The entrepreneurial panel discussion this semester was full of diversity, both in industry and backgrounds.
If you missed this informative and exciting workshop be sure to listen to the unedited audio of the workshop available below.
Maneet Sarai, an alum of UMBC, is the CEO/Founder of SeeFuture, which is a company designed to provide job seekers an inside track to employment. Joseph Hyman, also an alum of UMBC, is the CEO and Founder, MoJoe Brewing Company. MoJoe is a technology company that specializes in mobile brewing solutions. Dr. Kimberly Brow is the founder and CEO of Amethyst Technologies, LLC (currently located at bwTech@UMBC Accelerator and Incubator). Amethyst personnel are changing the world by developing quality programs for clinical trials, global health, biodefense, and drug development in the U.S. and Africa. Finally, Patrick Rife, also an UMBC alum, is the founder of Pixilated, an event photo booth company.
Q: What prompted you to become an entrepreneur?
Paul- I had graduated with a degree in art history. I found a job and worked for a couple years but didn’t feel like it was what I should be doing. It wasn’t my long term goal. I started thinking about an idea for an event photo booth and after sharing ideas with friends and gaining confidence I decided to take the leap.
Kim- I was in grad school and got a job in a very small company where I was the second employee. I realized that I wanted to stay out of corporate America. I was in the right place at the right time.
Joseph- I have always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. When I was younger I would always see opportunities to make connections with people and some money on the side. I learned how to decide if certain ideas were viable and worthy of perusing. I wanted to make sure I had the resources to fully execute it.
Maneet- I found out that I am not a “9-5” guy. I wanted to be my own boss and make my own schedule.
Q: What are some surprises and lessons learned along the way?
Paul- I was surprised to find out that I am a good entrepreneur. This role has allowed me to be myself and create amazing things.
Kim- I am surprised every day. I have learned to never be surprised and to always be prepared and flexible.
Joseph- Working with a physical product instead of a service/software is very difficult and I was surprised how hard it was to secure funding and support for a product before it was built. I learned that it is important to build a team of people that have many different skills but that can work together.
Maneet- I was surprised about how wrong I usually am. I always think I’m right, when in reality it’s the exact opposite. I have also learned how to pivot and stand out of the crowd.
Q: What have you had to sacrifice to be an entrepreneur?
Paul- Nothing. I would be sacrificing my potential as a person if I wasn’t doing what I’m doing now.
Kim- Everything. You need to do what needs to be done and that means giving up time and pay sometimes.
Joseph- Time and money. You need to be committed to making your idea happen. You also give up your sanity since you think about your business 24/7
Maneet- Time and money.
Q: What are the basic traits that make entrepreneurs successful?
Paul- Tenacity, veraciousness, bringing a unique point of view to the market, and being confident in who you
Kim- Confidence and a commitment to not failing
Joseph- Creativity, perseverance, and leadership
Maneet- Able to accept rejection, don’t be afraid to ask for help, learn many things in many fields.
Q: What advice would you give to entrepreneurial students?
Paul- Figure out what your minimal viable product is and go for it! Just do it and do it now!
Kim- Be financially prepared
Joseph- Try your best to get away from self-doubt. Every good idea started from somewhere so research your idea and commit to it.
Maneet- You don’t have as much risk since you are younger, so calculate the costs and if you can do it, go for it!
Q: What is your management style?
Paul- I try to bring people who want! I want them to work, have fun, and present. I hire for culture not for skill
Kim- I have evolved from a micromanager to more of a builder of teams. It has been nice to go from very protective of my company to see it expand.
Joseph- I try to manage like a “bootstrap culture.” We are all young and poor at my company but we’re all bright!
Maneet- I am a very similar manager to Paul.
Q: Do you ever wake up wishing you were not an entrepreneur?
All four speakers said no they would not choose anything else.