Tag: Entrepreneurship



The 2017 finalists for EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year awards for the Central Midwest include two Olin alumni: David Dresner, BSBA ’10, and Chuck Cohn, BSBA ’08. The annual awards program, now in its 31st year, recognizes entrepreneurs who excel in innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

Cohn was honored this month as an Emerging Leader at Olin. Link to related blog post.

This year, there are eight finalists from the St. Louis area, up from three in 2016:

  • Scott Scully of Abstrakt Marketing Group, a full-serve marketing company;
  • Allan Connolly of Aclara, which offers smart infrastructure solutions (SIS) to gas and electric utilities;
  • Dan Geraty of Clearent, a merchant services company;
  • David Dresner of Sleeve a Message, which produces custom coffee sleeves;
  • Adam Tilford and Jason Tilford of Tilford Restaurant Group, which runs Mission Taco Joint and other Mexican restaurants in the region;
  • Charles “Chuck” Cohn of Varsity Tutors, which offers one-on-one, personalized tutoring services;
  • Bruce Holland of Holland Construction Services, based in Swansea, Ill.
  • Donald Welge of Gilster-Mary Lee Corp. a private-label food manufacturer based in Chester, Ill.

David Lockton, chairman of the board of Creve Coeur-based Lockton Companies, will be recognized and presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. St. Louis area award winners will be announced at a reception on May 17.

Source: EY news release

CATEGORY: Career, News



Sports, much like business, represent a global entity. No matter the sport, the values created and embedded on the court, mat, and field don’t just lie within the lines. How can the drive and passion for sports carry over to society, where individuals can enhance business organizations and their own enterprises with their background in sportsmanship? In turn, how do sports shape society? The 2017 Leadership Perspectives series continued by discussing these topics and more at the Charles F. Knight Executive Education Center at Olin.

The St. Louis Business Journal’s Senior Reporter, Brian Feldt, moderated the forum. The panelists included Solomon Alexander, Foundation Director, St. Louis Sports Commission; Drew Caylor, Partner, Louis York Capital & EMBA Alumnus; Khalia Collier, Owner/General Manager, St. Louis Surge Women’s Basketball; Tim Hayden, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Stadia Ventures; and Greg Waldbaum, CEO, 3D Lacrosse & Olin Alumnus.

Each of the panelists brought a unique perspective on the contribution of sports, with commentary on topics ranging from the value of trophies in kids’ sports leagues to the recruiting of high school and professional athletes. One attendee brought her high school-aged son to learn from the panel’s experiences. Waldbaum pointed out that “grades and more grades” are most important in college scouting, emphasizing the importance of success in the classroom as well as in competition. However, he specified that colleges contact high school coaches quite frequently to find out how players perform as a team player and how they lead and show good sportsmanship. Much like academics, sports play a key role in opening up opportunities for getting into a reach school.

On the impact of sports on leadership, Collier noted, “96 percent of women at the executive level attribute their success to sports.” The St. Louis Surge players not only serve as All-American NCAA athletes, but also as role models and mentors, fostering the next generation of leaders. Caylor, who spent several of his early post-college years in the NFL as a center, is a prime example of how sports values also carry over to a business career. Caylor realized that although his true passion and talents lie more within the financial industry, he still balanced the technical skills necessary for the investment sector with the team and collaborative-based skills learned on the field.

In a similar vein, Hayden brought up a fun fact: “Junior Bridgeman is the second-wealthiest athlete”—not holistically due to athletic achievements, but due to entrepreneurship in using his sports salary to buy and invest in franchises both in and out of the sports world. Hayden and Waldbaum both agreed on how experiencing the reality of either a ‘W’ or a ‘L’ in sports educates a former athlete on how to rebound after a failure as an entrepreneur and problem solve when it comes to adapting strategies for business.

In addition to skills for the job market, perhaps the most applicable takeaway of the session, and of sport itself, is learning invaluable life lessons on how to be a teammate and an emphatic human being. Collier underscored that much more than stats contribute to an athlete’s success—character, she said, speaks volumes.

As the forum ended, Solomon Alexander said, to a round of applause, that the best translation of sportsmanship to society is “treating each other like a fellow human being in the most respectful way.”




WashU’s The Source profiles a few of the entrepreneurs and innovators who also happen to be graduating this month and three Olin students are among those featured. All of these students have launched businesses and developed innovative technologies that are improving human health, addressing global issues and helping investors achieve their goals.

We’ve been following these students since they arrived at Olin and chronicling their success here on the blog and in Olin Business Magazine. We can’t wait to see what they do next! Congratulations to all!!

Mary-Brent Brown

Mary Brent Brown (second from left), cuts the candy ribbon at the Bear-y Sweet Shoppe opening with co-founders: Jessica Landzberg, Kaiyley Dreyfus, and Shea Gouldd.

B.S. Healthcare management, Olin Business School

Co-founder, Bear-y Sweet Shoppe and Kids Wanna Help

Responding to pent-up student demand for gummy worms, Brown co-founded the South 40 candy store  Bear-y Sweet Shoppe with fellow Olin seniors Jessica Landzberg and Shea Gouldd, and Kailey Dreyfus, who graduated in 2016. Brown also is still active in Kids Wanna Help, the nonprofit she started at age 12 to promote fundraising among young people.

Markey Culver

Markey Culver teaches intro to baking bread class in Rwanda.

MBA, Olin Business School

Founder: The Women’s Bakery

Through her social enterprise, The Women’s Bakery, Culver has created economic opportunities for women in Rwanda and Tanzania by training them to build, operate, manage and sustain their own bakeries. Related blog post.

 

Andrew Glantz

Jacob Mohrman , BSBA’16, (left), and Andrew Glantz of GIftAMeal app were featured in Olin Business Magazine 2016.

B.A., Leadership and Strategic Management, Olin Business School

Founder & CEO: GiftAMeal

Glantz founded mobile app GiftAMeal in 2014 as a way to fight hunger and promote St. Louis restaurants. GiftAMeal has since expanded to Chicago and Detroit and has provided 50,000 meals to those in need. Users simply snap and post of photo of their meal, and GiftAMeal funds a meal through a partner food bank.

Read more Class Acts of 2017 here.

Guest Blogger: Diane Toroian Keaggy, WashU’s The Source

CATEGORY: Career, Student Life



“I’ve loved combining my marketing and entrepreneurship studies to consult with a startup on creating an innovative marketing solution,” says Allison Halpern, BSBA’18 and member of a CELect team working with St. Louis-based Givable. “The hands-on nature of the CEL has helped me grow and apply my studies in a truly unique way!”

CELect stands for: Center for Experiential Learning (CEL) Entrepreneurial Consulting Team and this is an occasional series of interviews with students participating in the program that pairs consultants with St. Louis startups.

CEL: Who is your client and what made you interested in working with them?

Halpern: I am consulting with a startup at T-REX, called Givable. Givable is a micro-giving platform that makes charitable donations simple with daily, engaging emails. I really love Givable’s mission to make charitable giving more accessible and believe they have an innovative way to do so.

Click here to learn more (this is definitely a shameless plug).

Our consulting project is to create a marketing strategy to attract more users. As someone who values community involvement and utilizing creative problem solving to build awareness, this project fits me perfectly.

givable picture

CEL: How does this class help you with your future aspirations?

Halpern: In the future, I hope to work in a marketing role, assisting and consulting clients strategically. I like the fast-paced and innovative culture that comes with client work. So, working with Givable to create a marketing strategy is really right up my alley. This summer I am interning at Facebook in the Global Marketing Solutions department to help clients optimize their advertising on Facebook platforms. I will be working on a team conducting research to better understand best digital marketing practices for clients. My CELect project involved extensively researching the industry, company, and trends to create a highly implementable plan and I think that experience will help me at Facebook.  This work has provided me with great group experience to speak about in interviews and helps me apply my knowledge from classes and internships in a very real-world way.

daniel

CEL Director Daniel Bentle advising Allison on client proposal

CEL: How does this experience differ from other classes?

Halpern: Well first of all, there are no classes, but there still are deliverables! Everything is on our own time which helps build time management skills and autonomous deadline planning. Second, I love that the class works with a client and provides real-world exposure to consulting projects. My other classes have built a basis for my business knowledge and CELect is letting me apply what I have learned to create impact in the local St. Louis community.

team planning

Weekly Givable Team Meeting (Adam Brock, Allison Halpern, Andrew Mackin, Nirav Patel)

CEL: What advice would you give to students interested in CELect?

Halpern: I think this is a great program if you want to try a hybrid role between starting your own company and consulting others to create business success. If you want a better grasp on the St. Louis startup eco-system and real-world consulting experience, CELect is a great program for you. While working on the project, I would say it is important to keep an open mind to potential solutions and take the time to understand every alternative. Lastly, have fun with it. Consulting projects are a time for you to apply what you know, think outside of the box, and innovate which is a really great experience.

posed team

Team photo after final presentation. (Pictured from left to right – Adam Brock, Andrew Mackin, Elise Hastings, Allison Halpern, Nirav Patel)

Related blog post.




Out of 28 applications from across the world, seven finalists have been selected to compete for an award of up to $50,000 in the 4th annual Global Impact Award (GIA) finals in October. Four of the seven finalists have Olin alumni or current students on their teams.

Hosted by the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Skandalaris), GIA is made possible by the generous donation of alumnus Suren G. Dutia and his wife, Jas K. Grewal. The competition is for early stage ventures that are scalable, sustainable, and quick-to-market with proof of concept and a broad impact. In order to apply, ventures must have at least one Washington University in St. Louis student, postdoctoral researcher, or recent alumnus (less than 10 years) holding a significant role on the team.

Each of the finalists will be assigned mentors who are experts in fields relevant to their ventures. Over the next six months, finalists will work alongside their assigned mentors and Skandalaris staff as they prepare their deliverables for the final pitch competition in October.

Emre Toker, Managing Director of the Skandalaris Center, commented, “We look forward to the Global Impact Award each year, as it is an opportunity for Washington University to see what both our students as well as alumni are achieving in entrepreneurship. We are excited about this year’s finalists and look forward to watching the progress they make in the next six months.”

Congratulations to the four finalist teams with Olin alumni or current students:

AirZaar, Inc

AirZaar is an enterprise software company providing image-processing & data analytics for mining, construction & infrastructure clients to make actionable decisions while disrupting accuracy levels of surveying reports utilizing visual intelligence. AirZaar’s turnkey automated solution provides clients with actionable intelligence in minutes, reducing costs & optimizing efficiency while performing safer industrial operations.

WashU team members:

  • Ravi Sahu, MBA ’14
  • Ali Ahmadi, MBA ’15

B-Agro Solutions

B-Agre Solutions is focused on becoming the leading provider of mechanized agricultural solutions in Ghana and across Africa. We partner with subsistence farmers in a collective group, train them, and use modern farm techniques and equipment to produce grains for sale.

WashU team members:

  • Anthony Ackah-Nyanzu, MS ’17, Finance
  • Dennis Awuku, BS ’12, Accounting
  • Donny Yoder
  • Adelaide Aboagye, MSW ’15, Social & Economic Development

Geneoscopy

Geneoscopy is developing a screening methodology to noninvasively diagnose CRC using biomarkers in stool samples. CRC is the second deadliest cancer in the U.S., primarily due to flawed screening methodologies, which results in late-stage detection of the disease. Geneoscopy’s technology solves the problems associated with existing screening methodologies, allowing for reduced mortality rates and better health outcomes.

WashU team members:

  • Erica Barnell, MD/PhD ’21, Molecular Genetics and Genomics
  • Andrew Barnell, MBA ’17
  • Yiming Kang, PhD ’22, Computer Science

GiftAMeal

GiftAMeal is a socially conscious marketing platform for restaurants that helps provide a meal to someone in need each time a user takes a photo at a participating location. Restaurants pay a monthly subscription to be involved and provide customers with another incentive to patron their location.

WashU team members:

  • Andrew Glantz, BSBA ’17, Leadership & Strategic Management
  • Aidan Folbe, BSBA ’19
  • Jacob Mohrmann, BSBA ’16, Marketing

Link here to see all seven finalists.