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President's Corner: October 2017

Our work in student entrepreneurism has reached new heights - and new visibility.

In August, we opened a store on Monarch Way that features the products - from handmade fidget spinners to cupcakes to scented candles - of more than 15 students, alumni and faculty and staff members.

The grand opening will be noon Thursday, November 2, and I invite you to see their creativity for yourself.

The store - at 4306 Monarch Way, behind the Mitchum Basketball Performance Center - showcases the wares of these entrepreneurs while providing them some early retail experience.

We believe this may be the only storefront in the United States that sells only products created by university students - as well as alumni, faculty and stuff - and also is managed by students.

It's called THE Monarch Way. The name is meant to convey not just the location, but also the entrepreneurial spirit, honed at Old Dominion, that drives the young business owners.

Hamilton Perkins, a 2008 graduate, displays his line of sustainable accessories, including duffel bags and backpacks. The in-store experience "gives us great insight into customer behavior, things you wouldn't be able to find out online through Google Analytics," Perkins says.

At THE Monarch Way, you'll also find the extra-soft peshtemal, a towel made in Turkey that can serve as a wrap or a throw cover. Aydin Oksoy, a doctoral student in strategic management, markets them through his company, Starfish Textiles.

For Oksoy, the store eliminates two standard retail hurdles: Rent is free, and someone else takes care of the accounting.

Members of Enactus, our social entrepreneurship organization, are responsible for managing and staffing the store, as well as tracking inventory and finances. That, in turn, will give our Enactus students a leg up when they begin their business careers.

We will celebrate a few more experienced entrepreneurs a week before the grand opening of THE Monarch Way

Old Dominion will induct three alumni into our Strome Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame: Adriane Brown '80, senior adviser and former president of Intellectual Ventures; Walter Jones Ewell '70, founder of FranchiseRepublic, and Brian Holland '93, chief executive officer of Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group. Goran Elovsson '83 (M.B.A. '84), chief executive officer of Additive Innovation and Manufacturing Sweden, will also be named Entrepreneur of the Year.

The event - at 6 p.m. October 26 in the Big Blue Room at the Ted - is open to the public. Just RSVP at advancement@odu.edu

Audience members at the Hall of Fame induction will also get a taste of THE Monarch Way. They will hear from a student and an alumnus whose products are featured at the store: Janay Brown, a junior who runs Full Belly Delights, a gourmet bacon business, and Mike Beyrodt '15, CEO of Pull Start Fire, which offers a safe, match-free method to start a fire outdoors.

THE Monarch Way is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/monarchwayodu

The store is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 2 to 7 Fridays, and 11 to 5 Saturdays. I encourage you to stop by and explore the work of our Monarchs. You'll be impressed.

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