Category Archives: Entrepreneurs

Maze: Decoding Impact

Written by: Paige Funk

Homeless people lost to our society, children living in extreme poverty, plastic overfilling landfills and oceans… issues facing our society.

“Social Impact” is the act of taking deliberate actions to create a significant change that positively alters a social issue impacting our world.

Today our cohort started our day with a volunteer organization, CAIS, which was established to help people of extreme poverty or those socially excluded.  This group has trainers who lead a team of people they serve to compete in the Homeless World Cup of Street Futball.  We had the opportunity to play soccer with this group of amazing people.  It was fun, insightful, and humbling.  I loved that our cohort and professors jumped right in and played street futball.  While playing, I realized that this sport is a great equalizer; it didn’t matter if you were a Senior Vice President, a volunteer trainer, or a homeless person; all were equal on the field.

Following futball, we visited the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation on its beautiful campus in Lisboa, Portugal, which serves to elevate humanity through Art, Science, Education, and Charity.  The foundation was created in 1956 and has served the people of Portugal ever since.  The foundation identifies significant issues impacting socially excluded groups, solves them in a localized manner, and then works to institutionalize the solution within the public sector.  Some of the foundation’s projects include Art for Inclusion, Hip-Hop for Underprivileged, and Hack for Good.  The foundation currently has three key areas it is working to address:  sustainability, knowledge, and cohesion & social integration.

In 2013, the Calouste Gulbenkian foundation developed a program called Maze, which is a company established to aid entrepreneurs committed to making a social impact as a result of doing business.  Maze assists qualified entrepreneurs with market intelligence, strengthening ventures, and advising on capitalization.  To be eligible, the start-up needs talented teams with solid technical and managerial skills, a unique and innovative product, tech-enabled solutions and a strong and clear business idea with impact potential.

Maze has an acceleration program known as Maze-X and a venture capital company known as Mustard Seed: Maze. Mustard Seed: Maze is an Impact Capital company that serves as an investment group for venture capitalists with the goal of reorienting capital toward impactful incomes. Mustard Seed: Maze wants to use social investments to help solve the most pressing social challenges of our time. They have two endgames: government adoption and corporate adoption. Mustard Seed: Maze is working to have 1.4B (euros) in annual contracts between Portuguese government and impact entrepreneurs and between 250M (euros) and 400M (euros) in annual funding for impact entrepreneurs with private capital.

The cohort enjoyed learning more about the potential of impact investing and the role of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in making lasting, socially impacting changes.

Entrepreneurs Welcome!

Written by: Antwane Stavis

Bom dia everyone! It’s day four in Portugal and MadGrad16 is still rolling strong. This morning we were introduced to a wonderful company, Startup Lisboa, that opened for business in February 2012.  The company was founded in 2011 by the Municipality of Lisbon, Bank Montepio and IAPME, but it is a private non-profit association. Office Manager, Nuno Moreno, filled us in on how big his company’s “heart” is. The company’s mission “is to support the creation of companies and entrepreneurs in their first year of activity, to promote job creation, and aid the urban, social, and economic vitality of Lisbon.” Startup Lisboa has helped entrepreneurs from over 35 countries which generated over 2,000 jobs. They help set up residence in Lisbon for those who want to enter the program, and they facilitate meetings with professionals from specific areas of interest in workspaces they created in two historic buildings and a section of the business lounge at Lisbon Airport. For our knowledge and to illustrate how they work, we were presented with four companies that used Startup Lisboa to start their business. We were able to see how the company works, ask questions as if we were entrepreneurs starting out and network, while also sharing our perspectives about how we viewed their company.

The first company, Argeo, could not physically be present, so their representative, Giovanni Spiller, presented to us by a virtual call, showing the commitment that is made when one joins this family. Argeo is an Italian based company that created a community inside a “Pokémon” style app available in both Google Play and the Apple store. Their tagline, “Augment Your World” describes their augmented reality and GPS Geolocation app. When one pulls up the desired items on a smartphone, the app shows a location where the item can be scanned. Upon reaching the location, the camera on the phone turns on to scan the area until the item is found, and then the person is granted with a reward, such as a discount coupon, that can be saved or gifted to friends or family. Argeo would also like to focus on more personalized app ads. For more information, visit http://www.theargeo.com/engindex.html .

Next, Kristina presented about Secretcitytrails, an app she created with co-founder Wendy because they believe traveling is broken. Kristina explained that one may download apps when on a vacation or a tour that doesn’t share enough information or expose the great hidden spots worth visiting. Secretcitytrails is a game one can play alone, with a team or to compete with others. Solving riddles in the game takes one off the beaten path and leads to the good local spots. The games are created by locals, tour guides and staff. The games are then reviewed and if found worthy go live for purchase and play. This is an interactive way to take a tour of the city and see some of the not so advertised sights and places of a city. For more information go to https://www.secretcitytrails.com/ .

The third presentation was made by Sention CEO Zan Bridi. Sention developed a new way to see advertisements on live or past sporting events. Advertising at sporting events takes a lot of time and equipment to ensure what is being advertised appears like it was placed on purpose by the sports venue. Bridi’s program uses modeling, programming and cloud server technology to put the advertisement in the best viewing or hard to place areas. This is all accomplished remotely, which reduces the price of using a high-end broadcast booth. For more information go to http://www.sention.co.uk/ .

Carlos led the final presentation on a company called BoxToLife. This product is meant to “provide meaningful experiences to visitors who attend museums, archaeological sites, parks, monuments and streets.” A visitor does not need an internet connection to access the box.  The information is uploaded to the cloud and the information is broadcast in whatever language one selects. Its artificial intelligence learns and creates more powerful experiences for visitors. For more information, visit https://www.boxto.life/

There are still more days and more fun to come so keep stopping by to learn about our next adventure. Until then, obrigado Ate Logo!

Cohort 15 Presents their Integrative Research Projects

Each year students ending their EMBA program have a Capstone Project to complete and present on their last day of class. This year it was Cohort 15’s turn to present their final project before celebrating together that evening at their graduation party.

They were tasked with a research project on launching an innovative product or service, or redesigning an existing product or service for the bottom of the pyramid. Each of the 4 teams were fully responsible for the project from beginning to end. Below is an overview of the companies each team presented on.

Generation Hearts

Pictured from left to right: Juan Yang, Lilian Kaares, Ryan Gormon and Elena Outlan

Generation Hearts is a company whose vision is to enhance the quality of life for lonely, aging, less fortunate individuals by satisfying the basic human need of interaction via an intergenerational safe and caring virtual social network. Their logo which displays connected hearts aims to connect generations to one another to help the aging population who are lonely. Through a downloadable app on your phone, seniors could easily connect to trained individuals that will speak with them and keep them company for some time throughout the day. This company was created by Ryan Gorman, Elena Outlan, Lilian Kaares and Juan Yang.

Block Builders

Block Builders was created by Kris Sahadeo, Kristie Jones, Nicole Amero and Sophia Baldwin to enhance lives by creating high quality places to live. Their mission is to build world-class, affordable residences through up-cycling shipping containers into Minuscule Mansions. Don’t let the fact that they are shipping containers fool you, while they are very affordable, each container is fully outfitted to look like a regular home and redesigned exteriors form beautiful communities.  

GrOtown Greens


Pictured from left to right: Brian Vann, Natalie Ferrer, Kate Kroll, Jessica Bundy and Laure Warfield

GrOtown Greens is dedicated to feeding and fueling Orlando through a vertically integrated model which incorporates school gardens, holistic education, a fresh take on a food truck (for improved access to healthy dishes and increased food distribution) and continued community engagement opportunities. Through their efforts, GrOtown Greens hopes to plant the seeds for a better tomorrow for children and their families in Central Florida. This company was created by Jessica Bundy, Natalie Ferrer, Kate Kroll, Brian Vann and Laurie Warfield.

F3: Food For the Future

Pictured from left to right: Aziz Ndiaye, Nicole O’Reilly, Eddie Molina and Greg Lucas

Food For the Future (F3) was created by Aziz Ndiaye, Nicole O’Reilly, Eddie Molina and Greg Lucas. F3 leverages the organizational advantage of an established non-profit (Meals on Wheels America) to create an in-home delivery option for families who need food during school breaks. Through partnerships with multiple non-profits and civic organizations they bring peace of mind and create “Full Bellies, Healthy Minds” to the underprivileged youth of Central Florida. By working with administrators in local schools with free and reduced lunch populations, families could connect to F3 to receive this service.

With their presentations, final projects and papers submitted, SqUadron 15 can now take some time to relax and celebrate their accomplishments. We can’t wait to see you walk across the stage on Graduation Day!

Honeymoon Hats by Megan Griffin

Honeymoon Hats by Megan Griffin

Honeymoon Hats™ was founded and designed by one of our very own Stetson EMBA students, Megan Griffin in early 2016. She wanted her sun hat to stand out on a cruise, so she added sequin writing to a store-bought hat. While on the cruise, she received many compliments on the hat, and noticed many couples on their honeymoon. When she returned home, she decided to start selling her handmade hats, and realized she could customize them with the bride’s last name as a perfect gift for all the honeymooners.

The scope of the business has rapidly expanded since then, but the hats are still made by hand in sunny Florida today at Honeymoon Hat HQ. Each hat is customized at the time of purchase for a treasured keepsake that is also a practical vacation accessory.

 Honeymoon Hats™ has received industry recognition in many fashion websites and blogs, including Inside Weddings Magazine, Racked.com, Yahoo Style, and Shape Magazine. They have become the new essential honeymoon accessory and expanded the bridal gift market. Their success has inspired many imitators, but their hats still remain a testament to quality, luxury, and their signature hand-applied sequin script.

Check out their packages for Bachelorette and Bridal parties.

Honeymoon hats can also be found on Etsy as well as Facebook and Instagram.

For all inquiries, press, or blog collaborations, please email info@honeymoonhats.com.

McDonald’s STEPs UP

Cohort 15 visits the McDonald’s Corporation in Thailand

The visit at the McDonald’s Corporate Office was amazing. They talked about their approach in the business as focusing on; people, marketing, and operations.  First, they mentioned that McDonald’s is in the people business, not the food business.  They also saw the importance of creating a company culture, before the World Office felt the need.

I thought the Step up approach was put very well.  It stands for S- Sanook – At Work or Fun At Work, T- Team To Win, they used the analogy of French fries, that we need everyone (the whole container of fries) to be successful, not just one. Then they talked about E- Exceed Customer Expectation, P- People, U- Ultimate Ownership, P- Passion To Win.

I thought it was interesting that because of the price, it is not an everyday meal for the Thai’s.  In fact, the marketing department has sales promotions each month to entice the Thai people to come to the restaurant to eat, as well as adding Thai favorites to the menu like rice and chicken.

From an operations stand point, the one thing that really stood out to me was their Leadership by Example.

Each year the corporate leaders at the home office go out to the most successful restaurant and replace the staff, they take on all positions except the cashiers.  They actually work a ten-hour shift.  So, the CEO would become the Manager for the day and then they pick all other positions. What a cool and innovative idea.

Shared by Greg Lucas

5 Star Hotel Accommodations for a 5 Star Cohort

The Westin Grande Sukhumvit,

home of SqUadron 15 for the next few days is a 5 Star hotel of 363 rooms located in the Business and Commercial District of Bangkok; one of the emerging cities in the Asia, Pacific Region. The property is part of the Marriott International Group, the largest hotel chain in the world, after the acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

We arrived at the hotel on Saturday, June 23, 2018, at around 2330 hours and after settling in our well-appointed rooms, a few of us met in the lobby restaurant where we indulged ourselves in some local Thai food and drinks. It was a great opportunity to decompress and bond after a long and exhausting journey from Orlando, Chicago, and Tokyo.

On the afternoon of June 24, 2018, our Stetson EMBA Cohort #15 met with Mr. Peter Lucas, an Australian Expatriate who has been appointed General Manager in 2016.

Most recently, he held leadership positions at the Four Points Sheraton Bangkok and Hilton Melbourne Australia.

During our briefing, Peter told our group that there are more than forty 5 Star hotels in Bangkok; a city that has become the  #1 tourist destination in the world ahead of London of Paris.

In 2017, Bangkok welcomed more than 30 million guests and visitors.

The main opportunity in the hotel business here in Bangkok is the very low ADR (Average Daily Rate) which is about $95.00 per night for 5 Star Hotels. The ADR in cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco is between $600.00 and $750.00 per night.

The success indicators at the Westin Sukhumvit and in the Marriott Hotel Group are Revenue, which includes Profit and Budget Achievement- Guest Satisfaction- Quality Assurance Audits- Employee & Owner Satisfactions.

Before leaving for Bangkok, Dr. Carrick told us that the breakfast buffet at the Westin are tremendous and we unanimously agree. We always look forward to meeting at the restaurant early in the morning to enjoy the variety of fabulous local and international food served by the friendly and welcoming staff.

Shared by Aziz Ndiaye

An American Chamber in The City of Angels

Picture this, you just arrived in Bangkok and are interested in starting a business, what would you do? Begin exploring on your own or approach the American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand and take advantage of decades of experience in doing business in the area?

 

Cohort 15’s Monday AM meeting was with C.F. Chicarelli from Pan Pacific Associates and Paul Robere from Robere and Associates. Both provided us with an overview of the chamber’s objectives:

  • Promote trade between the U.S. and Thailand
  • Help protect and promote the interests of its over 600 members and over $23 billion investment
  • Elevate the civil and commercial reputation of the U.S. and Thailand

As well as the chamber’s guiding principles:

  • Good corporate citizenship – maintain high standards of professional and business ethics
  • Improve market access and promotion of intellectual property rights
  • Environmentally responsible business practices

Q&A included discussion around unique relationships based on a culture of mutual respect. We also discussed government medical and drug programs, medical tourism, traditional medicine, robotics in South East Asia, resources available and Bangkok as the gateway to ASEAN  (Association of South East Asian Nations).

In their closing statements, both agreed that it is an ongoing learning process between two cultures and their belief that sharing of knowledge through committees and their members will provide the foundation for sustained growth through times of change.

Shared by Elena Outlan

6 Apps You Need to Have While in Bangkok

Your phone may seem either useless or an expensive trap while abroad, but here are 6 apps that could prove to be invaluable while in Thailand!

#1 GrabTaxi

GrabTaxi operates very much like Uber in Thailand, ultimately taking over the popular taxi service app.

It is a great way to ensure you have a reliable and affordable mode of transportation and all you need is Wi-Fi, so you can book your taxi from the hotel, most restaurants or tourist destinations you visit in the city. It is also an easy way to pay for your taxi as you do not need to negotiate the fair or have extra cash on hand to settle after the ride.

#2 XE Currency

$1 is 32.84 THB

The conversion rate can be a little tricky to remember when quickly trying to pay for a meal or other items such as a souvenir at a tourist shop or a handmade item at a night market.

By using a currency exchange app, even without Wi-Fi, you can determine the cost easily. Just remember when you do have Wi-Fi to update in the app, as currency can change frequently throughout the course of the trip; however it is likely it will be minimally.

#3 Banking app

Downloading your bank app(s) onto your phone before traveling to Thailand is a great way to keep track of what you are spending, keep track of conversion rate expenditures when using your debit or credit card and check that there are no payments that you do not recall making.
Check your balance and transactions periodically throughout the trip or even set up notifications so that each time you do connect with Wi-Fi, your app will notify you of all recent transactions that you can then verify.

#4 Google translate

Google translate has a particularly useful feature of allowing you to take pictures of signs and then translates them. You do need Wi-Fi for this feature, but it will help when you are around your hotel or at any destination with Wi-Fi, which could be anywhere from a tourist attraction to a business to most restaurants you will visit.

#5 Learn Thai

A great one to download before your trip and even begin using on your travels to the airport is Learn Thai, an app that teaches you useful phrases like

“how much is this?” and “I don’t understand”. If you are exploring areas that are less populated by tourists, this app could be particularly useful as some individuals may struggle more with speaking English. It could also be an opportunity to learn and practice your Thai when ordering food, or speaking with a friendly local.

#6 Field Trip

This app also requires Wi-Fi, but you can use it from the hotel and begin your exploration there and check this app whenever you do find Wi-Fi elsewhere in the city. The Field Trip app searches for sightseeing opportunities in your immediate area and even gives some information about the attraction. It could be a great way to uncover hidden gems in Thailand right in your neighborhood!

The Story of the Tuk Tuk

One of the highlights and best-known attractions of Thailand are the three-wheeled Tuk Tuk taxis. But the question is, when did this transportation become a must for all tourists?

Tuk Tuks were actually originally developed by Japan. They are a modern-day version of the rickshaw, which is a carriage with two to three wheels that were once pulled by one to two people. In Thai, a rickshaw is called samlor which literally means three wheels. The name of Tuk Tuks, however, is thought to come from the noise that the original engines would make as they sped through the streets of Bangkok and other cities in Thailand and Japan.

Although Tuk Tuks are one of the highlights in Bangkok for tourists, it does not mean they are the only form of transportation. In fact, it is a popular form of transportation among locals also. In fact, Tuk Tuks are often shared between locals who are going on routine travels, such as to various market areas.

Tuk Tuks also vary depending on the region in which they are found. They may look more like cars in Bangkok as they have been modernized alongside the city,

but in other areas of Thailand they look like upgraded three-wheeled motorbikes, sometimes with benches that can accommodate a greater amount of passengers. There also is some consensus in color choice depending on the region of Thailand that the Tuk Tuk operates in.

Tuk Tuks, unfortunately, do contribute quite a bit to air pollution, but there are talks in Thailand of slowly transitioning to electric Tuk Tuks. Indeed, there are many opportunities to rent electric scooters in Bangkok and other cities around Thailand.

As this form of transportation has evolved from a manually-pulled cart to one of the main forms of automatic transportation in Thailand, anything is possible!

We are confident many if not all of our Executive MBA students will enjoy a Tuk Tuk ride during their stay in Bangkok.

A City of Play and Possibilities – KidZania

On the fourth day in Thailand, our Cohort 15 members will enjoy a unique experience at KidZania, an interactive city for children where they can role-play over 100 different careers.

Go back to your childhood, between the ages of 4 and 14, and picture yourself in a world where you have access to almost any job you can imagine and act like you worked there in real-time. Truly the best interactive museum you can think of, right? Well thankfully, out of the 19 countries that currently have KidZania, Thailand happens to be one of them. KidZania means ‘Land of Cool Kids’.  Enjoy being a kid again and experiencing this opportunity!

Through role-playing, children are able to learn about concepts such as community, money, and even the diversity of culture. “KidZo” is the currency in KidZania, which can be used for a number of things such as buying food at the grocery store, paying for a visit to the dentist, and even paying taxes. This experience is set up as its own community representing

all aspects of careers such as firefighters, hairdressers, postal workers, chefs, broadcasters, astronauts and health care providers. Additionally, this community is separated geographically to appreciate some careers that are influenced by their culture.

The first KidZania was created in Santa Fe, Mexico City, and has the largest population of children in the world. Over time KidZania has grown to 19 countries, in 24 cities and 10 more countries are opening a total of 12 new locations in the next calendar year or so. The idea stemmed from entrepreneurs who are children at heart, and shared their imagination with the world, giving children a place to create, play, share, learn, and be instilled with a more global perspective of a world full of possibilities.