Jessica Rothstein describes herself in many ways.
“I’m a confident problem solver. I gravitate toward problems that are meaningful to me. And I’m not afraid to fail.”
One word is notably absent from the Fox MBA’s self-description. “I don’t think of entrepreneurship as a personality trait,” Rothstein explains. “Everyone is entrepreneurial these days—it’s what the workforce is calling for.”
Rothstein may not use the word herself, but of all the careers she tried, entrepreneurship was the one that stuck. “I studied mechanical engineering at Lafayette College, and by the time I was a sophomore I realized I didn’t want to be an engineer,” she says. She stayed engaged in her education by designing a water filtration system for a small community . “We tested it with a family in Haiti,” she recalls, but decided against pursuing the project after graduation.
Instead, Rothstein worked as a consultant, helping companies design better products and use their resources more efficiently. “I did that for about two years, and one day I got a call asking if I wanted to play lacrosse for the Israeli national team,” she says, laughing. “Someone was going to pay me to travel the world. How could I say no?”
Israel was an incredible adventure full of new experiences, but Rothstein was still the same problem-solving adept. “The organization that hired me was trying to develop the sport of lacrosse in Israel,” she says. “At that time, they were growing very quickly but their structures weren’t built for that growth.” Rothstein became the interim director of business development and helped the organization restructure to accommodate that growth.
Meanwhile, Rothstein was also working on a personal problem. “I loved Israel but I missed my friends! Social media lets you talk with people, but I missed sharing experiences,” she recalls. Rothstein started sending her friends scavenger hunt-style tasks to complete. After each task they would send her pictures and stories, allowing them to build new experiences together from across the world.
“When I came home in 2016 my friends and I realized we were on to something,” Rothstein says. Bucket was born, a mobile application designed to bridge the gap between digital communication and in-person connection.
In 2016, Rothstein decided to pursue her MBA. “I was looking for places that had resources for a start-up business,” she recalls. Rothstein had heard of Ellen Weber, executive director of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute at the Fox School. “Ellen was one of the first early-stage investors in Philly, and she is a leader in the investor scene here,” Rothstein says. “I knew that I wanted to work for her and get to know her.”
Rothstein found the connections she was looking for at Fox. She began working for Weber at Robin Hood Ventures, a network of angel investors that Weber runs. Her team continued developing Bucket, winning the Laura Bush Seed Fund Grant from Temple University and receiving over 1,000 social media likes in one week.
Rothstein has even had opportunities to use her experience to help other companies through Fox. As part of her MBA capstone through Fox Management Consulting she worked with bSafe, a mobile safety application which allows users to quickly notify friends and family when they have safety concerns.
“Tangibly and intangibly Bucket mirrored bSafe. Starting a business always has some of the same aspects and ambiguity,” Rothstein explains. “You are constantly sprinting in one direction and hitting a wall, so you go the other way. You never know what you’re going to hit, so you’re also trying 50 different angles. That’s the mindset you have to have when you’re working on a project like bSafe because the problem will change every day.”
bSafe engaged Rothstein and her colleagues to design a market launch strategy for the app and create an investor deck, which Rothstein was uniquely positioned to do. Through her work at Robin Hood Ventures, Rothstein reviews dozens of new business proposals each week, deciding which projects will pass to the next stage.
“I have exposure to 40+ incredible people in that network who are early-stage investors and take the time to explain their decisions to me, and have trust in me,” Rothstein says. “That has given me some tangible skills that I was able to use with bSafe.”
MBA student teams work with project executives, experienced professionals with specific expertise in each project area. “I’ve worked with two incredible project executives-Nicole Naumoff last semester and Tess Kristensen this semester. In some ways, I’ve learned more from them than from the actual projects,” Rothstein says.
Rothstein has also loved working with her MBA cohort. “The Temple program is not the typical MBA class of former consultants and bankers. Every person in our class comes from a different background and is passionate about something different. That’s the number one thing I’ve really enjoyed.”
This spring as Rothstein graduates she will be entering a rotational program with Comcast and preparing to launch Bucket publicly, but she already knows that more start-ups are in her future.
“My dream is to open a theme park run completely on kinetic energy that serves people with physical disabilities-a therapeutic theme park. Overcoming physical challenges is hard work and I’d like to help people who are on that journey.”
Call her what you will—problem solving, curious, visionary, or entrepreneurial—Rothstein bears watching. Wherever she goes you can bet that innovative solutions to nagging problems will follow close behind.
Hundreds of dedicated MBA students like Jessica Rothstein pass through Fox’s doors each year. Put their energy and experience to work on your next business challenge through Fox Management Consulting.
Imagine being thankful your husband allowed you to attend a business meeting. Many of you probably rolled your eyes, but this used to be a common occurrence. While we’ve come a long way, we still have far to go to achieve a diverse and inclusive workforce.
The good news is many women are creating their own paths through entrepreneurship.
According to the 2016 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity, women comprise 40 percent of new entrepreneurs in the U.S. At the Temple University League for Entrepreneurial Women Conference, hosted by the Fox School of Business at Alter Hall, we learned that many of today’s female executives are building diverse and inclusive organizations.
The League, which holds an annual conference, is an advocacy initiative that addresses the growing challenges and interests of entrepreneurial women in the Greater Philadelphia region. It was co-founded by Dr. Elizabeth Barber, associate dean of Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management, and Betsy Leebron Tutelman, senior vice provost for strategic communications. The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI), under the leadership of Ellen Weber, executive director, co-hosts the event.
Fox Focus spoke to two of the conference speakers. Here is the advice Judith von Seldeneck, founder and chairman of Diversified Search, and Allison Francis Barksdale, EMBA ’00, CEO of RISE Leadership, have to offer women who want to start their own companies.
What advice do you have for women starting their own business?
Judith von Seldeneck: Have a good idea for your business. Something that fills a viable, current need. Take it slow, one step at a time. Stay in control of it. Be wary of partners or owners. There’s time for that down the road. Do the work yourself. No delegating early on; hire others to work for you when you can afford it. Have someone you trust who has no interest in the business but who is smart, good at things you aren’t, who you can learn from. You must learn it somehow early on if you don’t have it.
“I know that the inclusion of additional voices—diversity—will lead to better decision making in our global economy.” – Allison Francis Barksdale
Allison Francis Barksdale: I thought I had to do it all on my own. It is so much easier now that I am willing to seek help and follow the examples of others who are experts in areas where I am not. It isn’t always necessary to reinvent the wheel. You can find mentors and other resources. Take advantage of all that is available. You can learn from things on social media (such as LinkedIn), your alumni association (such as the Temple Women’s Network), and lots of other opportunities.
We’ve seen some inspiring stats about women in business. How do you feel the world has changed for women over the last few decades?
JVS: When I started, I was almost a unicorn, constantly dealing with men, competing with men, which I actually enjoyed being the only woman. Now I am surrounded by strong, successful, younger, executive women, and there is indeed encouraging news for women in business: over the last decade, the number of women-owned firms increased 45 percent, compared to just 9 percent for the national average. Female ownership of businesses is up almost 10 percent over the last decade. But there is also one big, troubling statistic to go with all of that cheery news: Women start 38 percent of new businesses, but still only receive between 2 and 6 percent of all venture capital funding. That’s an issue because it tells me that banks and venture capitalists still do not see women as solid leaders and their businesses as solid investments. There is more work to be done, especially on the VC side of the ledger.
However, I believe the momentum for women has turned a corner very recently and we are much more integrated, respected, capable, savvy, and confident as people, not just women, in our abilities to succeed in building and growing businesses! Today, we have great successful women role models like never before. Plus, women now want to generally help each other be successful.
“I can’t think of a better career path for women than owning your own business.” – Judith von Seldeneck
AFB: We have made great progress! The biggest change I see is that women are leading as they are. When I was coming into the workforce in the late 1980’s, women wore bowties and power suits and acted like men. Today, women are leading with feminine power. I am a big proponent of authenticity. My company, RISE Leadership, helps women build their impact and income through authentic leadership. To be the best speaker, leader, or anything, you have to be yourself. You can’t be anyone else better than you can be yourself. That’s what truly creates connection and power.
How should companies respond to this change to cultivate more diverse and inclusive staffs?
JVS: Any company that wants to develop a diverse and inclusive staff has to make that commitment from the top: at the board level, at the CEO level. If there are not clear and strong mandates from leadership to install mechanisms and performance metrics to produce a more inclusive workforce, particularly at the C-Suite level, it’s all lip service. It doesn’t happen organically. It happens when people in power make a conscious decision to open their doors wider, and implement policies and procedures that are fair and direct and will produce that result. How are you scouting for new talent—and where are you looking? You cannot tap new talent streams if you are only going to look in the same places you have been looking for the past 30 years. You should also hire Diversified Search to help find great talent!
At the conference, you said your path has been like the Game of Life. Can you translate your experience into advice for future generations of women in business?
AFB: My entrepreneurial journey was not a straight path to success. The first business I started failed. I opened a flower and tea shop in 2005, which could not weather the economic downturn in 2007. People were losing their homes, so they were not buying a lot of small luxuries. As in life, things don’t always go as planned. There is an element of chance. If you take a look at the board in the Game of Life, the roads have lots of curves, twists, and turns that you cannot always anticipate.
As for advice, I learned to never stop believing in myself. Above all else, you cannot give up on you! Deciding to take an entrepreneurial path will push you to grow in ways that you never anticipated. If you stay focused on success, there may come a time when you have to say to yourself, “Okay I am not letting this defeat me. Where’s the good in this, the lesson that I can learn and move on?”
You have to be willing to see your vision of success differently than how you planned it. Rather than going into business to do and make money, focus more on serving and solving problems that you are designed to solve best. Enjoy the day-to-day and not just the final outcome of your future success. Whatever happens along the way, good or bad, it’s an opportunity to learn and grow, personally and professionally.
What will the future hold for women in entrepreneurship and business?
JVS: I can’t think of a better career path for women than owning your own business. The future is bright and getting brighter. There are now 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., employing nearly 9 million people and generating over $1.6 trillion in revenues. Those kinds of statistics would have been an unthinkable pipedream 40 years ago. Time heals many misevents. Sometimes it takes longer than we would like. Technology is leveling and normalizing the playing field everywhere and disrupting long-established traditional practices in one fell swoop. I think there is a tremendous benefit for women in business in this explosive transformational environment that is happening so quickly. We need to be riding this tidal wave that is disrupting business everywhere.
“Deciding to take an entrepreneurial path will push you to grow in ways you never anticipated.” – Allison Francis Barksdale
AFB: There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Generally, a company will take on the values of its leaders, especially in the case of entrepreneurs. As in my case, authenticity and speaking up are personal as well as organizational values. It’s exciting to see how more and more women are igniting their power and speaking up. Women are leading in various ways—in small businesses, corporations, politics, and nonprofits (I prefer the term for-purpose). Even though we still have quite a ways to go, especially in corporate and board leadership, I know that the inclusion of additional voices—diversity—will lead to better decision making in our global economy. Women will play a key role in building a more inclusive, cooperative, and optimally functioning workforce. I plan to do my part to make this happen.
To continue the dialogue on women in business and leadership, feel free to contact Allison: Allison@ImpactwithRISE.com
The Future of Business is Female
The following Temple students and alumnae pitched their companies at the conference:
- Jess Rothstein, Fox MBA, Class of 2018, Play Bucket, playbucketapp.com
- Emily Knight, Engineering major, Class of 2018, Prohibere, biomaterix.com
- Karima Roepel, MTHM ’06, Ambrosia Food Group, ambrosiafoodgroup.com
The Fox School of Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) proactively promotes entrepreneurial spirit throughout all 17 schools and colleges at Temple University. IEI offers many years of experience in business development and consulting, a wide variety of skills, extensive networks, and boundless enthusiasm for new ventures and experiential learning.
The Egg at Alter Hall was standing-room only last night as IEI Executive Director Ellen Weber took the podium to open the 20th Annual Innovative Idea Competition Live Pitch Event. “Sometimes what makes an idea strong is that it’s elegantly simple,” she told the audience in her opening remarks. “The kind of idea that makes you think ‘why didn’t I think of that?'”
That rung true when Emily Kight (College of Engineering ’18), an Idea Competition veteran who landed in second place in the Undergraduate Track at last year’s competition, took home the $2500 Grand Prize for her idea: an affordable, accessible, at-home ovarian cancer menstrual blood test. The test, if it makes it to the market, will allow all women, especially those with a higher risk due to family history, to test for ovarian cancer more often, more privately, and more conveniently. This could drastically reduce late detection, a common risk with ovarian cancer because of how difficult its symptoms are to detect.
Kight was also awarded the $500 Global Innovation Prize funded by CIBER for her idea’s potential to have an impact on a global scale.
Twelve finalists total pitched to the competition’s expert judging panel: Glen Gaddy, Chair of Mid-Atlantic Diamond Ventures, Yuval Yarden, Director of Ecosystems Engagement at the Global Entrepreneurship Network, and Shelton Mercer, Principal and Chief Innovation Officer at Benjamin’s Desk. Other top ideas from the night included C.A.L.M (Daniel Couser, FSB ’18) and Vibrasoft (Kyle Jezler, College of Engineering ’18), two healthcare-focused ideas that received first and second place in their track, respectively. In the Upper Track, comprised of graduate students, alumni, faculty, and staff, Immersive Therapy (Keith Regan, FSB Alumni) came out on top and Quick ReCon (Alex Garaschenko, FSB Alumni) was awarded second place.
The audience had a say, too! Two People’s Choice Awards were given to the ideas with the most votes from the audience. New and exciting this year was the Facebook Live stream happening throughout the entire competition via the Fox School of Business Facebook Page, where more than 1000 viewers tuned in and were able to cast their votes along with the live audience. When voting closed, My Student Quarters (Jessica Rehrig, CLA Alumni) came out on top to receive the $1000 first place People’s Choice Award, with Atheroprobe (Laura Navarro, College of Science and Technology ’21) in a close second taking home $500.
Click here for a full list of last night’s finalists and idea descriptions.
Up next? The Be Your Own Boss Bowl. 2018 Rules and Guidelines coming soon!
As professional football executives arrived in Philadelphia to ponder the next generation of talent in the 2017 NFL Draft, students from Temple University brought attention to the most-critical issue facing football: concussion prevention.
Temple University recently collaborated with sport innovation enterprise HYPE Foundation to host two on-campus events geared toward football player safety and sport innovation. (And all ideas were welcome — whether a sure touchdown, or just a Hail Mary concept.)
Students throughout Temple’s 17 schools and colleges participated in an all-day Hackathon. The April 25 event, held at Alter Hall, challenged students from all academic disciplines to create new ideas to enhance the safety of football players. Students competed for cash prizes and access to potential investors. The event lured high-profile jurists like Dan Klecko, Temple alumnus and former Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman; Temple alumnus Cosmo DeNicola, co-owner of the Philadelphia Soul; and Ryan Tierney, Temple associate professor of kinesiology.
Eleni Latsios, a junior Entrepreneurship major, represented the first-place team — U-View. The students generated an idea for on-field technology that would allow coaches, trainers, and spectators to review plays from multiple angles and distances, in real-time and replays.
“The Hackathon workshop showed me the power of creativity and collaboration,” said Latsios. “It was a great experience working with a group of students, and hearing the other pitches that day and the next day at the pitch competition. The world of sport is innovating so rapidly and I was happy to be positioned at the forefront of that through this event.”
A day later, the Worldwide Pitch Competition welcomed 10 finalists to present their football safety ideas to sport organizations and leading investors from around the world. Also, Latsios’ team and two other finalists from the previous day’s Hackathon had an opportunity to expose their ideas to investors. The pitch competition welcomed leading judges, including: Ben Alamar, ESPN’s Director of Sports Analytics; Rod Nenner, Washington Redskins’ Vice President of Sports Marketing; and Dr. JoAnne Epps, Temple University provost.
After jury deliberation, RecoverX — a hardware technology company providing innovative products to the injury recovery market — earned the grand prize.
“Temple University and innovation go hand-in-hand,” said Alan Kerzner, assistant professor and director of Temple University’s Entrepreneurship Academy. “Our Entrepreneurship programs are nationally ranked, and our students have built a reputation for turning their ideas into thriving businesses. That’s why we were proud to align with HYPE Foundation to provide this unique opportunity for Temple University, its students, and entrepreneurs everywhere.”
The Temple-HYPE collaborative events took place days before the eyes of football fans globally turned to Philadelphia for the 2017 NFL Draft.
These events demonstrated Temple’s strength in research, innovation, and sport. The university houses undergraduate- and graduate-level Entrepreneurship programs that are ranked top-10 nationally by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine. Temple also is home to the renowned Sport Industry Research Center (SIRC), which provides marketing strategies to enhance the economic, social, and environmental stability of sporting events. The NFL and NCAA are among SIRC’s notable research partners.
Additionally, Temple faculty are leading the way in brain-injury research. In November, an interdisciplinary team of Temple researchers received a $20 million award for greater brain-injury research. And a Fox School of Business professor authored an academic text on head trauma from a legal and insurance perspective.
“These events offered unique opportunities for Temple University, its students, and innovators and entrepreneurs everywhere,” Kerzner added. “It was a university-wide effort involving many colleges and departments, and is hopefully just the beginning of our collaboration to help Temple expand its presence in the burgeoning sport innovation field.”
—Erin McShea and Christopher A. Vito
1. Honeygrow: A #TempleMade Venture
Justin Rosenberg, Fox School of Business, MBA ’09, is the founder of Honeygrow, a restaurant offering healthy fare made with seasonal, local ingredients. Starting this summer, Honeygrow will have 18 locations, including one on Temple University’s Main Campus in Morgan Hall. According to Rosenberg, “I’m a Temple guy. I wrote a chunk of my business plan for Honeygrow at Alter Hall, and the business is very much a #TempleMade concept.” Explore Honeygrow.
2. Yasmine Mustafa Roars for Good
Entrepreneur Yasmine Mustafa, BBA ’06, is an advocate for women. In 2016, she won Philly Geek Awards’ Technologist of the Year for ROAR for Good, a company that makes self-defense wearable technology. The product appears as jewelry but acts as an alarm and safety light that, when activated, connects to a smartphone to text family, friends, 911, or campus security. Mustafa is determined to help women live without fear and reduce the violence against them. Watch her story. Hear her TEDx talk.
3. Neha Raman Brings to Market DIY Nail Polish
In 2015, Neha Raman, who will graduate from the Fox School in 2018, launched a make-your-own nail polish business called Rungh, the Hindi word for “color” (pronounced “Rung”). Her product includes six nail-polish bottles with nail-polish base, 18 pigment capsules, a battery-operated mixer, and disposable mixing wands. Rungh was the official nail polish of Philadelphia Fashion Week in February 2016, the same month Raman was named runner-up in College Pitch Philadelphia. In April 2016, she placed second in Temple University’s Be Your Own Boss Bowl. Learn more about Neha Raman.
4. Adam Lyons Streamlines Shopping for Car Insurance
Founder and chief executive officer Adam Lyons, BBA ’09, launched TheZebra.com to simplify car insurance shopping. TheZebra.com allows drivers to compare over 200 insurance providers on factors such as coverage types, coverage levels, claims rankings, and price. Lyons and co-founder Joshua Dziabiak were named to the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the Consumer Tech category, which highlights “game changers” under 30 years old who are revolutionizing industries with a goal nothing short of breaking the status quo and transforming the world. Meet Adam Lyons. Read about his experience pitching his dream investor (hint: it’s Mark Cuban).
5. Chris Wallace Says, Sales Remains People-Centric—Even in the Digital Age
“Sales teams often aren’t aligned with their organization’s strategy,” says Chris Wallace, MBA ’10, managing director, GrowthPlay. In his recent Harvard Business Review article, Wallace discusses how organizations typically spend three times more on sales than advertising, but only deliver 50-60 percent of the forecasted revenue. His passion for sales led him to pursue an MBA at the Fox School and a year after he graduated he founded Incite, a sales force strategy and effectiveness firm. GrowthPlay recently acquired Incite to strengthen its position in the sales effectiveness market. “I could never be where I am today if I didn’t earn my MBA. It changed my career, and helped me see the value of putting people at the center of any business strategy. Today, I help develop better performing sales teams using the skills, knowledge, and business acumen I learned at Fox.” Read his HBR article.
6. Ofo Ezeugwu Wants to Rate Your Landlord
Ofo Ezeugwu, BBA ’13, is the chief executive officer and co-founder of WhoseYourLandlord (WYL), which enables renters to rate their landlords and housing complexes. He graduated from the Fox School of Business at Temple University, where he was the vice president of the student body. He is a Techstars’ Risingstar, one of BET’s #30Under30, and his work has been featured in TechCrunch, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and more. Ezeugwu is based in New York and Philadelphia, is a professional actor and model, has been featured on the Today Show five times, and has worked with Nike, ESPN, and Alfani. Explore WhoseYourLandlord. Watch Ofo pitch on MSNBC:
7. Got a Broken Cell Phone? Call Jesse DiLaura for Repairs.
“I have an obsession with improving,” said Fox School alumnus Jesse DiLaura, BBA ’16, the founder of Repair U—a phone repair company for college students. He is an Entrepreneurship graduate of the Fox School of Business who learned how to turn his hobby, cell phone repair, into a business. The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) and Temple’s Blackstone Launchpad fed his obsession by offering constructive feedback on every aspect of his business plan. Along the way, he learned the intricacies of launching a business, branding, publicity, and much more. Discover Repair U.
8. Séverine Bandou Adds Scent to Curly Hair Products
“Myjé will enable women with textured hair to neutralize airborne odors without any drying effect,” said Séverine Bandou, a student in the Fox Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship graduate program. “They will experience the sensation of freshly washed hair while saving time and avoiding hair damage due to frequent shampooing, treatments, and styling.” Bandou, who will graduate this year, participated in the Fox School Innovative Idea Competition and placed second in the Graduate, Faculty, Staff, or Alumni category. Read about Bandou on Technical.ly Philly.
9. Nick Delmonico Combines Business, Tech, and Healthcare
Fox School student Nick Delmonico is currently enrolled in Global MBA program. He’s the chief executive officer and co-founder of Strados Labs, a health technology company working on innovative ways to help patients better manage chronic illness in order to live happier and healthier lives. His company is the maker of Pulmawear, a wearable device and companion application providing asthmatics with real-time symptoms monitoring, medication tracking, and personalized analytics to improve self-management. Explore Strados Labs.
10. Brandon Study Wears His Heart on His Sleeve
Understand Your Brand creates awareness about human rights and environmental issues through the apparel manufacturing industry and designs products that tell a better story. Founder Brandon Study is committed to using non-exploitative and minimal environmental impact production, and previously ran Into the Nations, a nonprofit seeking to empower artisans in developing countries. Study, Class of 2017, is a student in the Entrepreneurship Program at the Fox School who has a passion for creativity and social entrepreneurship. Discover Understand Your Brand.
Competition in the 19th Annual Be Your Own Boss Bowl was tough. More than 150 Temple students, alumni, faculty and staff registered to participate in this year’s BYOBB, and after weeks of developing business plans, attending workshops and partnering with mentors, nearly 100 participating individuals and teams submitted their completed business plans for review. This week, 14 finalists were selected to compete at the BYOBB Live Pitch Competition, happening April 20th in Alter Hall.
Each finalist will make an 8-minute pitch to the expert judging panel and conduct a 3-minute Q&A session with the judges following their presentations. At the end of the day, a winner in each track will be announced, and one presenting company will go home with the $40,000 grand prize!
See below for the full list of 2017 BYOBB Finalists, and click here to register now for the Live Pitch Competition!
Undergraduate Track Finalists
Pinpointer submitted by Nigel Satenstein, Fox School of Business
Pitch submitted by Rishi Sheth (Fox School of Business), Andrew Sauber, and Anthony Poidomani (College of Science & Technology)
Prohibere submitted by Emily Kight, College of Engineering
Vitris submitted by Jack Perrotta, Fox School of Business
Upper Track Finalists
ENVIZZO submitted by Ariel Maidansky, Alumna, Fox School of Business
Nisoltus Medical, LLC submitted by Conor Vickers, Student, Lewis Katz School of Medicine
ToothShower, submitted by Lisa Guenst, Alumna, College of Liberal Arts
Viral Ideas Marketing, submitted by David Feinman, Alumnus, Fox School of Business
Social Impact Track Finalists
Frontier Legal Incubator, submitted by Stephen Fox, Student, Beasley School of Law
Reels on Wheels, submitted by Anmol Gupta, Student, Fox School of Business
Sontefa Power, LLC, submitted by Thierno Diallo, Student, Fox School of Business
Understand Your Brand, LLC, submitted by Brandon Study, Student, Fox School of Buisiness
Urban Health Track
Strados Labs, submitted by Nick DelMonico, Student, Fox School of Business
Market Street Moms, submitted by Meghan Mallouk, Student, Fox School of Business
When Dr. Jean Wilcox first envisioned her Entrepreneurial Marketing course, it started with a piece of currency.
It was January 2010 when Wilcox divided her students into 10 groups, and presented each group with a $10 bill out of her own pocket. The goal? The students were tasked with multiplying their modest seed money by a factor of 10, to be donated to various charities, non-profits, foundations, and community organizations.
Seven years later, the impact of Wilcox’s course at Temple University’s Fox School of Business has left her in awe.
“The best comment I’ve ever gotten came from one of my colleagues, who said, ‘Business school is so much about analytics and numbers, and what you’re doing is giving these students heart,’” said Wilcox, an Assistant Professor of Marketing. “That’s most important to me in the long run.”
The 10-10-10 Foundation, launched out of Wilcox’s Entrepreneurial Marketing course, has experienced remarkable reach: The course has been offered over 14 semesters, and has enrolled more than 1,000 students. As of Fall 2016, the students have generated more than $320,000 of value in monetary, in-kind, and matching donations. Wilcox’s students have supported more than 100 organizations, and have eclipsed 4,500 volunteer hours.
Students have supported non-profit and charitable organizations focusing in the sectors of music, environmental awareness, healthcare, cancer research, education, social services, and animal welfare.
This past semester, Wilcox’s students generated more than $26,000 for their organizations.
One student group planted flower bulbs along Philadelphia’s John F. Kennedy Boulevard, to support the Philadelphia Horticultural Society. One team of students collected more than $2,000 and volunteered 100 hours for the Travis Manion Foundation, a non-profit to empower veterans and the families of fallen veterans. Another team supported Back On My Feet, which uses running to instill discipline and restore confidence and self-esteem among Philadelphia’s homeless population. Every Wednesday, the students ran at 5:30 a.m. alongside Back On My Feet’s homeless runners.
“To me, their efforts are worth so much more than the dollars they have raised,” she said. “As I told them after class, they are my rays of hope in a crazy world. They can, and already have, made it a better place.”
–Christopher A. Vito
Temple University’s Fox School of Business welcomed Comcast Corporation executive David L. Cohen as the Warren V. “Pete” Musser Visiting Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Established in 2015, the Musser Professorship is an endowed term professorship filled by experienced and well-known practitioners who are interested in visiting the Fox School to mentor and engage with students.
Cohen serves as the Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer with the Comcast Corporation. Students, young professionals, and business leaders alike packed into the seventh-floor MBA Commons of Alter Hall to hear Cohen’s Nov. 7 presentation, titled “Leaders Lead.” Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) sponsored the event.
As a leader in Philadelphia for many years, Cohen shared what he has learned, the challenges he has faced, and his top-10 traits possessed by effective leaders. Paramount to all, he said, Cohen stressed the importance of volunteer work and involvement with nonprofits.
“I really wanted to be successful and help people outside of the classroom and outside of school,” Cohen said of his early years as a professional. “I volunteered and served leadership roles in nonprofits. Leaders have the opportunity to get involved with issues beyond their businesses. They have a chance to help the community around them.”
Cohen beamed with pride in discussing Comcast’s investment in philanthropy. The company has donated close to $4 billion to communities in which its employees live.
Cohen also shed light on his work with former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, for whom he served as Chief of Staff from 1992-97, a span of Rendell’s two terms as Philadelphia mayor.
“There were a lot of challenges Ed faced when he took office: high crime rate, declining population, declining economy,” Cohen said. “The two leadership traits for which I most admired him for were his team-building skills and his communication skills. He had a clear vision for the city and he knew how to communicate that well.”
Cohen then shared his list of 10 must-have leadership skills, a list which included humility, sense of humor, ability to inspire, vision, communication, and others, and showed brief video clips to punctuate each one of them. Cohen answered questions from the audience with topics ranging from challenges in diversity and inclusion, to complexity in building teams.
“Mr. Cohen is such an incredible and influential person, and it’s really beneficial to hear his experiences and advice,” said first-year graduate student Jeffrey Stern, who added that he was grateful to hear first-hand from a business leader like Cohen.
“He placed emphasis on leaders remaining humble and being able to give back to their communities, and those are traits that I’ll always keep in mind for the future,” said senior Economics major Dan McLaughlin.
Following his question-and-answer session, Cohen left attendees with a final piece of advice.
“Learning never stops,” he said, “and it certainly doesn’t stop after you’re finished school. Nothing is impossible.”
The U.S. Department of Commerce cites a three-to-one ratio of men to women in positions in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). And a recent study from the University of Washington suggests that women pass on careers in STEM because of a “masculine culture.”
The 17th Annual League for Entrepreneurial Women’s Conference, held Oct. 19 at Temple University’s Alter Hall, addressed the STEM gap and its stigma. The theme of the event – Climbing the Chromosomal Ladder: Creating Your Own Domain – brought close to 200 women and men from throughout the Philadelphia region to Temple’s campus.
The conference is the annual featured event for Temple’s League for Entrepreneurial Women, and serves as an advocacy initiative to address the growing challenges and interests of entrepreneurial women in the region.
More than a half-dozen innovators, entrepreneurs, self-starters, and STEM professionals shared their personal stories of turning ideas into career paths.
The number of American businesses increased by 47 percent from 1997-2014, according to the National Association of Women Business Owners, and during that span, the number of women-owned businesses soared by 68 percent. Those figures demonstrate that “female entrepreneurs in this country are a force to be reckoned with,” said Elizabeth H. Barber, associate professor at Temple’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management and the League’s co-founder.
Barber and fellow League co-founder Betsy Leebron Tutelman, Temple’s senior vice provost for strategic communications, along with Ellen Weber, executive director of Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI), hosted the event.
Keynote speaker Lori Bush, FOX ’85, spoke of the leadership and cultural differences between men and women in the workplace, and how women can leverage their strengths to take a step forward and break the glass ceiling. “If anything I’m saying today resonates with you, find a way to incorporate it into your life and your career tomorrow,” said Bush, who completed her MBA at Temple.
Recently retired chief executive officer of Rodan + Fields, Bush often arranged town hall meetings for her colleagues. And while there, she would encourage Rodan + Fields employees who happened to be celebrating an anniversary with the company to share their favorite professional memories. “Often times,” Bush said, “they’d relive a moment where their group came together to overcome a problem.”
Those reminders – that she and her colleagues were working toward something bigger than themselves – fueled Bush’s professional fire.
The League for Entrepreneurial Women welcomed Dr. Amy Goldberg for an open conversation and question-and-answer session. Goldberg is chair and professor of surgery at Temple’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine, and serves as surgeon-in-chief of the Temple University Health System.
Goldberg also founded the Cradle 2 Grave program, one of very few of its kind, which educates middle- and high-school students from North Philadelphia, New Jersey, Delaware, and New York on gun violence, violence prevention, and the medical and emotional realities of gun violence.
“Temple has changed me, personally and professionally,” Goldberg said. “It’s helped me embrace the mission of Temple, which is providing service to the community.”
The League for Entrepreneurial Women’s conference also provided a platform for three female entrepreneurs to share their success stories during Temple Talks.
- Bethany Edwards, SMC ’06, co-founder of LIA Diagnostics, developed the first eco-friendly and flushable pregnancy test
- Dana Donofree, a breast cancer survivor, founded AnaOno, an intimate apparel company for women who have undergone mastectomies
- Kriti Sehgal, a restaurateur, co-founded three fast-casual restaurants in Philadelphia
Kriti Sehgal, a restaurateur, co-founded three fast-casual restaurants in Philadelphia
This year’s event included a new segment – Power Pitches – during which four female entrepreneurs who are Temple students or alumnae, introduced their ventures with brief presentations.
At the conference, Gina M. Saffo, POD ’86, DPM, was inducted to the League for Entrepreneurial Women Hall of Fame. Saffo is a podiatrist and partner with the Washington, D.C.,-based Foot & Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic, and supports young women studying at Temple’s School of Podiatric Medicine.
“I am always inspired at events like this, when I’m surrounded by driven women who have the head and the heart to achieve great things,” said Temple Provost JoAnne A. Epps.
Fox School of Business alumna Esosa Ighodaro designed a mobile application that can monetize the art of snapping selfies.
Ighodaro combined her love of social media and fashion by developing COSIGN, an app that allows users to directly shop for products that they see in social-media posts. Users can include product information by tagging what they are wearing in the image, creating a social media-meet-shopping experience.
Ighodaro credited her time at Temple University for helping her develop “a competitive edge.”
“I worked hard to get ahead and stay ahead while I was at Temple,” said Ighodaro, who graduated from the Fox School in 2008 with a degree in Finance. “I was surrounded by students who always pushed me to do my best work, and that gave me a competitive edge later in life.”
Two years ago COSIGN took Kickstarter by storm and, in 2016, it finished as a runner-up in a national competition organized by AT&T and was set to appear on “Project Runway.” Her idea for it came about quite organically.
Ighodaro had secured a management association position with Citigroup in New York City. What started off as a compliment on a subway platform from a complete stranger during one of her commutes unfolded into an ongoing business partnership. Abiodun Johnson is the co-founder and technology mastermind behind COSIGN, and he met Ighodaro as they waited for a train. They shared a lengthy conversation, exchanged contact information, and together built COSIGN.
To get the business off the ground, Ighodaro worked in corporate banking for more than six years and saved as much as she could before making a move into the tech field to support her work with Johnson and their concept for COSIGN.
“The journey is expensive,” Ighodaro confessed. “I talked to everyone about investing, even my doctor, and anyone that would listen. Most said no, but I was just persistent.”
The COSIGN duo launched a Kickstarter campaign in November 2014, just as Ighodaro left corporate banking. Skeptical at first, the two realized their app showed promising results once they had created a video that explained its usage. In just 30 days, COSIGN raised $41,000 on Kickstarter – enough money to build the first complete prototype of the application.
“That validated for me that people cared about what I had been working on in my basement for so long,” Ighodaro said.
In May 2016, AT&T’s Agility Challenge picked COSIGN as one of its 10 national finalists. The competition awarded cash prizes for the small business ventures that demonstrated an understanding, embrace, and appreciation for agility in their daily pursuits. COSIGN finished as a runner up, and netted a $10,000 prize.
COSIGN, which has now partnered with more than 1,200 brands and retailers, features more than 20 million products – from fashion and beauty to even electronics – in its database for users to search, tag, share, and shop.
COSIGN is set to appear on Lifetime’s Project Runway: Fashion Startup in November 2016. The series showcases aspiring fashion and beauty entrepreneurs as they pitch their concepts to a panel of investors in the hope of securing funds.
“I’ve always found it intriguing and something that just came naturally,” Ighodaro said of becoming an entrepreneur.
Now she’s living her dream, one selfie at a time.
Temple University’s Fox School of Business has entered a three-year partnership with Flinders University to deliver its nationally ranked entrepreneurship programs to the prestigious Australian university.
The Fox School of Business will help Flinders University drive South Australia’s economic transformation by training thousands of undergraduate and graduate students annually in the entrepreneurial mindset and skills required to start new businesses and facilitate innovation in existing industries.
To do so, the Fox School will build a series of 12 modules of online education to expose Flinders University’s 26,000 students to entrepreneurship – regardless of their major or course of study. The modules will include videos, exercises, and training manuals, and will be localized by South Australian faculty and executives trained by Fox School faculty.
Additionally, the Fox School will provide RoadMapTM, Fox’s revolutionary higher-education platform that assembles all feedback and assessments to demonstrate personal development and return on investment to students. RoadMapTM will be customized to track the development of those personal enterprise behaviors, or competencies, that have been identified by business and society as valuable in the Australian context.
This partnership leverages Fox’s reputation as a leading provider of online and entrepreneurship education. In January 2016, the Fox Online MBA program earned a No. 1 national ranking from U.S. News & World Report for the second consecutive year. And in November 2015, Fox’s undergraduate- and graduate-level Entrepreneurship programs earned top-10 rankings from The Princeton Review and Entrepreneurship magazine. It also leverages the Fox School’s extensive experience in supporting entrepreneurship-based economic development in the Philadelphia region, largely through the 350 projects completed by its renowned Fox Management Consulting program.
“We are proud to enter this partnership with Flinders University,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of Temple’s Fox School of Business. “There are a number of similarities between students at Flinders and Temple – two universities that have stimulated innovation and promoted entrepreneurship for decades. This partnership enables the Fox School to employ our expertise to power the Personal Enterprise Journey of Flinders students more than halfway around the world.”
Flinders University Chancellor Stephen Gerlach and Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Colin Stirling visited Temple University Aug. 18 and met with Acting President Richard Englert and Provost and Executive Vice President JoAnne A. Epps to make official the contractual partnership and to discuss Temple’s role in extending entrepreneurship throughout the university and into the community.
Flinders University, through its New Venture Institute (NVI), is creating entrepreneurial opportunities for its 26,000 students. Since its founding in 2013, the NVI has overseen 252 student projects and 136 start-ups, trained nearly 1,500 individuals, and generated more than $540,000 in investments.
“Innovation and creativity – those characteristics that underpin entrepreneurial thinking – are a critical part of the picture for all industries,” said Matt Salier, Director of the NVI at Flinders. “Next time someone asks you what job you’d like, challenge yourself by reframing the question as, ‘What problem would you like to solve?’ Our partnership with the Fox School of Business brings the best in global education methods and content to help our students answer this question.”
The Flinders-Fox School partnership also will allow for potential study-abroad opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students at both universities. Details on this will be finalized and announced at a later date.
About the Fox School of Business at Temple University
Established in 1918, the Fox School of Business at Temple University is the largest, most-comprehensive business school in the Greater Philadelphia region, and among the largest in the world, with nearly 8,500 students, more than 200 full-time faculty and more than 65,000 alumni. Accredited by AACSB International — a distinction held by less than 5 percent of the world’s business schools — the Fox School offers BBA, Global MBA, Part-Time MBA, Executive MBA, Online MBA, Specialized Masters, and PhD programs, and an Executive Doctorate in Business Administration, on campuses throughout the world.
About Flinders University
Flinders University, in Adelaide, Australia, is a world top 2% University that enjoys a well-justified reputation for excellence in teaching and research. It provides exceptional student experience and has a long-standing commitment to enhancing educational opportunities for all, attracting students from more than 100 countries. Established in 1966, Flinders’ leadership in innovative research has seen it rise to equal 10th in the prestigious Time Higher Education rankings of Best Universities in Australia 2016.
The bottom line isn’t always an entrepreneur’s end game. For some, it’s the balance of doing well while doing good.
The work of social entrepreneurs served as the focus of an interactive workshop that kicked off a new collaboration between Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) and the College of Public Health (CPH). Social entrepreneurs are creative problem-solvers driven to create solutions that have a positive impact on their communities and the world.
The workshop, and a Fall 2016 semester course in Social Entrepreneurship offered by CPH, are fueled by the Temple University Entrepreneurship Academy, a new program created by Temple President Dr. Neil D. Theobald as the embodiment of his commitment to foster innovation and entrepreneurship university-wide. The Entrepreneurship Academy is geared toward the incorporation of entrepreneurship education into the coursework of faculty members throughout all of Temple’s 17 schools and colleges.
Dr. TL Hill, Associate Professor of Strategic Management at the Fox School of Business, led the April 8 workshop at Temple’s Science Education and Research Center, with support from Dr. David B. Sarwer, CPH’s Associate Dean of Research, and Dr. Robert McNamee, IEI’s Managing Director and Assistant Professor of Strategic Management at Fox.
The workshop, titled, “Doing Well While Doing Good: Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship in Public Health,” engaged students, faculty, and staff from around the university to consider the business structures of social entrepreneurial ventures.
As an example, Hill turned to Go Baby Go, an initiative that modifies standard toy electric cars for use by children who suffer from physical disabilities. He also made mention of Lucky Iron Fish, a social enterprise dedicated to eradicating anemia around the world, through the use of a cast-iron fish which can be added to a pot in which food is cooking.
Social entrepreneurs need to research problems and target users, appreciate multiple funding streams, and think about user adoption and behavioral change, which “can be a huge undertaking, and require just as much ambition,” Hill said. Following further discussion on social impact and social entrepreneurship, Hill asked workshop attendees to assemble smaller groups, in order to develop examples of social venture business models.
“Social entrepreneurship is the attempt to draw upon entrepreneurial and business approaches to find scalable solutions to social problems,” said Hill, the Academic Director of the Fox Global MBA program.
Hill has been responsible for creating the Fox Management Consulting Practice (Fox MC), in which the MBA candidates provide professional-grade strategic solutions to clients including non-profits and social-impact ventures. In addition, Hill has created the Fox Board Fellows program in which MBA students sit on the board of directors of a non-profit for a year. These programs have led to the creation of a number of thought-leading approaches to social entrepreneurship.
The plan for the 2016-17 academic year, said McNamee and Sarwer, is to build on this inaugural event through a series of workshops and courses in the College of Public Health that will focus on social entrepreneurship and healthcare innovation.
“Most individuals who work in the area of public health receive little to no training in the area of entrepreneurship,” Sarwer said. “This workshop, and the course being taught this fall, is a great opportunity for students to learn how to be forward-thinking about their work and develop impactful strategies to address public health issues. I wish I had the opportunity to take a course like this when I was a student.”
The Angel Capital Association is coming to Philadelphia May 9-11, 2016 for the 2016 ACA Summit. Temple University students have the opportunity to volunteer, and in exchange can attend some of the sessions. This is open to current juniors and seniors as well as graduate students.
Volunteer work includes things such as: working the registration desk, helping move boxes from one location to another, taking head counts in sessions, and taking notes in a few sessions for content to be created and shared with attendees and ACA members who aren’t able to attend.
The following shifts are available. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested:
Monday, May 9
7:00 am – 10:00 am – 3 interns for main registration, and help with box moving for sponsor/showcase setup (Convention Center)
7:45 am – 1:30 pm – 2 interns for International Exchange registration/note taking (Montgomery McCracken, 123 S Broad St)
9:45 am – 2:00 pm – 5 interns for main registration (Convention Center)
1:45 pm – 6:00 or 7:00 pm – 5 interns for main registration/take headcount of attendees at concurrent sessions (Convention Center)
6:45 pm – 8:00 pm – 2 interns to help with check-in for VIP Reception (Comcast building)
7:15 pm – 8:30 pm – 1 intern to help check names for International Dinner (Maggianos)
Tuesday, May 10
6:30 am to 10:00 or 11:30 am – 4 interns for main registration/take headcount of attendees (Convention Center)
1:30 pm – 7:00 pm – 3 interns for main registration/take headcount of attendees AND to distribute materials for evening reception (Convention Center)
Wednesday, May 11
8:15 am – 10:15 am – 1 intern to take headcount of attendees (Convention Center)
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm – 2 interns to pack-up, get everything to FedEx Office for shipping
Cocktail Culture Co.
Jungeun Park, Fox School of Business ’16
Richard Armitage, College of Science and Technology ’16
Neha Raman, Fox School of Business ’18
Vitris Wireless, LLC
Jack Perrotta, Fox School of Business ’18
John Nguyen, College of Science and Technology ’18
Chethtra Ten, College of Science and Technology ’18
DevelapMe – The Leadership Analytics Group, LLC
Cliff Tironi, Fox School of Business Staff
Tony Petrucci, Fox School of Business Faculty
Michael Rivera, Fox School of Business Faculty
LifeMotion Technologies LLC
Steven Arose, Beasley School of Law ’16
Séverine Bandou, Fox School of Business ’17
Nicholas Delmonico, Fox School of Business ’17
Kan Yu Au, Fox School of Business
Jake Purcell, Fox School of Business ’16
Robert Rogers, Fox School of Business ’16
Patrick Thompson, Fox School of Business ’16
Elliot Jumpp, Fox School of Business ’16
Green Matters Apparel Company
Tyler Stoltzfus, Fox School of Business ’16
Jacob Andrews, Fox School of Business ’18
Edward Moore, College of Engineering ’16
Mariah Wilson, Fox School of Business ’16
Tony Meyer, Fox School of Business ’17
Alex Falcone, School of Media and Communication ’16
Zach Donovan, Fox School of Business ’17
Will Fulton, Fox School of Business ’16
Andrew Kondelin, Fox School of Business ’18