Don’t look now—you may have just met the next Steve Jobs or Kevin Plank. It’s not exaggerating to assert that the six Entrepreneurship Fellows who began their journey together might become a household name in the years to come.
“This is an innovative model of teaching and learning,” says David Lingelbach, assistant professor and academic director of the Entrepreneurship Fellows program. “Time will tell how these six entrepreneurs fare, but what I do know is that each has the potential to launch and grow their ventures and I’m glad I am here to witness it.”
Each entrepreneur has their own talents and goals. Each has, as Prof. Lingelbach stated, the potential. But what makes them tick? What makes them UB Entrepreneurship Fellows?
For Jesse Alton, it is the sense that he will do great things in his life, and entrepreneurship is the vehicle that will drive him to greatness.
“My entire life, I have been a speaker, a thinker, a dreamer, and most importantly, a doer,” Alton says. “I believe in being part of the solution, and intend to make my fortune doing so. I've been inventing and using entrepreneurship my entire life, and I love meeting others who do the same thing.”
Alex Greif is a people person. He’s gained a formidable knowledge base about people, just by taking noncredit classes in body language, micro expressions, and graphology. Greif is a firm believer that to succeed in business, everything starts with relationships, and with studying people’s behavior. These skills have helped him create new business ventures and develop new technologies that could outpace his competitors.
“There are so many opportunities available, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds,” Greif says.
A U.S. Navy veteran, Jacob Harryman takes what he learned while serving as a technician in aviation electronics, combined with the values of honor, courage and commitment, to propel him as an entrepreneur. He’s started several businesses—a landscaping company, a mortgage firm, construction, real estate, even an electrical company— and learned to be reflective about his successes and his failures. Now, as an Entrepreneurship Fellow, education is his priority. He’s learning from seasoned entrepreneurs and his classmates, and maximizing the program’s hands-on experience to grow as an entrepreneur.
“I know the next chapter of my life is going to be even more exciting and filled with even more success,” Harryman says. There’s that strong will again!
Image your family uprooting and moving 7,000 miles at the age of 11 to a new country and not being able to speak the language. That was one of the life-changing events Emily Kim had to overcome as an immigrant from South Korea. Add that the month after she arrived with her family the 9/11 attacks occurred—an event that deeply affected Kim’s immigrant family—and you have a tight-knit group intent on overcoming their challenges. They even faced a case of green card fraud, perpetrated upon them by unscrupulous people. Shurgging off all of that, Kim found the spirit of entrepreneurship while attending Howard Community College. She discovered her passion for creating new ventures.
“I’ve learned that sometimes taking the rocky road will allow you to learn so many things in life that you cannot pay to learn,” Kim says.
Asad Rizvi life revolves around creativity and ingenuity. Rizvi has founded and co-founded several firms, including a recent venture in which he led a team of developers in the Nike+ Accelerator hosted by Techstars. His team reached the semifinals, and after the competition was over, Rizvi became founder and CEO of xRaze, a mobile application and website development firm. When he’s not in class, he’s shadowing other business owners and picking up insights into the realities of modern business, or he’s indulging his passion for philosophy.
“I like to engage in conversations that stir thoughts,” Razi says. That’s a good way to describe his take on business—and on life.
Positive attitude, creative outlooks and a passion for helping others embodies what Chris Wilson is all about. From an early age, Wilson yearned to explore the world around him. He read books, climbed trees and played chess —the indicators of a curious mind. Taking inspiration from Plato’s allegory of the cave, he kept searching for self-enlightenment and a path that would allow him to help people and build community. It didn’t take long for him to find his way to UB, where he is earning a business degree while also establishing himself as a resource coordinator for the Greater Homewood Community Corporation. He embraces the fact that he is in a program of like-minded students, professors and local entrepreneurs, and looks forward to growing his businesses and having a deeper social impact in the community where he lives and works.
“I am on a mission to help build and advance an ecosystem of social innovation and inclusive economic development for Baltimore,” Wilson says. “It’s the perfect time for the city to adopt a more entrepreneurial approach.”
Keep up with the Entrepreneurship Program and the students that are trying to change the world one business at a time by visiting www.ubalt.edu/gazelles.