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Visiting Students Receive Business Advice from ODU Entrepreneurs

By Noell Saunders

It's not every day that middle school students are granted an opportunity to hear an entrepreneurs' story and receive tips on how to start a business. But Carrington Hawthorne-Terry got her chance.

Hawthorne-Terry, a student from Albert Hill Middle School in Richmond, recently joined 230 other students for a campus tour of Old Dominion University. The visit was sponsored by Higher Achievement, an organization that prepares middle school students for high school and college. Part of the tour was a stop at the Strome Entrepreneurial Center where students heard from ODU student entrepreneurs, Janay Brown and Blade Taylor.

Brown and Taylor talked about how they came up with their ideas, some of the problems they faced along the way and how they eventually turned their ideas into successful businesses. Brown is the founder of Full Belly Delights LLC, a gourmet bacon company; and Taylor runs a 3D printing business called 3DXtremes.

After hearing Brown and Taylor's story, Terry said it inspired her to pursue her own dream as a future business owner. Terry, who suffers from eczema, said she wants to be a dermatologist and make her own eczema cream to help others like her.

"Don't give up. If you make a mistake, just keep going forward with your ideas," Terry said, referring to what she learned from Brown and Taylor.

"It's a great opportunity as a middle school student to be thinking ahead when you apply for colleges," said Nancy Grden, who is the executive director of the Strome Entrepreneurial Center.

Grden added that campus tours are essential in helping students get acquainted with a college atmosphere and learn about the array of support services available to them.

Grden gave the middle schoolers an introductory presentation about Strome.

"We have an awesome business school and we have a very strong entrepreneurship program," she said. "Whether you are a business student, science student or an engineering student, you can pursue it and that's pretty unique."

The Strome Entrepreneurial Center guides student entrepreneurs across the entire life cycle of the entrepreneurial process — from concept and through the planning, research, analysis, startup and initial operations stages.

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