Category

People

By | Innovation, People, Rochester, Social Entrepreneurship, Uncategorized

Can Millennials Actually Change the World?

By Ain CFE Staff

Daphne Pariser ’20 (PhD Candidate in Immunology and Microbiology) founded Humans for Education, an organization that partners with schools in developing nations to create sustainable, culturally-sensitive businesses so they can generate their own income to provide for students’ needs and help build strong communities. As UR student entrepreneurs, Daphne and her team have worked in our Student Incubator since September 2016. After their founding in 2015, they have earned over $45,000 in funding from competition wins, donations, a Farash Foundation grant, in addition to individual contributions. Their enterprise, Humans for Education, officially incorporated in 2016 and is now a federally-recognized non-profit through 501(c)(3) designation.

In addition to their other successes, Humans for Education has competed in many of the Ain Center’s business competitions. Competing against more than twenty strong teams, Daphne and her team finished as semi-finalists in the 2018 Mark Ain Business Plan Competition. They also competed in the 2018 Finger Lakes Regional Contest of the New York Business Plan competition, where the team won the top prize in the Social Entrepreneurship & Non-Profit category. They later went on to beat out teams throughout New York to take home first place in the statewide New York Business Plan Competition and received $10,000 for their winning venture.

As Humans for Education’s founder, Daphne routinely shares her story with anyone who may be interested in using their own talents to make a difference in the world.

Last weekend, Daphne spoke at a TEDx event hosted by Allendale Columbia School in Rochester. There she addressed the idea of using simple solutions to tackle an incredibly complex human problem: poverty. During her presentation, she explained that understanding the data surrounding this problem can help people get to the core of the issue and create solutions that are easy-to-use and sustainable over time.

Daphne and her Humans for Education team have been implementing these solutions, starting with a small school in Kenya. She argues that the success they’ve seen there was only achievable by first listening to the people who were most intimate with the problem and then creating a simple solution. Listen to her whole session below!

To learn more about Humans for Education, visit their website. If you have an idea that you would like to change the world with, contact the Ain Center and we can connect you to the resources you need!

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

Highlights from Harvard Social Enterprise Conference – and How You Can Attend Next Year

By Maria Connolly

Picture this: It’s 6 pm, you’re sitting on the inflatable couch you just dropped $50 on and you’re contemplating which of the million assignments due that week you should begin. But all of a sudden you get an email that reads: “if interested in attending the Harvard Social Enterprise Conference fill out this google form.” What do you do?

  1. Ignore it and take a nap, it’s already dark out
  2. Think, maybe I shouldn’t have bought this couch…eh there’s no way I’m going to be accepted  *deletes email*
  3. Do homework and maybe reopen the email later
  4. Stop everything and fill that form out! Tell your friends that may be interested! Research more about the conference! Get hyped – it might be your first time in Boston. You’ll get to network with social innovators and learn about social enterprises!

I think it’s safe to say I chose option 4.

This past weekend (March 2nd-3rd) I had the privilege of attending the 20th Annual Social Enterprise Conference (SECON) at Harvard with five other University of Rochester students. For those who aren’t familiar, social enterprises are organizations focused on benefitting society and or the environment while working to maximize profits.

The University of Rochester attendees (from left to right: Vanshika, Youssef, Hector, Reed, Mazen, and Maria).

Before jumping into the insightful keynotes around social enterprise, passionate discussions, panels and networking we had the opportunity to do some sightseeing. We enjoyed exploring Harvard square, touring Tufts University, and networking with professors at MIT.

Harvard Square.

Outside the MIT Library.

Inside the MIT Library.

After a day of walking around, we went back to the hotel and prepared for the conference the next morning, researching the different speakers and events we wanted to attend. Below are my key takeaways from a couple of events I attended, broken down by day.

Day 1:

“Achieving Scale: Lessons from BRAC”

  • Create employment for members of the community you’re trying to help
  • Put profit back into the community
  • Key factors for BRAC’s Success included: the founder’s leadership & business acumen, securing broad-based funding, continued testing & learning, knowledge of culture & cultural sensitivity, and the ability to navigate a changing political environment

[A note on networking: The time right before events began and the portion of the conference dedicated to networking were perfect times to put this year’s theme of “Unlikely Allies: Forging Partnerships for Progress” into practice.

For those of you who aren’t the biggest fans of networking, if the conference has an app such as “Attendify” (see my page to the right) take advantage of it! Post a bio about yourself and private message people you would love to talk to and schedule time to meet during lunch. It’s a less nerve-wracking but effective approach. Be sure to add them on LinkedIn!]

Day 2:

“Pitch Competition”

  • Presenters were extremely prepared and confident, presenting their business ideas in five minutes without notes
  • Many questions that were asked were about the future of their companies/ideas in which the presenters immediately had answers for

“How to Innovate for Radically Greater Social Good”

  • Think Big. Start Small. Seek Impact.
  • There’s a rush for companies to deliver impact but in order to successfully innovate for greater social good, Ann Mei Chang (author and advocate for social innovation) suggested the following:
    • Starting small will lead to a bigger difference over time
    • Experiment & improve faster
    • Avoid spending time and money on failing big
    • Learn by doing because learning is “failing small”
  • Social Innovation is the intersection between value, impact, and growth
    • Value – Is there a demand for what you have to offer?
      • Listen to users from the beginning, ask more pointed questions if there isn’t a correlation between behaviors and users answers on surveys
    • Impact – Does it work/deliver impact?
      • Seeing if your product is being used is a precursor of impact to determine if you’re on track
    • Growth – Will it scale?
      • Alcoholics Anonymous is a great example of an organization that’s scaled through the distribution of guidelines and steps in a book

Views from the Harvard Bridge.

The group outside of Tufts University.

I’d like to thank Meliora LaunchPad for the opportunity to attend this conference and the University of Rochester for funding our travel and stay.

If you’re interested in attending next year, simply attend events hosted by Meliora LaunchPad, introduce yourself to the e-board and express interest. Pro-tip: the earlier you sign up the cheaper the tickets. Best of luck!

Maria Connolly ’19 is a Brain and Cognitive Sciences major at the University of Rochester, where she also pursues interests in marketing and photography. She was selected as a BASTA Fellow in January 2019, where she participates in a rigorous career prep program designed for first-generation college students. Maria also supports her fellow student entrepreneurs by working in the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship.

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

5 Entrepreneurial Finance Tips

By Ain CFE Staff

“Entrepreneurs are risk takers, willing to roll the dice with their money or reputation on the line in support of an idea or enterprise,” claims Victor Kiam. Innovators have to be ready to take a leap of faith to make their ideas into reality. While hard work and a great team can help get them on the right track, financial backing can make the process easier and more secure. On February 26, Jack Greco ’06, ’08S spoke to students about his background in VC and how to assess different avenues of funding, as well as the factors/stages in the financing process.

This session was the second installment in the 2019 Mark Ain Business Model Workshops. These are held to help prepare students for our upcoming business plan competitions (though these informational events are open to anyone and everyone!). The Mark Ain Workshops build on the more soft-skill-focused Foundry Forums held during the fall semester. Below are 5 key points drawn from the event.

Know Your Options

Equity. Grants. Bartering. Donations. The channels for financing are almost endless, but it's likely that some will fit your needs better than others. If you understand what certain investors want from an interaction with you, you already have an advantage. Ask yourself, "what is their incentive?" Recognize that people want different things and tailoring your asks is important to getting what you need.

Build Relationships

At various points throughout the workshop, Jack mentioned that funding is often not just about money. Behind the fear of financing is the human need to connect - many investors want to know you in order to build a foundation of trust and transparency. He also stressed the importance of honesty: when Jack pitches, he begins with the challenges faced by his project. If people can get through that "hard part" and still want to know about the rest, he then shares what makes his venture promising. It's a risky tactic, but can be more rewarding than trying to hide the not-so-stellar aspects of your plan.

Provide a Clear Vision

Why are you working on this venture? Explain what you're doing and why - and be prepared to talk through each step of your plan. (Writing a business plan can help here - check out our "5 Business Writing Tips" blog for more info!)

Start Early

It's never to soon to start learning about the world of VC and entrepreneurial finance. Jack was 23 when he began in the industry and, while he acknowledges that learning lessons and fast failure can be painful, he is glad he began to pursue this avenue early on. Additionally, he argues that starting at a young age helped him realize what to take note of when working to build your venture (including time spent fundraising, resourcing, and how to pitch).

Face Time and Creativity are Fundamental

For new founders, Jack recommended talking with at least 10 established founders to gain insight and feedback. Those moments of face-to-face contact are irreplaceable; anyone can send an email, but making time to sit down with someone can be the difference in significant funding and no funding. Finally, and most importantly, Jack encouraged attendees to be creative in pursuing what they want. Leveraging networks, going to industry hot spots, and hoping for a little bit of luck can help even the most inexperienced entrepreneur begin to make an impact.

If you have any questions about locating funding or learning more about any of the topics discussed during the workshop, please contact the Ain Center at AinCFE@rochester.edu or meet with one of our Experts-in-ResidenceInterested in attending future Mark Ain Business Model workshops? Head over to our Events Calendar and register online!

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

5 Business Plan Writing Tips

By Ain CFE Staff

“As for the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it,” writes Antoine de Saint-Exupery. As an entrepreneur, having a business plan can help guide your thoughts and actions throughout the life of your venture. We held a workshop on January 31, devoted to writing a business plan. This daunting task can get the best of any entrepreneur, but facilitator David Mammano broke it down into manageable pieces.

This session was the first installment in the 2019 Mark Ain Business Model Workshops. These are held to help prepare students for our upcoming business plan competitions (though these informational events are open to anyone and everyone!). These workshops build on the more soft-skill-focused Foundry Forums held during the fall semester. Below are 5 key points highlighted from the event.

Clarify Your Vision and Define Your "Why"

Where do you draw your energy? What makes you unique? You can have a fantastic idea or product, but that doesn't equal immediate success. Use the business plan writing as an exercise to help define your vision for you as an entrepreneur and your venture. During the workshop, David Mammano also referenced Simon Sinek's famous TED Talk (which you can watch here: bit.ly/sinek-tedtalk). This video can help with inspiration and set you in the right direction!

Share Numbers, Financial Projections, and Statistics

Potential investors may read your business plan to gain familiarity with you and your idea. Provide them with some statistics and quantitative evidence to show that you have fully thought through your enterprise. Even if you are at an early stage, having some calculated projections can reassure backers that you have done your homework.

Introduce Your Team

You selected your people for a reason - share that in your plan! Whether you use this document to help secure funding or to attract new talent to your ranks, highlighting who you have standing beside you is fundamental to growing your venture.

Explain Your "How"

Do you have a well-conceived marketing plan? Fantastic sales representatives? A team of action-oriented folks who get things done? Anyone reading your business plan should have a clear idea of what you aim to do, as well as how you plan to do it. David suggests including your "sizzle" (what is exciting about your venture and what draws people in), as well as your "close" (how you actually achieve your goal).

Refine Your Ask

Chances are - if someone is reading your plan - you wish to engage them. Whether that is through financial backing, mentor support, or even just good word-of-mouth publicity, you need to be clear about what you want from this transaction. Additionally, it is important to note that your business plan is a living document and can change at any time. What you need in the early stages of development will not be the same as during the mature enterprise phase. Recognize what your venture needs and don't hesitate to ask!

If you have any questions about writing a business plan or gathering feedback for one you have already written, please contact the Ain Center at AinCFE@rochester.edu or meet with one of our Experts-in-ResidenceInterested in attending future Mark Ain Business Model workshops? Head over to our Events Calendar and register online!

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

Artistry and Entrepreneurship: Learning from Eric Booth

By Ain CFE Staff

On Friday, January 25, Eastman’s Institute for Music Leadership partnered with the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship and the Barbara J. Burger iZone to host Eric Booth for a workshop: Framing Problems Accurately and Solving Them Creatively. Booth – an actor, author, artist, entrepreneur, and educator – completed a residency at the IML on January 26, after leading a number of events on teaching artistry. Drawing upon his own experiences, he helped University of Rochester students learn how such artistry can be incorporated into a multitude of disciplines.

Booth’s background spans years and fields. After working as an actor, he taught at Juilliard, Stanford University, NYU, Tanglewood, Lincoln Center Education, and the Kennedy Center. He is currently a senior advisor to El Sistema-inspired sites around the U.S. and around the world. To address pressing social problems, Booth employs an entrepreneurial approach, specifically that of the Cynefin Framework.

Created in 1999 by Dave Snowden, a Welsh management consultant who is now the Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Cognitive Edge, the Cynefin Framework allows individuals to identify and categorize problems accurately to provide for the most imaginative and efficient means to solve them. Cynefin is named for a Welsh word that loosely translates to unseen forces that influence our lives that we can work with, though understanding them is impossible. In this framework, complexity is critical and encourages creativity.

A chart of the Cynefin Framework. For more information and a breakdown of the framework, check out this article in the Harvard Business Review.

Like the Customer Discovery training we use in the Ain Center, Cynefin also makes use of continual reassessment of the problem. Entrepreneurs need to utilize constant customer feedback to adjust current offerings, pivot their vision, or create something new. During the workshop, Booth made a point to show how ongoing review can ensure that any problems are addressed as they come up – as fundamental to a large arts organization as it is to fledgling venture.

To conclude the workshop, Booth led the group in a “thought experiment.” Each attendee had to select a social problem that they would like to address, then identify what type of problem it was. Though the classification was an essential part of this experience, he also asked everyone to consider how they came to that conclusion. In other words, you need to think of how you think.

In general, the Cynefin Framework allows people to work toward the root of the problem they are trying to solve. The take away from this workshop? Entrepreneurs and artists share the ability to think outside the box, and utilizing a framework (whether it’s Cynefin, Lean Launchpad, etc.) can be helpful to keep on task and guide the thought process.

In fall 2018, the Ain Center hosted a full workshop on Customer Discovery, which you can read about here. Please contact the Ain Center if you would like more information on frameworks to consider and assistance in selecting the best one for your venture – we are here to help!

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

ENT Club Spotlight: Meliora LaunchPad

By Ain CFE Staff

A Growing Group of Innovators

Meliora LaunchPad aims to build a community of individuals who strive to initiate innovative ideas, share the experiences of entrepreneurship, and inspire others to do the same. MLP is a group for students who are motivated to explore the prospects of entrepreneurship in their own field. Through networking and educational opportunities, the club raises campus awareness, fosters a network of entrepreneurs, and connects students with valuable resources and opportunities. Below you’ll find an informational slide deck from their January 2019 General Interest Meeting, as well as a video MLP members made in spring 2018.

For more information on Meliora LaunchPad, visit their club page on the Campus Community Connection website. You can also reach out to members of their Executive Board, led by Marc Haddad ’21.

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

The Importance of an Entrepreneurial Mindset in Each and Every Industry

By Wallace Gundy

On December 1, I boarded a flight out of Rochester for the Simon School’s annual West Coast Trek. With 30 of my classmates, we planned to see twelve companies, hear keynotes from three alumni, attend two receptions, and meet with one expert recruiter, all orchestrated by the Jay S. and Jeanne Benet Career Management Center. From healthcare to search engines, travel to hardware, software to “uncarriers,” venture capitalists to restaurant owners, we heard and learned from an incredible range of alumni who are working in an even wider range of industries in the heart of Silicon Valley and Seattle.

These ten days on the West Coast opened up this East Coaster’s eyes to the culture, pace, cuisine, energy, and dynamic of what felt like another world. But, it also made clear, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that an entrepreneurial mindset is critical in order to thrive in every single industry, no matter what or where it is, and what your role may be.

It was only a day into the trip when several of us learned that the buzzword of these world-famous companies was “nimble.” Their most successful employees are able to adapt to different situations and circumstances, and the ever-evolving climates of their industries. Being nimble is at the heart of entrepreneurship. I have been fortunate to speak with many entrepreneurs during my time at Simon and prior; one of their first pieces of advice is always that it is critical to be able to adapt. A willingness to roll with the punches, make unexpected changes, thrive in ambiguity, and adjust plans is a key component in starting a successful business.

This nimbleness seems to be part of what makes entrepreneurship and the idea of building and owning something that is yours exhilarating. Each day is a new day, not always knowing what it will bring. This sentiment was exactly echoed on the West Coast. Fierce competition, economic unknowns, and our ever-changing world mean that no company knows exactly what the next day will bring. But, having an entrepreneurial mindset will set you apart from the rest.

I send a sincere thank you to Vicky Kamahele, Varian Medical Systems Inc., HPE (Nimble Storage), Western Digital/SanDisk, Mark Zawacki of 650 Labs, Google, Eric Ball of Impact Venture Capital, Juniper Networks, Intel, Applied Materials, T-Mobile, and Expedia for hosting us and sharing the incredible work you do. Hopefully it won’t be long before you’ll be working alongside more Simon grads!

Wallace Gundy ’20S (MBA) is a first year MBA candidate at the Simon Business School. She is a Forte Fellow and Ain Entrepreneur Scholarship Recipient. Pivoting from 10 years in the non-profit sector, she is pursuing Brand Management and Entrepreneurship. Wallace is involved in the Graduate Business Council and is an avid squash player. She hopes to own her own business one day.

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

Creative Collisions

By Gregory Scott

One in three bites of all food is pollinated by bees. Yet, winter honey bee colony loss continues to reach unprecedented levels in various regions around the world. How should we protect our bees to ensure humans have adequate food supplies in the future?

The Creative Collision Challenge was held on November 16.

Supplies for beekeeping brought in by mentor Willa Powell.

The Creative Collision Challenge tackled this very problem. Ain Center staff combined students from unique academic backgrounds to analyze this dramatic decline in the bee population, brainstorm a solution, craft and deliver a ten-minute presentation within a four-hour window to a panel of expert judges.  After pitching our slide decks, judges deliberated and awarded three cash prizes to the top-performing teams. And more importantly, teams got the chance to work on a pressing social issue and were challenged to generate and transform actionable ideas into enterprises that would actually create economic or social impact.

Shortly after the formal introductions, we all scampered off to various corners of Rettner Hall and began to ideate. My team consisted of four people from three different countries. Two of my teammates were engineers, one was an MBA student, and three of us had previous start-up/entrepreneurial competition experiences. While we worked, special experts and beekeepers from the Rochester community met with each group to discuss the process of beekeeping and even gave us a taste of real Rochester honey! After discussions with the experts and beekeepers, we began what in retrospect may have not been the most important discussion–our team name. After some rumination, we decided on the name “Bee Aware” and started to work on our slide deck. As we designed our deck, we realized that although the bee population reductions statistics are quite clear, the potential causes and solutions are not.

Team Bee Aware with a variety of mentors and subject matter experts during the one-day challenge.

As we scarfed down our Chipotle burrito bowls, we discovered that monoculture farming, climate change, and wifi are just three of the other purported factors that kill bee colonies. We needed to first agree on the most salient cause so that we could develop a fine-tuned solution. We decided that systemic pesticides were undoubtedly the largest harm to bees. After agreeing on the cause, we raced against the clock to organize our slides and do a dry run, as we would be first team to present.

At 1:44, one minute before the slide deck delivery deadline, Bee Aware submitted its slide deck. We had just enough time to do one rehearsal. Shortly after, all the participants reconvened in Creative Collision room for the presentations. We delivered our presentation and took questions from the panel of expert judges. The judges’ questions were helpful and gave my team a framework for how to deconstruct ambiguous issues in a short time-span and how to better substantiate our proposal.

After about fifteen minutes of deliberation, the judges decided that team BeeHouse’s technology enabled bee hive that incorporates live data transmission about bee health took home 1st prize. Our team’s three-tiered solution to ban systemic pesticides, subsidize beekeepers, and fund national bee research/education took home the 3rd place prize. 2nd place was taken by To Bee or Not to Bee who proposed a pesticide tax and subsidies to beekeepers.

Team Bee Aware: Aman Tugnawat, Lennard Emanuel, Samuel Howard, and Gregory Scott.

Despite not winning the competition, I had an awesome time at the Creative Collision Challenge. Not only did I learn about a complex social issue, but I was able to make new friends with a diverse set of classmates. As a result of the Creative Collision, I have also learned to try to avoid myopic views on a subject by listening to the ideas of my classmates. To build a truly innovative solution to a global issue, it is important that we leverage different academic and geographical perspectives. Lastly, the chance to eat local honey and see how actual beehives work really excited me about one day becoming a beekeeper myself.

Gregory Scott ’20S (MBA) is a first-year MBA student at UR’s Simon Business School. Greg also graduated from the University with a BA in International Relations in 2015. 

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

Welcome Back

Spring 2019 is the time for innovation!

Workshops

Learn from lessons shared by local entrepreneurs.

Training

Hone your skills and add to your resume.

Competitions

Pitch your ventures and gain valuable feedback.

Partnerships

Connect with peers and regional innovators.

Ready to begin your entrepreneurial pursuits or expand your current venture? Send any questions our way to AinCFE@rochester.edu or drop by our office (1-211 Carol Simon Hall) to say hello and set up an appointment. We have so many fantastic opportunities for you this semester – we’ll see you soon!

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

Through the Lens of Innovation: Global Entrepreneurship Week

By Samuel Howard

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Network, Global Entrepreneurship Week is a week in November where thousands of entrepreneurship competitions happen in 170 countries. Luckily, I was able to reap the reward of the Ain Center’s newest competition: the Creative Collision Challenge.

Before I go into the details, I would like to talk about my experience with Doug Chambers (VP: Global Head of Client Solutions at WeWork, Founder & CEO of Fieldlens, which was bought by WeWork, and a ’98 alum of the University of Rochester). Doug came to give a lecture on his experience and wanted to meet with some students like me. That’s just what I did.

I had three things I wanted to talk about with Doug and he did not disappoint. My first objective was to talk about Flashi, a company I would like to start in outdoor advertising, focusing on using tourists as flash mobbers. He helped me realize that the technology to be able to accomplish this feat was already there and all I had to do was create intuitive processes for the customer. Still not easy, but easier (and cheaper) than finding developers to create and app and website.

My second objective was to chat about a disc golf cart idea I have. He gave me great advice to meet with a material sciences person to discover cheaper ways to produce the same item. Lastly, Doug and I talked about my goal of becoming a product manager. He gave me great advice for preparation and reached out to his product managers right then and there!

Doug was a great resource and for those that have not taken advantage of the Experts-in-Residence (EIR), you need to try it out. I was not sure of the help I would get at first, but it was so beneficial, I know I will be taking advantage more often! Thanks Doug!

Sam Howard and his teammates (listed below) conferring with mentors during the Creative Collision Challenge.

Now, onto the competition. The Creative Collision Challenge was fast-paced and focused on saving honey bees.

Bees are depleting and one-third of all of our food comes from bees, thus our survival largely depends on their survival. Many ideas were thrown around with regulations, government bodies, and consumer products, but the solution that won first place was a solar-powered bee hive. Unfortunately, I was in class when they presented, or I would tell you all about it, but here’s our idea…

Learning about hive setup and upkeep with mentors and beekeepers, Willa Powell (member of the RCSD Board) and Ward Graham (owner of Brighton Honey). 

Our solution was three-tiered:

  1. Get rid of neonicitinoids. A systemic (means it won’t go away for the plant’s life) nicotine-like agent that kills and confuses bees and impairs them from returning to the hive.
  2. Federal stipends for those interested in urban bee-keeping. We felt this was viable due to the lack of insecticides and gives greater biodiversity for the honey bees (as opposed to just one plant), and gives heightened awareness of the docile nature of bees when not disturbed.
  3. Education programs on the nature of bees, their survival, and how to get involved.

Though we were told our presentation was very well presented, we made third place and were beat by two teams. Am I happy with third place? Well, yeah, but I’d be happier with first!

Did I mention I got to meet some great people? On my team was Aman Tugnawat (’18 MS TEAM), Lennard Emanuel (’19 MS TEAM), and Gregory Scott (’20 MBA).

Sam and his team, the third place winners, with the four judges. From left: Jarmila Haseler, Liz Simmons, Samuel Howard, Aman Tugnawat, Lennard Emanuel, Gregory Scott, Michael Daley, and Carmala Garzione.

As with Experts-in-Residence, if you haven’t participated in a competition, you should. The free Chipotle lunch makes if all worth it (that is, if you don’t win). Happy innovating!

Samuel Howard ’19S (MBA) is originally a Michigander, but recently turned New Yorker. He is a past Mathematics teacher, Carpenter for the MET, and recruiter for hospitality assignments. He is currently pursuing an MBA at the Simon School of Business and has a goal of being a serial entrepreneur, selling his company and buying and operating a large theater with his wife Emma.