Starting My Own Business: A Student Tests the Entrepreneurial Waters

Hi! I’m Ana… a native Delawarean, a University of Delaware co-ed, and a giddy entrepreneur ready to unveil her first big idea this weekend.

More on my fresh business idea in just a moment. First, a little background: Finishing up my last semester studying Accounting and Environmental Studies, I felt the need to find a creative outlet before jumping into the “real world” to pursue my dreams of becoming a CPA (is that really ever someone’s dream?).

Because launching any new business requires real-world experience, I feel fortunate to work at the financial consulting firm Bridgeforce,  where the people I work with have been amazingly supportive. They have given me the flexibility to still focus on my school work and invest time in my start-up business idea.

Ana Bowe2Anyway, in my free time after work this summer, I thought about how I could channel my creativity and business acumen into a project that would actually benefit the community. The idea of starting up a company was intriguing, but I didn’t exactly know where to start.

I saw online that my friend’s employer, Betamore, offered multiple entrepreneurial seminars each month. Perfect! But the company and its seminars were in Baltimore, and I was holding down a job in Wilmington. So instead I sought out local opportunities to mingle with business owners and gain some personal insight in becoming my own boss. And of course I visited the library. I was shocked at how many resources were available just in the surrounding areas! I dragged my brother to the Kutztown’s Small Business Development Center’s seminar in Exton, PA. From there, I jumped from resource to resource in my spare time. I eventually came upon a podcast interview that compelled me to start a company. In the podcast interview, Noah Kegan, a renowned entrepreneur, said to stop worrying about specific business plans and to focus simply on validating your idea. He advised that entrepreneurs stay risk averse, but put a measurable plan into action to see if people are really interested in what you’re planning to offer.

A close friend urged me to start an event planning business. But I didn’t want to do it in a typical fashion by planning weddings and dinner parties. So I decided to create something that would benefit the entire local event planning community – Event Expo. My new idea was officially born and I therefore created my own company, Top of the Vine Productions.  The Event Expo ~ Buena Vista will be held at the historic Governor’s Conference Center in New Castle this Sunday. the Expo will showcase a number of local businesses covering all aspects of event planning in order to pacify the stress of party planners in the area. Small, independently-owned businesses including caterers, bakeries, florists, photographers, and other vendors will discuss how their services can improve anyone’s next event or social gathering.

Ana BoweManaging school, work, and event planning has been quite an undertaking. But I am incredibly excited about bringing so many personal and academic interests together into this one business idea. Of course I hope it’s a huge success!

The amount of support from friends, family, and coworkers has been absolutely amazing. Someone is always willing to lend a hand and provide encouragement. Small businesses really do stick together, and this venture has demonstrated the strength in our community. I’m so excited to share this at the event this weekend!

Ana Bowe is an Accounting student at the University of Delaware who founded Top of the Vine Productions in the spring of 2014 as a way to satisfy her creative spirit.

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