Megan Cerchiai and Paula Poveda

Entrepreneurship Majors Sell Business Formed in Creating New Ventures Class  

When Megan Cerchiai and Paula Poveda sat down for the first time in a Florida State University class, they were complete strangers. They never imagined that in two years’ time they would be starting up and selling a business together, all before graduating from college. Megan is a junior, double majoring in Entrepreneurship and Marketing and Paula is also a junior, double majoring in Entrepreneurship and Media Communications Studies.

They and a third partner opened a consumer products startup business in September 2015 selling their products on Etsy, at local fairs, and on their business e-commerce website. Paula handled the business’s marketing aligning with their mission while Megan was in charge of sales and the finances of the company. By the Spring of 2017, their successful startup business was sold to a multinational global consumer products company.

“I was grateful for the experience of learning through trial and error with immense support and encouragement to make this idea a reality and a success,” said Megan.

“Coming into FSU, I never thought I would have an experience like this as a student. I was undecided about my major as a freshman, and discovering the entrepreneurship major was one of the best things that could’ve happened. Now I can say I started and sold a business all by the age 20 thanks to FSU,” said Paula.

“This was a very non-traditional class in that our professor, Dr. Dever, encourages us to strive to make the most successful business we can in a short amount of time. He supported us from the beginning and was a great mentor through everything,” said Megan.

“Every week in class we were required to give updates on what was happening with our businesses and every single week we had new, exciting news about how we were expanding and continuing to move forward with our business,” said Paula.

All FSU entrepreneurship majors are required to take an introductory class in which students must start a business with fellow classmates. Students team up based on similar interests and the industry in which they want to go. Seed money is then provided to each student business. Paying back the initial seed money is considered a goal and honor for students. In December 2015, Megan and Paula paid back the seed money in full and were still able to afford a second inventory round. Their original third partner did not want to continue working on the company, and Megan and Paula bought out her interest.

The Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship’s Director, Dr. Susan S. Fiorito, said, “We are so proud and thrilled for both Megan and Paula for what they have done as students here at Florida State University. They have consistently worked hard while being positive and creative, which are values we strongly believe are the basis for success. Megan and Paula have shown other students that it pays to follow their passion and surround themselves with nurturing individuals. These are the beliefs and values of the Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship.”

Megan and Paula had a lot of support along the way from various FSU resources: the Chemistry Department helped develop and weigh their products, and they received advising from the Marketing Department at FSU to learn how to reach more potential customers. Much of their help came from fellow students who would collaborate with them on ideas and keep pushing them to discover new ways to increase revenue.

Megan and Paula joined other student businesses in the InNOLEvation® Center, a free co-working space and mentoring program available to students from all disciplines across FSU’s campus. They were introduced to the Business Law Clinic, a program of the College of Law at FSU, run by Richard Benham, the Entrepreneur in Residence for the College. Jeremy Green and Kelsey Pincket, both third year law students enrolled in the Clinic, worked extensively with Megan, Paula, and their outside counsel during the negotiation of the sale of the business.  “It was gratifying to work with such exceptional young entrepreneurs and apply what we’ve learned at the College of Law to help Megan and Paula obtain a great outcome for their startup business,” said Pincket.

Megan and Paula’s business was officially sold to a global consumer products company in Spring of 2017.