The Distinguished Entrepreneurs Lunch program, sponsored by Neider & Boucher, S.C., wrapped up another exciting and fun-filled year! The popular and well attended weekly lunch series had entrepreneurs from a ip-based voice application company, a local farm to table restaurant, a salad shop, a video production company, a sports facility and a sportswear company to name a few. Many of the distinguished entrepreneurs participating are alumni and each has a distinct story.
To get an understanding for how educational and inspiring the lunches can be, I spoke with Priyanka Verma, an MBA student, who has attended several discussions this semester. Priyanka is working with a fellow student, Jennifer Lane, in the Weinert Applied Ventures in Entrepreneurship (WAVE) class on a new venture in the beauty and health industry so she attends the lunches that relate to her interests or industry.
One lunch that was especially beneficial for Priyanka and Jennifer was Max Steir’s discussion on his SaladsUp restaurants located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Madison. Just like Priyanka’s future endeavor, Max’s restaurant chain is located on college campuses. During the presentation, Priyanka learned how truly imperative it is to have an excellent retail location on each campus. In addition, Max was willing to meet with her post-lunch to discuss her venture.
The Weinert Center was able to connect Priyanka, Jennifer, and Max via email. During their coffee chat, Max was open about his successes and missteps. He offered tips on how to best market to college students and reiterated how important it is to know your business and industry inside and out. To test Priyanka and Jennifer, he asked very detailed questions about their venture. It was the first time they had a real conversation about their business, so it was insightful to see what they knew well and what holes in their knowledge needed to be filled.
The best takeaway from Priyanka’s story is that most entrepreneurs that participate in the Distinguished Entrepreneurs Lunch program enjoy talking to the students about their endeavors and offer to meet up with them to discuss and exchange ideas. These entrepreneurs enjoy giving back to the University/Madison community and are always willing to offer advice and support students looking to get their ideas off the ground. We are so thankful to all of the distinguished entrepreneurs who participate in this programming. The fall luncheon series begins on Wednesday, September 20th! We can’t wait!