Two Wall Fellows Launch U.S. Division of Icelandic Fish Oil Company
Thursday, September 21st, 2017
LYSI U.S., a new company operated by two Coastal Carolina University students, was officially launched at a reception Sept. 19 in the Conway Innovation Center in Conway, S.C.
LYSI U.S. is the exclusive domestic sales and distribution agent of the Icelandic fish oil giant LYSI, a 79-year-old Reykjavik-based company that is the world leader in producing and refining fish oils for human consumption. The new business was started through an initiative between Coastal Carolina University’s E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration Wall Fellows program and the Icelandic Whales Alumni Association, CCU’s only international alumni organization.
The student entrepreneurs, Sean Edwards and Ross Kunmann, are both members of CCU’s prestigious Wall Fellows program, which prepares top students for high-level careers in major U.S. and international firms. Edwards and Kunmann developed the business plan for their new firm as a result of an applied internship abroad program that gives Wall Fellows the opportunity for hands-on research experiences in Icelandic companies.
LYSI U.S. will focus on marketing and distributing one of the parent company’s chief products, liquid cod liver oil. Part of the challenge in successfully marketing the product, according to Edwards and Kunmann, is to reverse a longstanding negative image of cod liver oil in American popular culture and to demonstrate its value as a quality health supplement. The vitamin-rich oil is highly valued for its health benefits and is available in lemon and lemon-mint flavors.
From their office in the Conway Innovation Center, a business incubator operated as a public/private economic development effort by the regional business and education community, the two entrepreneurs are now conducting market tests of the product, which has already been pre-ordered by a few locations in the Conway, Florence and Myrtle Beach area.
“I’m excited to be visiting my alma mater, and even more excited to introduce our globally adored brand to the U.S. market,” said Adolf Ólason, executive director of marketing and sales for LYSI’s commercial products.
Ólason is a 1989 graduate of CCU and a leader of the Icelandic Whales Alumni Association, which has more than 80 members and funds a scholarship for Icelanders to attend CCU. One of the first Icelandic graduates of CCU, Ólason has been active in creating meaningful collaborative opportunities between the Wall Fellows program and Icelandic businesses and institutions.
“We are especially pleased to announce the launch of this unique new business, which is a special outcome of Coastal Carolina University’s ongoing partnership with our Icelandic alumni,” said CCU President David A. DeCenzo. “This firm, in the capable hands of two CCU student entrepreneurs, will bring particular value and impact to Conway and Horry County. We are especially grateful to Mr. Ólason and our Icelandic alumni for their desire to give back to their University and create real-world opportunities for students.”
Edwards is a senior marketing and communication double major from Florence, S.C. Kunmann is a senior management and accounting double major from Bel Air, Md. Both are scheduled to graduate in 2018 and plan to devote their careers full time to establishing and expanding LYSI U.S.