• education
  • Entrepreneurship
  • HUBCAP Wallingford
  • innovation
  • opportunity
  • Tariq Farid Foundation
  • technology

Entrepreneur Tariq Farid

Google does it. Major cities across the world do it. And now, thanks to a group of inspiring individuals, a small town of about 45,000 people in Connecticut is doing it — providing support for aspiring entrepreneurs with a small business incubator and co-working space.

HUBCAP Wallingford is the name of this special incubator, and what makes it so unique is that it is a collaboration between the local business community, entrepreneurs and the local school district designed to strengthen and expand downtown Wallingford as well as the entire state of Connecticut. Everyone wins and the community is made stronger.

The visionaries behind HUBCAP Wallingford are Dr. Salvatore Menzo, Wallingford Public Schools Superintendent; Liz Landow, Executive Director of Wallingford Center, Inc.; Vincenzo Landino, Global Community Manager, Market Edge; and Joe Mirra, the chairman of the Wallingford Economic Development Commission.

The Tariq Farid Foundation is a contributor to the project and in the time that I have spent with these individuals, it is clear that they have developed a program that could serve as a model for other communities across the United States.

They understand that technology has made it much easier to bring innovation and ideas to life. Often missing, however, are the means and resources to help today’s entrepreneurs follow their dreams and test the feasibility of their business ideas. By helping these entrepreneurs, HUBCAP is also helping the local economy and protecting the long-term health of the state’s economy.

The founders of HUBCAP also understand that often the most creative innovators and entrepreneurs can be found right in your own back yard. Given the encouragement and the resources, the youth of Wallingford are just as capable of developing the next big idea as anyone, thus the importance of the close partnership between HUBCAP and the Wallingford public school system.

In less than a year of operation, HUBCAP Wallingford has already helped 17-year-old Denisha Kuhlor turn her idea for a business into reality.

Why do I feel that the work of HUBCAP is so important?

While some private schools sit on endowments of millions or billions, many public school systems—such as Wallingford’s—struggle to find the funding for basic, much less innovative, programs. This didn’t stop Wallingford Superintendent Dr. Menzo from searching for ways to provide the opportunities, such as those provided by HUBCAP, that his students deserve and need to become competitive in today’s global marketplace.

Last night, I was honored to take part in HUBCAP Wallingford’s inaugural “Entrepreneurs Speak” series. This intimate Q&A session provided an opportunity to share my experience of starting small businesses and growing them into large, successful companies. The conversation was made great by the questions of those who attended, including entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, students and those who were simply curious to learn more.

When it was over, several people told me that they were inspired by my talk. I was very appreciative of their thoughts, however, I was the one who ended up being so impressed and inspired by what this small group of dedicated men and women have accomplished. It makes me very encouraged to know that tomorrow’s entrepreneurs are in such good hands today.

Tariq Farid Charity


Tariq Farid Meeting




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  • entrepreneurs
  • Expansion
  • franchising
  • growth
  • risk
  • technology

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Reva Enzminger, one of the most successful franchisees in the Edible Arrangements system. Reva is a former “Franchisee of the Year” who operates four stores in the Austin, Texas, area and another in Corpus Christi. In that first blog, she shared her insight into securing financing as a new business owner.

Now she shares more insight, this time on how she expanded her businesses and continues to grow them.

The key, she says, is getting out of the store.

“I’m a much better owner when I’m not in the store,” she said with a laugh. “I learned very quickly that if you are working 10 to 12 hours a day in your store, it’s going to be impossible to get out and network and promote your business. And that is one of the most critical functions of a small business owner.”

The secret to freeing yourself, she discovered, is having the right infrastructure in place.

“You have to have systems and processes that work,” she said. “You have to be confident that your team is consistently producing quality products. It all comes back to making sure employees are trained.”

Anyone who has ever owned a small business knows that is often easier said than done. And Reva found that out first hand.

When Edible Arrangements introduced a computerized training program to replace the old manual system a few years ago, Reva was not on board.

“I fought it hard,” she remembered. “I was still heavily involved in the day-to-day operations of the store and it was hard to see how investing in an expensive computer would make us more efficient. But my business was growing and my only other options were to hire someone to train the staff or risk sending out bad products.”

It didn’t happen right away, but it wasn’t long before Reva began to understand the value of her investment.

“It wasn’t until I began having to spend more and more time outside of the store that I really began to appreciate it,” she said. “Now I get it. It is absolutely one of the best things I ever did. It has created more consistency across all the stores than would have been possible otherwise.”

In fact, Reva says that this consistency through technology is allowing her to take the next step in her expansion plans. Those plans include moving beyond the Austin area and, perhaps, eventually outside of Texas. Reva recently purchased a franchise in Corpus Christi, which is a three-hour drive from her home base.

“Since you can get almost anywhere in three hours, either by driving or flying, I’m using this as a test case,” she says. “If I can operate a successful business three hours away in Corpus Christi, then I know I can open a franchise anywhere.”

The lesson, as Reva discovered, is that thinking like an owner often requires getting away from the day-to-day and taking a broader look at your operations.

“Sometimes embracing new things right up front is hard, especially when you have to spend your hard-earned money and you are not sure if it will be worth the investment,” she said. “But once I stepped outside the stores and looked at the results from a larger perspective, I realized this was freeing me to truly operate as an owner.”

As I have written before, one of the great advantages of operating a franchise system is that I have access to an endless wealth of business knowledge among the hundreds of Edible Arrangements franchisees such as Reva, who are willing to share their experiences. I always learn something new from them and I will share more of their ideas and experiences in upcoming blogs.

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