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Ivy Tech Entrepreneurship Student Spotlight - Ryan Ryker

Where some see trash, others see treasure. But Zokos founders, Ryan Ryker and Rod Baradaran see opportunity. “Eight out of 10 Amazon returns are thrown in the trash,” Ryker explains and clarifies that the majority of these returned items are in perfect condition.

In April of 2020, Ryker and Baradaran saw this blackhole of inventory as a profitable opportunity and started Zokos, an ecommerce company that buys and sells returned online goods from companies like Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, and more.

In less than one year and during a global pandemic, what started as a two-person operation with a half truck load of inventory in just 400 square feet of facility space has flourished into a growing team now operating in a 15,000 square foot facility, having sourced a quarter of a million dollars in returned goods during the first two months of 2021.

As a South Bend native himself, Ryker is motivated by the good his company is doing for the South Bend area community and beyond. Zokos transforms what is otherwise considered waste into accessible, quality home goods for people in the local community and surrounding areas. “This is my hometown. I want to see it succeed,” Ryker says. While the company may be sourcing its inventory from all over the world, Zokos harnesses local resources for its business operations. See more at

The Entrepreneurship Program at Ivy Tech offers students practical lessons in business start-up and management through our partnership with the Regional Innovation and Startup Education (RISE). With RISE, students will build ecosystems, create a business model canvas, work with a mentor, and learn from and network with guest speakers and entrepreneurs. Students will also have the opportunity to pitch to investors for funding for their business. To date, the entrepreneurship program has assisted in the launching of many business ventures across Indiana. Get more information here.

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