Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Monthly Newsletter: March 2019
In this month's newsletter: 
  • Alumnus Entrepreneur Spotlight: Shawn True '00 of Trooz Cleats
  • Business Booster Workshop for Pre-start & Startups
  • Upcoming Events
Alumnus Entrepreneur Spotlight: Shawn True '00
Creator of Soccer Cleats Designed for Women
For many of us, lightbulb moments happen when we least expect it. Eight years ago, that’s what happened to North Central College (NC) alumnus Shawn True ‘00. One day, while working as a personal trainer at Activation Fitness, one of his clients – Kelsey Graham, a high school soccer player at the time – complained of discomfort in her feet and joints. Shawn had been regularly working with her to strengthen her ankles and feet, and he was determined to get to the bottom of her problem. He then asked to see her soccer cleats. 

With Kelsey’s permission, Shawn proceeded to cut apart the shoes. He confirmed what he had suspected: Kelsey’s feet and her cleats didn’t match at all! The cleats unnaturally curved in, and the toe box came to a point, restricting Kelsey’s ability to move properly. The wheels in his head started turning. Many of his clients had various neurological disorders and spinal cord injuries, so it was second nature to Shawn to create makeshift adaptations to the gym’s equipment so that his clients could move with ease and comfort. He knew that Kelsey needed better shoes. Upon discovering that no one in the cleat world was catering to the needs of female soccer players, his quest to create better soccer cleats began.  

Shawn reached out to his networks and built a team that shared his vision, naming his company Trooz. In 2012, after working with award-winning shoe designer Jamie Horton, his team started testing their prototype with soccer players of all ages and backgrounds, including recreational and elite athletes. Their market research revealed that women, in particular, wanted cleats that were specifically designed for their feet.  
Trooz's research discovered that women’s feet have distinct proportions: they generally have a wider forefoot, higher arches, and slimmer heels. With the guidance of an all-women advisory board that includes orthopedic physicians and former professional athletes, his team created a new prototype. After more than six years of field testing and deep listening to female athletes of all ages and skill levels, and from all field sports – soccer, lacrosse, rugby, field hockey, softball, baseball, and football – Trooz finally launched MBrace, the first cleats in the world specifically designed for women’s feet. 

Trooz is now taking pre-orders through their website. MBrace is currently on sale at 20% off, and $10 from every pair sold will be donated to Celebrate the TaTas, a nonprofit organization that raises funds for breast cancer research. 

Kelsey Graham (pictured here, holding the first Trooz prototype), who went on to become an All-American goalkeeper at Wheaton College, loves her MBrace. “It’s exciting that Trooz has created a cleat that fits women’s feet the way they should. Not only are Trooz more comfortable, I believe they would ultimately help prevent injury and allow girls to be on the pitch longer. I wish I had a pair during my career!” Kelsey now serves on the Trooz Advisory Board.

For Shawn, the ultimate reward is finding a solution to a long-standing problem. “When an athlete says -- ‘For the first time, someone listened and created something for me. I feel like this was made for me’ -- that makes me feel good.” 
You have many choices when it comes to incorporating your business and choosing the right accounting software. In this workshop, learn from Steve Shamrock, founder and CEO of Shamrock vCFO Services, who will walk you through the basics of small business taxes, and compare the pros and cons of different business entities and popular accounting software. Learn what to consider before making these important decisions for your startup.

Before starting the practice in 2013, for 25 years Steve was a financial executive in companies large and small, public and private, foreign and domestic. He is also an internationally published author on technical accounting and teaches undergraduate accounting in the Chicago area.

THIS WORKSHOP IS FREE, BUT SPACE IS LIMITED. Please register by March 29 to reserve your spot.

Tuesday, April 2
5:00pm: Networking Reception
5:30pm: Workshop
School of Business & Entrepreneurship, Rm 212
40 N. Brainard St, Naperville, IL