Focus on the Entrepreneur: Putting Small Biz on the Table
One business grad is finding success making customized tables thanks to a new entrepreneur experience.
When shopping for a dining room table made from reclaimed wood with his fiancé, Conor Fitzpatrick soon realized that the item cost a fortune. The 2015 graduate of Fox Valley Technical College’s Business Management program sparked an idea from that simple shopping experience.
“My dad’s an experienced woodcrafter, and together we built a great table from old wood pallets,” recalls the 24-year-old Little Chute native. A photo of the finished table got attention on Facebook and Fitzpatrick was soon making tables for friends and family. Always wanting to be his own boss, before graduating he enrolled in FVTC’s new entrepreneurial specialty track and used table making as his class project.
“The instructors helped me write a business plan,” adds Fitzpatrick. “They also gave me the confidence I needed to connect with industry resources. I can still look to retired CEOs and experts for help even now after I’ve graduated.”
This new offering is an 18-credit specialty track available to students who may be considering small business ownership as an emphasis with their degree. The capstone part of the class is students working in teams to identify a problem/solution project for a business opportunity by interacting with potential customers around the community. They then collectively assess the feasibility of their ideas.
Uncharted Woodworks is Fitzpatrick’s new business and one that is a work in progress. “I’m focusing on tables, but we will soon offer office and residential chairs as well,” he says.
E-Seed™ Grows Success
The Venture Center at Fox Valley Technical College leads the way in small business start-ups through its E-seed training program.
In 15 years, E-seed has assisted in the creation of thousands of jobs as a result of helping launch more than 400 businesses.
Plans are underway to offer E-seed as a three-credit elective for degree-seeking students starting in 2016.