From printing to popsicles, the Entrepreneurship Fair on Nov. 16, part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, had a little something for every type of budding business owner.
Lipscomb University’s Center for Entrepreneurship brought in nine local business owners to the Bennett Campus Center to talk to students about entrepreneurship. Students were able to interact with recent college grads who started their own company as well as a long-standing business owner who has operated in Nashville for more than 30 years, from web-based and high-tech firms, to brick-and-mortar outlets.
Irma Paz Bernstein, founder of Las Paletas , which specializes in Mexican style popsicles and has achieved national recognition on the Food Channel, was one of the most popular business owners at the fair – partly because of her success and partly because she brought popsicles. Every student who completed a questionnaire by talking to the business owners received a Las Paletas treat.
“The main focus of the event was to introduce students of any major to the idea that they can practice what they love and be an entrepreneur in that field if they wish to,” said Joe Ivey, executive director of Lipscomb’s Center for Entrepreneurship. “Some of the students who came to the fair weren’t even sure what entrepreneurship was, but they left with some concrete examples in their minds of people who made starting their own business not only a viable option, but an economic success.”
The center currently offers undergraduate students of any major a minor in entrepreneurship and a concentration in entrepreneurship for management majors.
Among the participating businesses at the Entrepreneurship Fair were:
- Cell Journalist, a web-based company that provides a platform for users to quickly and easily share the news and community events that are important to them, owned by brothers Parker and Colin Polidor;
- Triple Thread, a newly established T-shirt printing business, founded by Vanderbilt University alumnus Kyle McCollom;
- Fox’s Donut Den, a Nashville staple, owned by Dr. Norman Fox;
- Sagents, an online trading post, owned by Raj Menon and LeShane Greenhill;
- Teach Twice, a social enterprise that hires people in Third World countries to write and produce children’s books and sells the books containing multi-cultural, educational stories to families in America, co-founded by Trevor Burbank;
- Fit U, a fitness company aimed to deliver medically-approved weight loss regimens to the masses, represented by Stacie Pawlicki;
- Rent Stuff, an E-bay-style online company allowing individuals to rent equipment to each other, founded by Christopher Jaeger, and
- Las Paletas, a Nashville-based gourmet popsicle maker, owned by sisters Norma and Irma Paz.
The variety of businesses represented a number of recent trends young people have shown an interest in, including two social entrepreneurship ventures: Teach Twice, and Triple Thread, which hires former prison inmates as employees to help them learn job skills and boost their resumes.
Triple Thread was of particular interest to students as it is operated by recent two Vanderbilt University graduates, who are close in age to the students now in school.
“These are entrepreneurs that the students can relate to and show them that they are not too young to start their own business if they would like to,” said Ivey.