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Rice entrepreneurs open walk-in study center for youth

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HOUSTON, TX – They say you can learn a lot from an entrepreneur. And at this nondescript studio in the village, that’s exactly the idea. The General Academics Study Lounge, open for business and ready to teach school.

“I started the company in 2003,’ Shelby Joe, co-owner of General Academics says. ‘Before I matriculated at rice as a freshman and my sister actually was at rice as well and she was tutoring and so we thought, ‘well, that’s a nice idea, wouldn’t it be if we could, kind of, do it ourselves.'”

And while tutoring centers aren’t new, it’s the approach these entrepreneurs say that makes the difference.

“We try not to treat them as young people,’ Stephen Hayes explains. ‘We try to treat them as young adults or people who are making decisions for themselves and we try to set-up that type of environment for them.”

And it seems to be working. Since opening their doors, their business has grown so much they couldn’t fit in their building on University Boulevard anymore.  So they moved into these new digs on Bartlett Street, giving them the space to keep doing what they do best.

“It’s much larger,’ Shelby Joe says. ‘It’s nearly three-times as large. It’s 4500 square feet approximately. It’s more loft-like, warehouse like which is something that I appreciate.”

Because when it comes to learning, these guys believe atmosphere is everything.

“The atmosphere is really important to me because it has to be a comfortable environment, of course a safe environment, but a comfortable environment for students and one that’s conducive to learning. A lot of our parents come to us because they’re having trouble with students studying at home for various reasons and we have to make a way to make them want to come here.”