PLNU’s Fermanian School of Business named its “Student-Entrepreneur of the Year” at the annual Entrepreneur Enrichment Program (EEP) Banquet this month, held at the newly renovated Liberty Station Conference Center. The the past six years, the Fermanian School of Business holds its annual Entrepreneurial Enrichment Program (EEP), where PLNU students, both undergraduate and graduate, present comprehensive business plans to a panel of recognized industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and financiers who are assigned to students as mentors. The professionals counsel students on their plans, and ultimately, one student (or team) is chosen to receive financial investment to implement their plan.
The EEP completed its sixth year with the presentation of five completed student or recent alumni business plans representing a diversity of for-profit and non-profit interests.
Before approximately 90 entrepreneurs, faculty, staff, and other guests, Senior Anne Taylor, a nutrition/food service management major, nabbed top honors as the Student-Entrepreneur of the Year with her business plan to expand her existing catering company Anne Taylor Catering. Inspired by her family’s journey when they were struggling financially and couldn’t afford going out to dinner, Taylor did not let this temporary setback stop her.
“I simply took matters into my own hands and made our very own fresh, healthy, gourmet food and then many other individuals offered to pay me to help them cook for various events. I realized the opportunity that was in front of me to make some extra money to help out my family, in their time of need,” said Taylor.
This inspiring story led her to launch Anne Taylor Catering while a student at PLNU, culminating in the creation of a business plan to provide further guidance to the ascent of her firm through the EEP. In earning the title of Entrepreneur of the Year, the EEP Endowment will provide her $2,500 of additional funding.
We asked Taylor a few questions about her inspiration, budding business, and the great opportunities that come with her win.
What inspired you to start Anne Taylor Catering?
I wanted to be able to cook my own healthy food at home and would get creative with affordable ingredients, and was always trying new recipes and reading cookbooks, then working at dishes until I perfected them. We could not afford to go out to eat, but I loved good food so would cut coupons to buy a lot of the food and then buy items on sale that I would use and figure out dishes to make with those items.
How old were you when you began cooking? How old were you when you began cooking for your family?
I started cooking since I was old enough to make all the neighborhood kids PB&J sandwiches and macaroni and cheese for lunches in elementary school.
I always helped my mom but took over all the food shopping, coupon cutting and making dinner for my family sophomore year of high school at age 16.
What is unique about your catering company compared to others?
We are a young and energetic team with great service, and we specialize in “fresh, healthy and gourmet food.”
What was the push that drove you to start your catering company in college?
I actually started at the end of my junior year of high school when I was 17. I had a passion for food and family and friends started offering to pay me to cook for them and decided it was something I loved and could make money off of, as well as take the place of one of my other three jobs.
What are some of your favorite dishes to make for your customers?
I love making fresh ravioli and really delicious sauces; or some delicious salmon or champagne chicken; and for dessert crepes!
How do you plan to take advantage of your EEP win?
It motivated me to keep pushing and to grow my company more and with a greater focus and direction.
Also honored at the EEP event was Marcos Mujica, who is earning his M.A. in biblical studies, earned the second spot and $1,000 in funding with his Generation Compost project. A project titled “Sustainable Organic Foods” by Daniel Spitsbergen, who is earning his MBA from PLNU, finished third and was awarded $750 from the endowment. Additionally, Kelsey Bergstrom, a fashion merchandising major, was awarded the Dave and Dorothy Latter Free Enterprise Award and $1,000 in funding for her startup “Clothe the Naked,” which utilizes the design and sales of high end fashion products to provide assistance to the poor in San Diego. Local rocker Calen Lucas (MBA) of the band Family Wagon, along with Bryan Pridmore (MBA), also completed the EEP and earned $500 for their business plan of providing a business framework for the band and expanding their fan base.
Additional information on the EEP and related activities of PLNU’s Fermanian School of Business and the Fermanian Business & Economic Institute can be found at pointloma.edu/FBEI.