Social Enterprises – An EEC Soft Landings Company is on the Rise!

Social Enterprises was founded in the US in 2015. It is a company to give consultancy to entrepreneurs and investors who want to invest in the US.  People know that in 2016 world trade amounted to 16 billion dollars. The US has 3.9 billion dollars and 24 percent of world trade. Thanks to Social Enterprises, more than 250 companies were established in the USA since 2015 to take advantage of the opportunities the US offers. These small-scale companies are entering the world market by opening up to the US market. More than 300 hundred entrepreneurs and investors came to the US to found their companies. Social Enterprises, in other words, is a bridging company that open the US’ doors to Europe.

Having considered that there are many companies in the world, it is a fact that business consultant firms are needed to make them more successful. According to official records, there are about 200 million companies in the world. 80 percent of them are local, and 70 percent of them want to open up to the world. Social Enterprises takes part here. It is serving its customers in many ways to transfer their companies from being local to global, from opening a bank account to accountant services and any other operations without any intermediary to customers who want to establish a business. It does not only set up a company in the US, but it also provides services to legal counselling by delivering institutionalisation of companies.

On the other hand, the institutionalisation of the companies is impossible before understanding the US system well. The founders of Social Enterprises, Samet Oynamış and Fatih Pekar, are aware that consulting firms that have not been integrated into the US market cannot solve the US system by watching from the outside, and they experienced themselves firstly by entering into the US business system itself and giving information to entrepreneurs. The founders are now encouraging and consulting many enterprises from all around the world to convey their experiences. Moreover, Social Enterprises is trying to be integrated to e-world. The founders are focusing on e-government systems, services and e-government solution systems.

Furthermore, Social Enterprises directs software and technology companies to “International Soft Landing Program” focused on providing companies from the tech and innovative space the opportunity to learn about doing business instead of Silicon Valley of San Francisco. Participants in the program will receive exposure to key areas including marketing, sales and so on. These courses the ones which entrepreneurs have to know about.  For example, for “must-known” issues, Social Enterprises highly recommends the Delaware Emerging Enterprise Center to entrepreneurs. This centre is a professional business incubator that helps start-up businesses learn entrepreneurial skills. Its business growth workshops are designed to improve critical business skills necessary for start-up and growing companies.

Finally, Social Enterprises provides consultancy services to all business people from Europe to the US through their partnerships in America, their own experiences and business visions. Social Enterprises invites from Europe to the US.

Come Join Our Entrepreneurial Village

We’ve all heard the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The Emerging Enterprise Center (EEC) was born because of the belief by the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce (NCCCC) that the same philosophy applies to the success of new businesses. Creating a nurturing environment in which early stage businesses could grow, develop and succeed was part of the vision in establishing the EEC. But the NCCCC also recognized the need to nurture the entrepreneurial eco-system by engaging and leveraging the great work done by a variety of organizations in place to support small businesses.

The EEC has grown from a NCCCC Venture, a key initiative of the Economic Development Council (EDC), to one that has continued to produce solid results. The EDC is a partnership between the New Castle County Government, Private Businesses and the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce. In a little over 10 years, the EEC has worked with 34 companies, generated $61.4 Million in Revenues and employed 201 people. These results don’t happen alone. Both the Chamber and the EEC has actively reached out to the entrepreneurial community to partner on efforts to create awareness among small businesses and budding entrepreneurs and let them know that they are not alone; there are resources available to help them.

One of those resources is the New Castle County’s Open for Business. This is a monthly Open House event, where start-ups, small, and mid-size businesses can come and get their questions answered. Organizations, including the Small Business Administration, New Castle County Purchasing, Small Business Development Center, SCORE, and other small business organizations come together to be available to businesses and to share information amongst themselves. Entrepreneurs, innovators, and interested community members from New Castle County and the surrounding region meet with over 16 resources to learn who can help them.

Join us on the fourth Thursday of each month from 9:00 am – 11:00 am for our Open for Business sessions held at 920 Justison Street and meet with representatives from our partner organizations. Collectively, these organizations provide a range of services that help start-ups advance their business model, reach potential customers, land government contracts, secure loans, meet state regulatory requirements and generally mentor entrepreneurs striking out on their own for the first time. Come join our entrepreneurial village, the fourth Thursday of every month to network and to learn from resources in Delaware that are here to help you.

Hear a testimonial:

Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart…but help is at hand!

Sometimes the idea is the easy part.  And for scientists and technologists it’s just the beginning of a very long road.

For 2018 Swim with the Sharks winner Sumedh Surwade of SAS Nanotechnologies it began with PhD research which led to a proprietary, patent pending anticorrosive coating technology that not only prevents corrosion but also heals and protects metals from corrosion in the cause of surface scratches or damage.  Next came an NSF SBIR grant for further development, and conversations with potential strategic partners for technology testing and licensing. Today, Dr. Surwade is evaluating additional applications and routes to market, including manufacturing in Delaware.  That’s the short version.

Sharron Cirillo of SC Associates presents Sumedh Surwade with an SC Associates Business Starter Backpack as they discuss his short- and long-term accounting needs.

You would think it ends once the technology is developed, proven and accepted.  Not quite.  Then comes the day to day blocking and tackling of running a business which requires just as critical a foundation.  Fortunately, the EEC and its partners are here to help.  Having won the EEC’s Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition, Dr. Surwade will be receiving a New Castle County Government NCC Innovates $10,000 award that he will be using to purchase vital testing equipment.  This equipment will speed up product commercialization by reducing the time (and associated cost) of testing from 10 days to 3 hours.  And last week, Dr. Surwade met with Rich Roux of Info Solutions, LLC and Sharron Cirillo of SC Associates, SWTS sponsors, and both of whom donated services to the winning company.  Info Solutions, LLC have discussed what Dr. Surwade’s IT needs will look like as he seeks to scale SAS Nanotechnologies, and SC Associates will be working with him to ensure that the financial processes he has in place can adapt and grow as his business grows.   As for the Emerging Enterprise Center…. Dr. Surwade is all set to hold his first Advisory Board meeting at his new Riverfront Conference Room!

Richard Roux of Info Solutions talks to Dr. Surwade about IT considerations as his business grows.

Congratulations To Our EEC Client, Drone Workforce Solutions, For Winning Their Third Grant

The Emerging Enterprise Center is excited to announce that Drone Workforce Solutions has received its third grant from the Delaware Department of Labor, Division of Employment and Training and Delaware Workforce Development Board. This is the third such drone grant awarded by the state of Delaware in its history. DWS is honored to be the recipient of this and all grants for drone training.

In January 2017, DWS Drones was awarded a planning grant to create a Strategic Workforce Training Plan for drone technology that met Delaware employer’s workforce needs, advance the skills of Delaware workers, grow the state’s economy and increase sustainable employment for working families.

In September 2017 DWS Drones was awarded a training grant to teach 10 Delaware citizens how  to  become a highly skilled and paid commercial drone operator. Students graduated in December 2017.

With this award under the “Adult Occupational Skills Training Programs” unemployed students in selected zip codes will participate in a 10-week, 70-hour course which includes topics such as: the anatomy of drones (building their own), aerodynamics and principles of flight, weather, reading sectional charts, flight planning & air space, aerial photography, videography/editing, drone entrepreneurship and many hours of flying drones. They also receive skills training. Additionally, each student will be given the most advanced drone manufactured by DJI, the leader in drone technology, (Phantom 4 Pro v.2).

Drone Workforce Solutions has started a pipeline of talented commercial FAA certified drone operators through its employment company to expand the state’s technology sector and increase sustainable employment for men and women from diverse backgrounds of today’s working families.

DWS graduates will receive a “Certificate of Completion” from Drone Workforce Solutions; the only drone training and employment company that is approved by the Delaware Department of Education, the New Jersey Department of Education, and the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Said President Theo Nix, Jr., Esq., “The expansion of commercial drones could add $82 billion in economic value over the next ten years and by 2025 employ an additional 100,000 Americans. Delawareans in particular and Americans in general can be at the forefront globally in this technology”.

DWS also offers employment opportunities for FAA certified drone pilots through its drone staffing and employment part of the company. Pilots are encouraged to contact DWS through its website.

Drone Workforce Solutions was formed by visionary and company President, Theophilus R. Nix, Jr., Esq. and his wife Suzanne Nix, COO. Their goal is to be recognized as “THE” premier global staffing and placement company for DWS validated drone operators, with the “Best in Class” standards for providing service and solutions  to organizations interested in incorporating drones into their operations.

SAS Nanotechnologies Wins This Year’s Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition

Written by Dora Cheatham, Program Manager, Emerging Enterprise Center

Beating out eleven other startup companies, and despite tough competition, SAS Nanotechnologies cruised into the no. 1 position to win the Emerging Enterprise Center’s Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition—now in its 6th year and with a Grand Prize totaling over $16,000 in cash and services.

Dr. Sumedh Surwade from SAS Nanotechnologies responds to questions from the judges following his pitch. Photos courtesy of Bob Horton, Creative Image Associates

SAS Nanotechnologies won this year’s award with their proprietary, patent pending anticorrosive coating technology that not only prevents corrosion but also heals and protects metals from corrosion in the case of surface scratch or damage. Founded by Sumedh Surwade, and growing out of his PhD research, the technology was recently awarded an NSF  SBIR  grant to further develop the technology. Dr. Surwade is already in conversations with potential strategic partners for technology testing and licensing and is considering additional routes to market, including manufacturing in Delaware.  Dr. Surwade plans on using his winnings to purchase testing equipment that will speed up product commercialization by reducing the time and cost of testing from 10 days to 3 hours.

For the second time this year, the Emerging Enterprise Center, Delaware’s first small business incubator located at the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce, partnered with New Castle County Government, as well as multiple sponsors, to offer the prize package which included:

  • Cash prize of $10,000 from the New Castle County NCC Innovates Program
  • $2,000 business startup and bookkeeping package from SC Associates
  • $1,400 in IT services from Info Solutions
  • 6 month membership in the Emerging Enterprise Center Virtual Incubation Program (valued at $1,800)
  • New Castle County Chamber of Commerce Marketing Package (valued at $1,400)
  • One year membership in World Trade Center Delaware (valued at $395)
  • One year membership in New Castle County Chamber of Commerce (valued at $350)

Each applicant was judged based on a combined score of both their written application and oral pitch.  Judging criteria included business feasibility, understanding of market need and opportunity, clear articulation of value proposition, go-to-market strategy and soft skills.  Three finalists were then selected to pitch before a live audience and a new panel of judges at the Emerging Enterprise Center Luncheon which was held at the Grand Opera House in Wilmington.  The three finalists included SAS Nanotechnologies, D150 Fueling and Smart Kidz Club.

The Grand Prize winner was selected based on a combined judge/audience vote (85%/15%).  The judges included former Swim with the Sharks winner Amira Idris (Thera-V), Dr. Daniel Young (Goldey Beacom College), Sam Waltz (Strategic Capital & Business Counsel) and Dr. Janet Reed (Potter Anderson Corroon, LLP).

Above: Dr. Sumedh Surwade from SAS Nanotechnologies accepts his award from New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer
Back left to right: Dr. Daniel Young (Goldey-Beacom College), Bob Chadwick (New Castle County Chamber of Commerce), Sam Waltz (Strategic Capital & Counsel), Dr. Janet Reed (Potter Anderson Corroon, LLP).
Front left to right: Amira Idris (Thera-V), Dora Cheatham (Emerging Enterprise Center), Matt Meyer (New Castle County Executive), Dr. Sumedh Surwade (SAS Nanotechnologies), Tamarra Morris (New Castle County Government).
Photos courtesy of Bob Horton, Creative Image Associates

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s in a Brand?

Written by Dora Cheatham, Program Manager, Emerging Enterprise Center

While a rose by any other name would smell as sweet in the world of Shakespeare, that’s not necessarily the case in the world of marketing. As a friend profoundly stated recently “standing in a garage doesn’t make me a car.”

Whether you’re a multi-national firm or a one-man band, B2C or B2B, your brand is your calling card and in a world where we are inundated with choice, your brand becomes increasingly important. Why? When a customer wishes to make a purchase, once the objective decisions of specifications, price, and quality are made, what’s left is the subjective confidence that a reputable brand name brings with it.

While consumer marketers focus heavily on branding, B2B marketers still have a way to go. A 2007 study by James Gregory and Donald Sexton showed just how much wealth is locked up – both in terms of revenue and market capitalization – in B2B brand equity, and how failing to build on that can be costly. Eccles et al in an article on companies and their reputations also state that 70% – 80% of market value comes from “hard-to-assess intangible assets such as brand equity, intellectual capital, and goodwill”. So it is important that companies nurture not only their reputations but also their brand.

So how do you build a brand?

Building a brand takes time, patience and, most importantly, consistency. The 4 steps of a reputable brand are quality, differentiation, added value, and full potential. As you climb each step, you gain market share, brand recognition, product loyalty and profit margins.

Step 1: Quality – The foundation and starting point of a reputable brand is a product or service that is consistent in quality and delivery. However, given the number and frequency of imitators that inundate the market, a quality product alone will barely allow you to sustain a business long term, let alone build a brand! Ideally, you should also build in superior performance and barriers to competitive entry, as well as continuous innovation.

Step 2: Differentiation – The “personality” of your product line(s) and business. This should be incorporated in the essential marketing elements: your marketing communications, packaging, brand names and logos. These should work in concert to support not only the performance and delivery of your products but also the personality of your business.

Step 3: Added Value – Also known as the “augmented brand”, you add value by meeting expectations beyond what is required: exceptional customer service, guarantees, terms or credit, consultative guidance are all ways that businesses offer added value. These are benefits to the customer that have the additional advantage of being harder to imitate by existing or potential competitors.

Step 4: Full Potential – The hardest to achieve, a brand reaches its full potential when“its added values are so great that the customers will not willingly accept substitutes even when the alternatives are substantially cheaper or more readily available.” (Doyle & Stern). Ferraris and Rolexes aside, the ability to reach full potential is based on often psychological intangibles – why is Coca-Cola the leading brand over Pepsi despite the fact that Pepsi wins the taste test? In an article on adapting branding to social media, Patrick Barwise and Sean Meehan identify 4 basics when developing a brand’s full potential: a clear customer promise, building trust by delivering on it, continually improving on the promise, innovating beyond the familiar. I would add Simon Mainwaring’s characteristics of self-definition, transparency, authenticity and accountability. Ultimately, it is the customer’s complete satisfaction and confidence in the company and its products.

A Final Word

Never forget your customers. The brand is important, but the goal of marketing is to get – and keep – customers. So while you are creating brand awareness, make sure you are connecting with your customers in the way they want you to. Listen to both current and potential customers for insight; tap into their creativity for new product development; respond to their reactions – both positive and negative – to your products and services. Remember that ultimately you are selling to them, not to yourself, and responding to them is one more step in reaching your full brand potential.

Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition Finalists Announced

An impressive group of entrepreneurs presented to a team of judges this week in the preliminary pitches for the Emerging Enterprise Center’s Annual Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition.

A total of 12 companies pitched before the final three were chosen.  These three companies will compete for more than $16,000 in cash and services in front of a live audience on 28th September, to be held at the Grand Opera House on Market Street in Wilmington. The Grand Prize represents a combination of partnerships with New Castle County Government and the NCC Innovates Program, as well as entrepreneurial service providers and sponsors, including SC Associates, Info Solutions and World Trade Center Delaware. The finalists include:

D150 Fueling, LLC is an on-site fueling and fuel marketing company for commercial fleets that offers Ultra-Low-Sulfur Diesel, Biodiesel and Off-Road Diesel.  Coupled with FuelCloud software, D150 Fueling offers a fueling program tailored to an individual fleet’s need that saves time, money and emissions.  With contracts in hand, D150 Fueling is in full launch mode and ready to expand its market.

SAS Nanotechnologies, LLC has developed a proprietary, patent pending anticorrosive coating technology that not only prevents corrosion but also heals and protects metals from corrosion in the case of surface scratch/damage. Growing out of PhD research, the technology was recently awarded an NSF SBIR grant to further develop the technology and is already in conversations with potential strategic partners for technology testing and licensing.

SmartKidzClub, Inc. is an innovative, affordable EdTech platform that creates original, currently relevant and unique educational content that is designed to interact and engage with the large and growing majority of the new generation of children ages 1-11 that is using, and has access to mobile devices.

All 12 applicants submitted a 5 page business canvas and were invited to present a preliminary pitch before a panel of judges.  Each applicant was judged based on a combined score of both their written application and verbal pitch.  Judging criteria included business feasibility, understanding of market need and opportunity, clear articulation of value proposition, go-to-market strategy and soft skills.   The 3 finalists will pitch before a live audience and a new panel of judges at the Swim with the Sharks Luncheon to be at the  Grand Opera House (Studio 1) in Market Street, Wilmington.  The winner will be selected based on a combined judge/audience vote (85%/15%).

All of the applicants – who have been invited to showcase their business at the event with a small table – included:

  • 360VR Technology
  • Body Wisdom Wellness
  • Craft Beverage Services
  • Culture Crush
  • Elev8 My Life
  • Mail Express Services
  • Mamaste Doula & Birth Services
  • My MedChoices
  • Vegan Healthy

The Emerging Enterprise Center is an initiative of the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce and New Castle County Economic Development Council.  The Emerging Enterprise Center is a business incubator that helps start up businesses develop a long term sustainable model, grow their business, and learn essential entrepreneurial skills.

Since its inception in 2008, the Emerging Enterprise Center has assisted 42 businesses.  These businesses have generated over $62 million in revenue and employed 200 people while in the program.

Going Global – One Size Doesn’t Always Fit All

Written by Dora Cheatham, Program Manager, Emerging Enterprise Center

With the ever increasing influence of the universal language of social media, technology and electronics in our day-to-day world it’s easy to forget about individual cultural attitudes reflected in values, language, religion, aesthetics, behavior, even food.

 

Even after living in the US for some 20 years, as a British ex-pat I still believe that tea is best when drunk out of china cup (and quite possibly the answer to all ills), that manners maketh man, and that gas is something that comes out of my stove and should not go into my car.

Why do languages have words that are practically untranslatable in other languages? Greek “filotimo”, Portuguese “saudade”, French “dépaysement”, Spanish “duende”, German “extrawunsch”.

My point is – certain cultural behaviors and beliefs are ingrained: we may adapt but do we really change?

Today’s technology is making international business faster and easier. We’ve all heard the “think global act local” refrain but what does this really mean? Certainly from an operational standpoint you can leverage economies of scale by standardizing wherever possible, but if you truly want to succeed in the global arena, you need to be ready to adjust to those individual cultural attitudes that are ingrained within the country you are trying to enter. Indeed, this is the approach Electrolux took as they tracked market trends and realized that they could maximize value by standardizing basic chassis and components to leverage efficiencies then localize brands to meet the needs of individual customer groups (check out this great HBR read by Christopher Bartlett and Sumantra Ghoshal)

So How DO You Act Local?

As you look to adapt your products and marketing to individual markets, research ahead of time to see what does and doesn’t work in the market(s) you are seeking to enter. Do not assume that a market strategy that worked for your products at home will automatically work in other countries.

Differing approaches to sales by distributors or representatives from region to region could impact how you market and promote your product; consumer perceptions in different regions will affect how you position your product; in some cases, you may even wish to consider localized branding (let’s face it – we’re not all Coke or Nike).

Here are some items to take into consideration as you go global with your small business:

Language – Simply translating your marketing materials from one language to another can open a Pandora’s box of problems – even more so when the nuances of local jargon, idiom
or puns are used as part of the slogan. For example, Qantas’ great slogan “Don’t be a Wallaby, Fly Qantas”, would lose much of its national flavor in any translation and, there is a slew of examples where poor translations resulted in a less than effective marketing campaign – even for some of the best multi-national corporations. Avoid using online translation tools and make sure the cultural “flavor” of your marketing is relevant to your target customer!

Education – a high vs low literacy rate within a culture may impact how you package, deliver and market your final product. For example, countries with a low literacy rate have a tendency to feature a picture of what’s inside a particular package, while usage information is presented in easy-to-understand icon format rather than step-by-step written instructions.

Religion – while religion is often considered a taboo subject, it is smart business to be aware of religious beliefs that may cause offense in your promotional efforts or even your package design; one should also be aware that some religions prohibit the use of certain

goods and services while at the same time creating potential opportunities for markets in alternative products. For example, if you are entering a market where certain foods are taboo or avoided during specific religious periods, is there a potential for offering alternatives?

Aesthetics – designs, forms, colors, shapes, sounds, fragrances, music. Colors have different connotations in different countries, music tastes vary across countries, and different fragrances appeal to different regions as any fragrance manufacturer can tell you. Did you know that…

  • Campbell alters its recipe of tomato soup to suit palates in England, France and Italy;
  • the color red is considered good luck by ethnic Chinese while in the west the color is more often associated with danger or love. What message are you trying to get across and where?
  • in some cultures, black is considered the color of mourning, while others consider white or purple to be the color of mourning;
  • in Japan, products are rarely – if ever – sold in fours since the pronunciation of the Japanese word for four sounds like the word for death.

Do your research and make sure you are aware of the consumer preferences in your target market ahead of time – it’s a lot cheaper than a failed marketing campaign!

Social Organization, Social Behaviors and Material Culture – how people relate to each other (while it’s acceptable to refuse refreshments in most Western European cultures, to do so in the Middle East or Asia is usually considered offensive), the roles of men and women, social classes, family and extended family, marriage, attitudes. Any of these things can contribute to the psychology of a purchasing decision – from the most basic consumer buy to a B2B purchasing process.

Regulatory Requirements – make sure you are aware of the regulatory requirements of the markets you are entering. Protectionist markets such as Brazil have specific requirements regarding the import of certain goods into their country; certain countries prohibit the use of components that are commonly used in others. Find the right experts to help you navigate these areas.

Growing Globally

As your company grows in your chosen global market(s), make sure your ongoing marketing decisions are made with the benefit of local input and ensure that you leverage local strengths. One of the fatal flaws of a global strategy is to assume that “we know it all” based on a single experience or pure economic analysis, but your local representatives – if well chosen – should act as a resource for local opportunities as well as potential threats. In today’s highly connected world – an opportunity or threat can easily extend to other markets so these should be assessed and acted upon quickly and effectively.

As always, the final word goes to the expert:

“Any communication or marketing professional needs cross-cultural research and communications skills to be able to succeed in the future”

 Marye Tharp

Dora Cheatham Named Director of the New Castle County Economic Development Council

Bob Chadwick, President of the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce, today announced that he has appointed Dora Cheatham as Director of the of the New Castle County Economic Development Council. She succeeds Chadwick who served in the position for 11 years prior to becoming Chamber President last month.
Ms. Cheatham currently manages the Emerging Enterprise Center – a business incubator and flagship initiative of the Council – and will retain those duties as well as serving as the Council’s Director. Chadwick said, “Dora has done a phenomenal job running the Emerging Enterprise Center. She has boundless energy, tremendous knowledge, and a passion for driving business growth. I have enormous confidence in her abilities and I know she will do great work for the Council.”
The New Castle County Economic Development Council is a public/private partnership between the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce and New Castle County government that brings together industry and government leaders to foster responsible economic development and sustainable business growth in New Castle County, while supporting and promoting initiatives to improve quality of life. Current Council members include representatives from a number of industries including healthcare, science, manufacturing, banking, construction, and more.
Ms. Cheatham brings with her a background in international business development, innovation, and marketing, and hopes to be able leverage this experience in her new role.

New Castle County Chamber of Commerce Announces David J. Freschman Entrepreneur of the Year and Entrepreneurial Advocate of the Year

As the 1st Annual Delaware Entrepreneurial Summit approaches, the Chamber of Commerce last week announced the winners of the David J. Freschman Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Entrepreneurial Advocate of the Year Award.

The large number of applications received for both awards were narrowed down to the two winners that most demonstrated the characteristics sought by the selection committee.

David J. Freschman Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Alisa Morkides, Owner and Founder, Brew Ha Ha!

A fateful trip to Florence in the Spring of 1993 was the catalyst to the creation of one of Wilmington’s most beloved coffee hangouts. Educated as a chemist, and working in corporate management, Alisa never let go of her dream to start her own business. But it was while sipping another perfect cappuccino in a setting worthy of a Shakespearean drama that gave her the impetus to open Brew Ha Ha!, Wilmington’s first bona fide espresso café in a 750 square foot store front in Greenville, Delaware. Today, Brew Ha Ha! has grown to 10 coffee houses with sales of over $7 million, multiple awards, including Best Coffee in Delaware for over 22 years in a row. In 2015 Alisa started a second business, Brandywine Coffee Roasters, which sells coffee world wide.

Entrepreneurial Advocate of the Year Award

Mark Olazagasti, Managing Partner, Info Solutions, LLC

As managing partner and founding member of Info Solutions LLC, Mark Olazagasti has helped create and build one of the area’s preeminent IT infrastructure consulting and managed services firm. As a first generation entrepreneur, Mark has taken the lessons he has learned from his more than 25 years of operations, personnel, and project management experience to help mentor local entrepreneurs and students. Mark serves on numerous boards and committees, and as a moderator at various business-related events. In addition, Mark has conducted over 25 Q&A sessions for hundreds of students at local educational institutions including Goldey-Beacom College, Wilmington University, Delaware Technical Community College, and the University of Delaware.

In 2015, Mark founded YourMoney101, a non-profit organization focused on providing financial wellness and mentoring services to individuals and to companies with less than 250 employees.