On Wednesday, Buchholz High School welcomed five local entrepreneurs into its auditorium for the second annual “Mind Your Own Business” (MYOB) panel event, a program created by DECA students Emma Stetter and Maria Vargas in 2012 and produced entirely by Buchholz students.
This year’s panelists included Valerie Sheehan, CEO of ToneRite; Aidan Augustin, co-founder of Feathr; Byron Young, owner of CordaRoy’s; Rich Blaser, co-founder of Infinite Energy; and Trevor Abbott, co-founder of Spin Chill. The event also featured UF College of Engineering Entrepreneur in Residence David Whitney as moderator and guest speaker Chuck Sprague.
The panel was an hour-long discussion of entrepreneurial strategy, what it takes to start a business, perseverance in the face of hardship, how to maintain a work/life balance and the importance of community and partnership.
“You’ve got to believe that you’re the only one that can solve the problem you’re working on, and that’s what gets you up in the morning,” Augustin told the assembled students.
“What does it do to you inside when somebody says you can’t do something?” Whitney asked Blaser.
“It lights a fire inside of me, because if I know I can do something, I don’t care what you think,” he replied. “You have to find the alternate paths, recognize the bottlenecks and figure out how to get pat them. Our contract approval used to take four days. Now, if they take more than an hour that’s a bottleneck.”
When Whitney asked Young how young entrepreneurs can deal with failure, Young told the crowd that failure is a great part of the process. “When it breaks or fails you get to figure out what didn’t work!”
And as the event came to a close Sheehan told students that she got her start by finding her “why,” which helped to create her passion and fire for helping people and put her on the right path.
Last year, MYOB placed first at the Florida state DECA competition and third place at the international DECA competition.
See more picture from the event at https://www.facebook.com/TheBusinessReport