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Marshall Represents!

USC Marshall students make up nearly half of young entrepreneurs featured in LABJ story

June 13, 2018
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Young graduates from USC Marshall featured prominently in the Los Angeles Business Journal’s “20 in their 20s” feature (June 4, 2018). Nine out of the 20, in fact, had a Marshall affiliation, and many of these cited inspiration from Marshall faculty mentors such as Thomas “Tommy” Knapp, associate professor of clinical entrepreneurship and academic director of the Master of Science in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MSEI) program, and Greg Autry, assistant professor of clinical entrepreneurship.

From real estate development, fitness gear to high-tech solutions to make donating online easier or envisioning home furnishings in one’s actual space, these tender-aged entrepreneurs are already making their mark. They include: Laura Hertz, Gifts for Good; Brennen Degner, D & B Capital Partners and Arrowroot Real Estate; Tracy Lawrence, Chewse; Tiffany Orli Hakimianpour, Handstand; David Maliglowka, Give Drops Inc.; Andrew Kozlovski, Brainz Power; Margo Lang, Conscious Period; Aubrey Sieder, Strut This; and Ryan Olliges, 121C Inc.

Read the story here (PDF).

The entrepreneurs shared the pros and cons of striking out on their own when relatively young, from having the energy and lack of family commitments that allowed them to pour all their efforts into their businesses to having to overcome the initial skepticism of their investors.

“I tell [investors] that some of the most disruptive founders in history have been people in their '20s with no industry knowledge—think Amazon, Airbnb, Uber.” -- Laura Hertz, MSSE '17

Some of the women entrepreneurs also had to overcome bias specifically because their product was geared to a female audience, such as Lang and her organic feminine care enterprise. Hertz of Gifts for Good, a business gifting company that took shape out of a class project with fellow Marshall alumnus Jerry Eisenberg, said while a “handful of investors” didn’t take her seriously because of her age, she was undeterred. “I tell them that some of the most disruptive founders in history have been people in their 20s with no industry knowledge—think Amazon, Airbnb, Uber.”