics in the Fall 2018 semester.

Johnson received the Ford/EEOC Scholarship and the IU Credit Union Returning Student Scholarship from the Ivy Tech Foundation, and the SGA President’s Scholarship.

Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus offers eight degrees in computing. Information can be found online at ivytech.edu/computers. To enroll at Ivy Tech, visit ivytech.edu/applynow, stop into Ivy Tech Bloomington located at 200 Daniels Way, or call (812) 330-6013. Ivy Tech is open Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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