At UGA, we’re committed to Experiential Learning. Whether it’s through study abroad, internships, research, or hands-on learning, our students have access to countless life-changing experiences tailored to their interests and aspirations. To address a program that helps UGA students develop entrepreneurial skills through competitions, student groups, and campus-wide events, our Associate Director of External Engagement in the UGA Career Center, Whitney Prescott, spoke to Meriah Grove about her involvement with the UGA Entrepreneurship Program.
Meriah is a Senior Advertising major in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication who completed the Entrepreneurship certificate, competed in the Idea Accelerator, and serves on the leadership team for the Society of Entrepreneurs.
What made you interested in being an entrepreneur?
Meriah: I have always had an inclination towards entrepreneurship, maybe it is due to watching both of my parents own their own businesses. Some examples of my early ventures include: a jewelry business I had in elementary school, a unique greeting card business I had with my parents while I was in middle school, and then in high school I created a non-profit organization with a friend. It was really in high school when I realized that creating something from the ground up was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life! I began my college search with a special eye out for schools with entrepreneurial programs which led me to UGA!
Why did you decide to complete the Entrepreneurship Certificate at UGA?
Meriah: Completing the Entrepreneurship Certificate was always a part of my plan here at UGA. I based my college search around Entrepreneurship programs and decided on UGA largely because of the interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship Certificate. In addition to this, I knew that I was not going to get a business degree here at UGA. So, the Entrepreneurship Certificate is the perfect amount of Terry College of Business information and experience without having to change my major! I love the access to Terry materials and resources while also getting my Grady College of Journalism resources.
What’s the most important thing for UGA students to know about the Entrepreneurship program?
Meriah: I think the most important thing for people to know about the Entrepreneurship Program is that the knowledge gained from these classes and events can be applied to nearly every job in the world! The classes train the student to think critically and problem solve in a unique way. These skills can be applied to any job later in life! I think some people have a fear that if they do not want to create a business or if they have not created a business before this program is not for them. I would say those people are wrong. This knowledge can help anyone succeed in any profession!
What’s been your favorite part of the Entrepreneurship program?
Meriah: My favorite part of the Entrepreneurship Program was the final project for the capstone class: Managing the Entrepreneurial Venture. We were charged to create a theoretical business that we think would be successful, complete customer discovery and then craft a pitch to present to the class. This was a fantastic experience and prompted me to join the Idea Accelerator afterwards and create a real business and pitch for $5,000! The class gave me a strong foundation which gave me the confidence to make a business dream of mine a reality!
What would you say are the top 3 skills that are needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?
Meriah: First of all, resilience. The startup world is full of “no’s” and a successful entrepreneur will hear every “no” as a “not yet.” You have to be almost insanely resilient because you believe so whole-heartedly in what you are starting. Next, critical thinking and problem-solving skills are essential for a good entrepreneur. Think about it, are you are trying to do something no one has ever done before? Well, if you are, you’re likely going to run into quite a few obstacles along the way. You have to be quick on your feet and problem-solving driven! Lastly, you have to be a little bit crazy. This work is insane! For example, the number of hours it takes to build a business is immeasurable, the process of growing is relentless, and the obstacles in your way seem never-ending! But, with just a touch of crazy and a whole bunch of passion – you can create something no one has ever seen before!
What’s one piece of advice you have for any UGA students interested in owning their own business?
Meriah: The best advice I received while here at UGA is simple: there is no better time than now, so go do it now! It may seem daunting as a college student to try and start a business, but if you think about it there is really no better time than now. We have flexible schedules, most of us are still dependents under our parents and most of us do not have massive overhead. Why not work as hard as possible to create the business you have always dreamed of while you can still fail and be safe? The best learning experience you can have as a hopeful entrepreneur is to fail hard. Failing will teach you so much more than flying, so why not fail now so you can fly post-grad?
How has your experience in the Entrepreneurship program assisted you in achieving your goals?
Meriah: The Entrepreneurship Program has been the most beneficial thing I have done in my entire college career. I have made the best friends through the student organization, Society of Entrepreneurs; I have fantastic mentors in the Entrepreneurship faculty and have had once in a lifetime experiences through the events I have been given access to through the ENTR Program. I am consistently inspired and amazed by the students I meet in the program. I think the people drawn to entrepreneurship are a special breed and those are my type of people. I would love to thank the Entrepreneurship Program for the years of support and the push to go further than I ever thought possible. I really believe that my generation is going to be the one to change the world and, more likely than not, innovators from the University of Georgia are going to be at the forefront of that wave!
Ok, here’s a few questions just for fun 😊 What’s your favorite restaurant in Athens?
Meriah: It may be cliché, but I could eat Mama’s Boy for breakfast and lunch every single day if I were able to. I am a breakfast fanatic and there is no better breakfast in all of Athens than Mama’s Boy! I have no preference over the Falls location or the Oak St. location, they are both fantastic!
What’s your favorite UGA tradition?
Meriah: Light up Sanford at the beginning of the fourth quarter of every home game is my favorite school tradition of all time. My freshman year here at UGA was one of the first times people began using their phones in addition to the four fingers at the fourth quarter. Now, my senior year, the entire stadium gets illuminated from 90,000 people and I tear up every time!
What’s one thing people might be surprised to know about you?
Meriah: It might be surprising to learn that I have a life goal of traveling to more countries than I am years old! Travel is something I am super passionate about and I hope to keep it up for the rest of my life. (I am currently at 26 countries at 21 years old so I’m doing pretty well!)
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