John L. Dudley '95
Winston Hall, 101
“Hampden-Sydney College is an unbelievable setting with unbelievable people, and I had unbelievable times. Even though my rationale was shallow, everything worked out wonderfully.”
Turning passion into profits
Like greatness, some people are born entrepreneurs and others have entrepreneurship thrust upon them.
by John Dudley '95
Coite Manuel '99, the creator of Food Chain, falls into the latter category. In January 2009, he was laid off from his job in economic development helping low-income people and areas in Washington, D.C. Faced with few job prospects in a terrible economy, he decided to go out on his own.
"I was working to help other people start businesses, so I was interested in trying my hand at it," says Manuel. "Also, I really liked the autonomy that comes with it, the newness of what happens every day."
In popular parts of Washington, you can find dozens of food carts parked on the sidewalk. They each sell the same things for the same prices; no one has much competitive advantage. Manuel wanted to help these vendors make more money (and some for himself) by supplying them with better products to sell at a higher profit margin. He would cook gourmet-style meats for products such as barbecue sandwiches and tacos rather than their typical fare: cheap, steamed hot dogs. Full Story...
From passion to possibility
Teaching young men how to turn an idea into a profitable business has long been a course at the School of Hard Knocks, but, thanks to some new programs and the help of alumni, it is now part of the curriculum at Hampden-Sydney College.
by John Dudley ’95
The Center for Entrepreneurship and Political Economy (CEPE) offers many opportunities for students to develop the skills to implement new ideas, including the Business Leaders Lecture Series, the 90-Day Entrepreneur Boot Camp, and the Social Entrepreneurship Initiative.
The entrepreneurship program began organically a number of years ago when Charles Cabell '74 approached Dr. Justin Isaacs '95, an associate professor of economics and business, with the idea of having a business development contest (Isaacs now runs the entrepreneurship programs for CEPE). Under the guidance of the economics department, students would compete for venture capital by creating a business plan, writing a letter of intent, and pitching their concept.
Now only a few years later, this simple contest has evolved into a two-year program designed to teach and inspire budding entrepreneurs at Hampden-Sydney; it is the pinnacle of the entrepreneurship curriculum at the College.
Along the way, Isaacs recruited more alumni to hear students pitch their ideas and to provide constructive feedback-a forum now called "The Tiger Den." Warren Thompson '81, Todd Flemming '85, Andy Freitas '92, and Dr. Lawrence Caplin '86 were some of the first alumni to get on board, listening to 30-minute pitches from aspiring entrepreneurs.
"These guys were floored by how cool it was," says Isaacs of the alumni. "They have been tremendous supporters." Full Story...
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