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.
When New Castle County Department of Economic Development launched NCC Innovates, it was with a specific goal in mind: to support economic development through entrepreneurship. Through NCC Innovates, New Castle County chose to sponsor a one-year membership to the Resident Incubator Program at the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce Emerging Enterprise Center. The sponsorship includes office space and amenities, 24/7 access to the Emerging Enterprise Center, one-on-one business mentoring, business growth workshops and a one-year membership in the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce.
A call for applications was issued in April and two finalists were selected on Friday, June 8, 2018.
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 needs 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.
The finalists were selected after submitting a 5 page business canvas which included information on the business, market and industry landscape, go-to-market strategy and financial estimates. Each application was judged on several criteria, including business feasibility, understanding of market need and opportunity, clear articulation of value proposition, go-to-market strategy and realistic financial projections.
The jury consisted of five members of the Emerging Enterprise Center’s Advisory Board and represented a broad background of interests and expertise. The winner will be announced by County Executive Matt Meyer on July 12, 2018 at the 2018 Delaware Entrepreneurial Summit organized by the Emerging Enterprise Center and the Small Business Development Center and held at the DoubleTree by Hilton on Concord Pike.
David J. Freschman Entrepreneur of the Year Award Winner: Alisa Morkides, Brew HaHa!
Alisa Morkides is the founder and owner of Brew Ha Ha!, an independent chain of coffeehouses headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware.
During a vacation to Florence in the spring of ’93, Alisa fell in love with the quality coffee experience in Italy. One day, while sitting on a rose-covered terrace overlooking Florence, sipping yet another perfect cappuccino, she thought to herself, ”Why can’t they make coffee like this in Wilmington?’ And then she thought, “Wait a minute, why can’t I make coffee like this in Wilmington?” And a seed was planted. When she returned from vacation, she pushed full steam ahead into opening Wilmington’s first bona fide espresso cafe. She leased a 750-square foot storefront in Greenville, Delaware, maxed out her credit cards, and opened her first Brew Ha Ha! cafe in December 1993 – in the middle of a recession and a brutally cold winter.
Today, Brew Ha Ha! has grown to ten coffeehouses with sales of over $7 million, and earned many quality awards, including being voted Best Coffee in Delaware for 22 years in a row by the readers of Delaware Today. In 2015, Morkides opened a second business, Brandywine Coffee Roasters, which sells coffee worldwide.
Mrs. Morkides lives in Wilmington with her husband Chris – a therapist and reformed convenience store coffee drinker – and their daughter Kina.
Written by Erica Crell, Program Support Coordinator, Emerging Enterprise Center
If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner in the tri-state area, you should attend the 1st Annual Delaware Entrepreneurial Summit presented by the Emerging Enterprise Center and Small Business Development Center on July 12.
This full day event is packed with quality content, information and resources for those looking to build, connect, and grow as entrepreneurs and business owners.
Whether you are thinking of starting a business, a start-up, or an established small business that is looking to grow, the Entrepreneurial Summit has got you covered. But if that’s not enough, here are 10 more reasons why you should be there:
- Workshops and Panel Discussions – Whether you’re looking to articulate your value proposition, understand cash flow, or get funding, the Summit has you covered with workshops in two tracks. The technical/science track is geared specifically for those start-ups or small businesses that are in high tech fields while the alternative track is geared towards the more traditional entrepreneur.
- Networking – Network with over 100 entrepreneurs, small business owners, resources and professionals in the tri-state area about developing your business.
- Mentorship – What better place to find a business mentor to help grow your business than at the Entrepreneurial Summit. The Summit is being presented by the Emerging Enterprise Center and the Small Business Development Center and a number of additional business mentoring and advisory organizations will be available for you to talk to, including SCORE Delaware, the SBA and many more….
- Sources of Funding Panel Discussion – If you want to learn the ins and outs of raising capital, you’ll want to hear it from our panel of experts.
- Awards Luncheon – The New Castle County Chamber of Commerce and the Emerging Enterprise Center are always looking to recognize those achievers and at this event we look forward to announcing the Entrepreneur of the Year, the Entrepreneurial Advocate of the Year and the winner of the NCC Innovates Entrepreneurial Sponsorship Award.
- Keynote Speaker – Come and hear from Chuck Nunan, owner of Harvest Ridge Winery, and learn about his route to entrepreneurial success.
- Entrepreneurial Showcase – Check out over 15 up-and-coming entrepreneurs and innovators that that the Emerging Enterprise Center and the Small Business Development Center have identified as up and coming entrepreneurs in Delaware. Find out about what they’re doing to get their businesses off the ground and be inspired!
- Delaware Resources Tabletop Expo – Meet and have one-on-one conversations with Delaware resources that are available to entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their businesses.
- Happy Hour – Join your fellow entrepreneurs for a happy hour to engage in personal conversations and build future relationships.
- You can’t beat the price! All of the above for under $100.