Blake Mycoskie entered SMU in 1995 and got his start as an entrepreneur while he was an undergraduate in Cox School of Business. He credits Jerry White’s entrepreneurship course in the Cox School with inspiring him to launch his own businesses and several times has returned to SMU to speak to White’s classes.
Mycoskie’s first venture was a campus laundry service begun during his sophomore year at SMU and which expanded to seven universities. He launched several other businesses before establishing TOMS Shoes in 2006, combining business savvy with a humanitarian spirit. The idea grew from a trip to Argentina during which he saw countless children without shoes, unable to afford shoes. He returned to California with an inspiration to manufacture shoes based on a traditional Argentinean design and the commitment to give a pair of new shoes to a child in need for every pair sold. To date TOMS has given more than one million pairs of new shoes to children in 28 countries.
Mycoskie recently launched a new One for One product line, TOMS Eyewear. With every pair of sunglasses sold, TOMS will help give sight to someone in need. This would be done in three ways: medical treatment, prescription eyeglasses and cataract surgery. Mycoskie’s One for One social enterprise model is now taught in numerous universities. His work has been recognized with the U.S. Secretary of State’s Award of Corporate Excellence and the Footwear News Brand of the Year Award. People magazine featured him in its “Heroes Among Us” section.