Startups | Projects that were started in B-School

Hi everyone,

It has been a while since my last post. The semester is almost over and as I reflect on the last two years, I realize how much work we have put into it. Today I wanted to highlight 6 startups and projects that were started by my peers while in business school.

Lenore Champagne Beirne and Ronica Reddick met at Stern and they are both currently working on a project called the Little Bright Notebook. It is a project design tool for creators and innovators. They combined their experience in coaching, entrepreneurship, and creative work to build a notebook that helps you plan for your next big idea.

Little Bright

Leah Shisha and Isha Vij also met at Stern, and they decided to launch Caper: a company that plans and organizes bachelorette parties. They both realized that there was an opportunity to take the stress out of the planning and to create an amazing experience for the bride-to-be and her friends.

caperco3

Chris Shaw has decided to use his previous military experience to start an innovative leadership program, called CORE leader. His company offers different team building and leadership activities that can be tailored for your team.

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Sarah Manning started Colabas, an ecommerce store. She started it in her ‘Social Problem Based Entrepreneurship class’, where she got a chance to visit India and to conduct on the ground market research. Her company curates and sells socially conscious jewelry, accessories, and décor products handmade in India. Some of the proceeds are also donated to charitable organizations.

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Juan Sebastian Cadavid started Grou (sounds like Grow), a marketplace for farmers in Latin America. The marketplace aggregates products from multiple farmers in order to provide the quantities that large buyers need. At the same time, it allows smallholder farmers to identify opportunities to sell their crops at fair prices.

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Finally, Perryne Vyas Desai started TujaTravel, a travel service company. Her company helps individuals and groups organize their trips by helping them build their travel package. So far, Tuja Travel has organized trips in Tanzania, Costa Rica, Fiji, and Spain among others.

Tuja Travel

I hope you take a few minutes to check them out! I will be back soon with a personal post reflecting on these last 2 years.

Until next time,

Michaella

 

*Disclaimer: All the pictures on this post belong to the respective businesses.

Following Your Passions at Stern: A Case Study

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard a Sternie describe him- or herself as a “non-traditional” MBA. It’s a testament to the diversity at Stern, both in the backgrounds of our students as well as our post-graduation goals. For a relatively small school – there are 392 students in my class – Stern does a remarkable job at providing extracurricular opportunities for students to pursue their passions. Take my particular interest: social responsibility in the apparel and retail space. Definitely “non-traditional.” However, in the five or so months I’ve been at Stern, I’ve been able to explore this interest in a number of non-academic ways:

Consulting Projects

When I learned about the opportunity to work with West Elm through the Luxury Retail Consulting Corps, I jumped at the opportunity. I was ultimately appointed project lead on “West Elm Local,” an initiative to engage local communities by including more local “makers” into the company’s product assortment. My team worked with West Elm’s Strategy team to build out an operational scaling plan to address how the initiative would work at scale. Pretty great stuff. I learned a ton about the retail industry and the complexity of implementing social responsibility initiatives in larger companies.

Centers and Fellowships

This year, Stern announced that it was launching the first Center for Business and Human Rights at a business school, headed up by Michael Posner, founder of Human Rights First and former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. The center’s first topic area is worker safety in the Bangladesh garment industry – a subject that is obviously close to heart. At the beginning of the semester, I volunteered for a symposium that brought together stakeholders from across the garment industry, and I was recently brought on as a graduate fellow working on community engagement and research projects. I have a front-row seat as business leaders, garment factory owners, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations hash out the future of worker rights in the garment industry. It’s a lot harder than I imagined.

Funding Opportunities

Students interested in social enterprise and social responsibility often find it difficult to find paid summer internships in those fields. Enter, Stern’s Social Impact Internship Fund, a fellowship that provides up to $10,000 in funding to students pursuing low-paid or unpaid summer internships at social enterprises, B Corps, and non-profits. I applied for round one of the competition, and I was very excited to learn that I got it! Now when I’m approaching potential socially responsible employers for the summer, I don’t need to worry about how I’m going to pay my rent.

Clubs and Events

Through participation in Stern’s Social Enterprise Association and Luxury & Retail Club, I am on the planning committee for Think Social Drink Local, an annual sustainable fashion show and fundraising event for the Social Impact Internship Fund mentioned above. In addition to serving a great cause, it’s also one of the hottest social events of the spring and a great way to connect my contacts in the sustainable fashion, food, and beverage spaces with the Stern community.

Trips

In October, I traveled to California to attend the Net Impact Conference with Stern’s Social Enterprise Association. Net Impact brings together a remarkable collection of students and changemakers who are committed to using business as a force for good. I had the chance to hear candidly from senior executives at Levi’s, Patagonia, Timberland, Gap, and other companies I admire. It was a great way to step back, be inspired, and recommit myself to my chosen career path. And it was even better knowing that I would be returning to an environment that would enable me to push those goals forward.