APU alumni work on social good movement

Tphoto.PNGhey’ve played as Azusa Pacific international transfer soccer players, co-founded a company and worked as community development managers. Now, Sven Simon and Gareth Tomlinson find themselves settled into a startup in Glendora called eGood.

“We’re not just calling it a company, it’s a movement — a social good movement,” said Simon.

eGood partners with businesses to give a certain percentage of each transaction to nonprofits or causes of companies’ choice. Nutrishop, for example, chose to donate to the APU Athletics Department for a period of time.

Before co-founding eGood in 2010, Simon was working at an advertising agency with large clients and nonprofits at the same time.

“The idea slowly formed, and so at some point we started creating an internal project within the agency,” said Simon. “From there we started developing in-house and then in 2010 had a pretty solid foundation of what this concept would really look like, and then raised capital to basically start another company.”

Both Simon and Tomlinson graduated from undergraduate and graduate programs at APU. Simon received his bachelor of science in international business in 2006 and his master of business administration in 2008. Tomlinson received his bachelor of arts in sociology in 2010 and finished his master’s in organizational leadership in 2012.

The original idea for the company didn’t come to Simon while he was at APU, but he said working in an environment where work and values align is rewarding.

“I think it prepared me in terms of my character development and my personal development,” said Tomlinson. “The organizational leadership aspect of what I studied and focused on helped me understand people, know people and obviously the values APU instilled helped the personal development, the character development.”

Simon said the APU community shaped his core values while his business education studies prepared him in other practical ways.

“I was very happy with my MBA program. It was very hands-on. I came straight out of undergrad into the MBA program, so you’re with people who have been in the business world 10 to 20 to 30 years, like VPs of banks and people who have a lot of experience,” Simon said. “For me, coming out of undergrad with basically no real-world business experience, sitting in a room with these people and the class being very interactive … having real world simulations and discussions and all that kind of stuff, that’s been huge for me.”

Simon and Tomlinson both played for the soccer team during their time here. Simon said being an athlete and a student has helped him learn to manage his time well.

“That competitive nature we have as athletes probably more than non-athletes is for me a big driver of success in the business world,” he said.

Both founders said they hope APU students will get involved with the company to be able to give back to the community.

“We’d love for people to get online, every APU student get an account, shop at participating [businesses], do good and have these businesses donate on their behalf and share with the world,” Simon said.

Tomlinson believes eGood can be beneficial for APU students while also aligning with their values.

“It allows users and business customers to consciously choose good,” said Tomlinson. “They know when they go to that location that has the eGood platform, they make a difference just by shopping there. They know essentially their sale is going toward a nonprofit or cause that doesn’t cost them anything. … It speaks to what we know about the generation of APU students, that they are more socially aware, socially involved, socially conscious.”

Students can use eGood to fundraise for their own event, cause or nonprofit as well. Both online at eGood.com and on the mobile app, users can suggest business and cause pairings. Simon and Tomlinson encouraged students to make an account and download the app.

“I know APU creates a lot of mission trips with teams that need a lot of fundraisers, and we do digital fundraisers as well,” said Tomlinson. “If they’re looking to partner with a businesses to do fundraisers, we can do it with local businesses. … It’s an automated system, it’s efficient, it’s simpler, it eliminates paper, it’s the kind of go green, go digital.”

Although eGood is currently only in southern California, Simon and Tomlinson hope to see the social good movement expand globally in the future.