MBAs Intern with Hi-Gros and Startups
March 4, 2014
Mayank Agrawal and Kevin Thorne, President, Best Diamond Packaging talk shop
Promising hi-growth companies and start-ups have been paired with our best MBAs for the Entrepreneur Technical Assistance Program (E-TAP). Students were selected based on prior work experience and a passion for entrepreneurship. The pilot program aims to help start-ups and existing hi-growth businesses in economically distressed communities. Selected companies have the potential to grow and are in a range of industries from tourism to manufacturing.
Best Diamond Packaging
Best Diamond Packaging manufactures high quality paper products for the food service industry. Kevin Thorne founded the company in 2003 and worked previously as a computer consultant, corporate banker, and McDonalds’ supply chain management. He has built Best Diamond into the industry elader in dispenser napkins. Kenan-Flagler MBA student Mayank Agrawal has been selected to work with Kevin. Before coming to UNC, Mayank earned degrees in Engineering and Engineering Management from Rochester Institute of Technology and Dartmouth and has worked as a management consultant in Boston.
“I am very pleased to have the assistance of Mayank to help us explore growth opportunities for the company. The caliber of students selected by the Kenan Institute, coupled with the type of training they receive at UNC gives me high hopes that we will discover some significant avenues for growth here at Best Diamond.”
For more information about Best Diamond, please visit www.bestdiamondpkg.com.
Raised in a Barn Farm
Raised in a Barn Farm is a destination farm and market for local farmers, artisans and crafters in Chocowinity. This spring they are launching their first community supported agriculture program which allows community members to subscribe to a weekly box of fresh, locally produced foods. The farm hosted their first event after the Chocowinity Christmas Parade in which hundreds of people came out to support their new business. Kenan-Flagler MBA student Joanna Furgiuele has been selected to work Raised in a Barn Farm. Joanna is concurrently pursuing a Masters of Environmental Management from Duke University. She graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in Biology and managed educational programs for Sierra Nevada Journeys in Reno, NV before coming to NC.
Jane Boahn, the business’s founder, hopes to capitalize on the new wave of agritourism and support the sustainable, local food movement by helping the community reconnect with the land. “Our hope and dream is that NC Growth can help us with our short-term and long-term business plan that will help our farm grow and benefit the community as a whole. We’re very excited for the future and think we can learn a lot from Joanna and the Kenan Institute.”
For more information about Raised in a Barn Farm, please visit www.raisedinabarnfarm.com
Inner Banks Outfitters
Inner Banks Outfitters is recreation and tourism company that offers bike and kayak sales, rentals and tours and hosts events along the Pamlico River and historic downtown Washington. Founder Liane Harsh started her business seven years ago and has become an integral part of the Washington community.
Kenan-Flagler MBA student Jessie Maxwell has been selected to work with Inner Banks Outfitters. Jessie is concurrently pursuing a Masters of Public Policy at Duke University. Maxwell graduated from Dartmouth College in 2009 and jumped into the world of education as a Teach for America Corps member in Bertie County, NC. She then continued her teaching career at Durham Public Schools and as a Teacher Advisor for TIME for Kids magazine.
For more information about Inner Banks Outfitters, please visit www.innerbanksoutfitters.com
Rise and Grind Coffeehouse
Rise and Grind Coffeehouse is a new café and gathering place coming to downtown Windsor, founded by Nicole Hawkins, Tekeyla Hassell, and Jasmine Cowan. Unique to the area, the coffee shop will serve pastries and light lunches, as well as offer business services, entertainment nights and an event space. The founders have varied entrepreneurial experience and business education backgrounds.
Kenan-Flagler MBA student Chris Long has been selected to work with Rise and Grind. Chris graduated from Wake Forest University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Analytical Finance. After graduating, he accepted a position with Branch Banking & Trust’s (BB&T) Leadership Development Program and within five years was serving as Associate and Assistant Vice President in BB&T Syndicated Finance group.
For more information about Rise and Grind Coffeehouse, please visit www.facebook.com/riseandgrindbertie.
Carolina Wild is a muscadine juice beverage company launching their inaugural product this spring. Founders Dennis Tracz and Elizabeth Maxwell returned to Duplin County in the summer of 2012 to care for Maxwell’s aging parents. Dennis, a serial entrepreneur, and Elizabeth, a professor and former director of development at James Madison College of Business, wanted to find a better use for farms in NC that tobacco left behind. Because muscadine grapes, which are indigenous to NC, are very high in antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, fiber and protein, they determined that muscadines could be as profitable as tobacco. Dennis and Elizabeth will bring their special blend of muscadines to market this month.
Kenan-Flagler MBA student Ashwini Rathi earned a degree in architecture at IIT-Roorkee in India and interned with celebrated architect Daniel Libeskind who built Freedom Towers in New York City. He has worked with Dar Group, one of the largest engineering and design consultancies in the world, on projects ranged including 5-Star hotels, military complexes, universities, and the New National Assembly Building in Angola. He also brings practical experience in entrepreneurship from helping with his family’s multi-generational businesses.
Ashwini “is going to implement our program with Amazon.com,” said co-founder Dennis Tracz. “One project involves promoting chefs and their recipes on the Web, and another will get Carolina Wild juice up for sale on Amazon.com.”
For more information about Carolina Wild, please visit http://carolinawildjuice.com
Student Mayank Agrawal and CEO Kevin Thorne Meet to Discuss One of the E-Tap Projects for the Spring
Student Joanna Furgieula Meets with the Team At Raised in a Barn Farm in Chocowinity
Kenan-Flagler MBA student Jessie Maxwell has been selected to work with Inner Banks Outfitters.
MBA student Ashwini Rathi is going to implement Carolina Wild's program with Amazon.com