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Allison Loase in front of a tree

Watching her father love owning his own business, Alison Loase ’23 knows she wants to follow in his footsteps, so her entrepreneurship capstone during the spring semester played a key role in helping her understand what it means to be your own boss.

“My mentor is Larry Sloter, who has multiple businesses, including The Busy Bee,” says Loase, who is majoring in Entrepreneurship and earning a Management minor. “He also has real estate, Air BnB apartments, and he’s opening a bakery. I could have chosen other entrepreneurs, but they were focused on only one area. I knew Larry would give me a more well-rounded look at entrepreneurship.”

Sloter, a 2002 Marietta College graduate, is a mentor in the Entrepreneurship Program at Marietta. Four students, including Loase, worked with local business owners for the entire spring semester. Other students included Allison Barnes ’22, Haylee Mott ’23, and Maddy Jones ’23. Like Sloter, business owners Chris Pfeiffer (Sourdough and The Bread Garage), Teri Ann Zide (Teri Ann’s), Laura Pytlik (Wit & Whimsy), and Bobby Rosenstock (justAjar Design Press) also served as Entrepreneurship Capstone mentors in Spring 2022.

“This experience consists of each student meeting with (working/shadowing) her capstone mentor (a local entrepreneur) for 50 to 75 hours during the semester to learn more about how the mentor conducts business, and how their way of doing business aligns with what we learn in class,” says Dr. Jacqueline Khorassani, Professor and Director of the Entrepreneurship Program. “The experience also has a classroom component.”

Chris Pfeiffer, Mott’s mentor, operates Sourdough, a marketing company, and The Bread Garage, a micro-bakery. He also works for another company. Mott was curious about how her mentor is able to operate both businesses and have fun doing it.

“This has been very enjoyable and a lot to soak in,” Mott says, who is majoring in Entrepreneurship and Marketing. “Chris has been able to give me many different opportunities to work and learn. This will help me when I start my own business; and if I ever get a job, I will have lots of experience.”

Barnes came to Marietta as an Entrepreneurship and Studio Art double major, but soon decided to focus on Entrepreneurship.

“One of the selling points to come to Marietta College was the Entrepreneurship Program,” Loase says. “When I was visiting schools, it was so new that it wasn’t even in Marietta’s pamphlet. It was stapled into a previous pamphlet. But I knew in high school what direction I wanted to go in. I wanted to do art and I wanted to work for myself. I’m a first-generation college student, so my parents didn’t really know how to guide me through what major I wanted to choose or what school to choose based on what I wanted to do. So when I saw this Entrepreneurship Program at a school that really appealed to me already, I knew my choice.”

Barnes was mentored by Rosenstock, whose downtown business specializes in custom woodcut and letterpress posters.

“The way it’s set up is that I have set times and days that I head out to the shop,” Barnes says. “Sometimes it’s just sitting, watching him do his work, and other times we talk processes on the art he’s working on or some of the business concepts. Sometimes he asks me questions about business things — professional advice.”

After winning the third round of PioBiz, Barnes got an LLC and now has her own business, Art on the Move, which is a traveling art class business.

Jones worked with Zide and Pytlik, focusing on how they have maintained successful businesses for many years and what they do to achieve their goals.

“The means of this project was to help myself as a college student understand the ins and outs of running a business, as well as the steps it takes to get there,” says Jones, who is majoring in Entrepreneurship and Marketing. “I was extremely grateful for the opportunity of working with two entrepreneurs rather than just one.”

Like her fellow Entrepreneurship majors, she wants to have her own business in the future. She holds a great deal of respect and gratitude for Khorassani.

“Professor Khorassani is an amazing woman,” Jones says. “The events and tasks that she puts on for the college are absolutely incredible for one person. Professor Khorassani guided me through this capstone by one-on-ones, emailing, and class sessions. Every other week she would give us the opportunity to tell her how we were feeling about the process of the capstone, being that I was one of the four students in the first graduating class of the entrepreneurship program. There was never a moment where I felt that I was doing this on my own or trying to figure things out for myself. Professor Khorassani was always there and prepared to step in and adjust something.”