Cornell Set to Build their Entrepreneurship Graduate School

Imagine if you could get a graduate degree that teaches you all the skills to start up your own business?

Robert Maynard Lifelock

Robert Maynard Entrepreneur Blog Post

Robert Maynard Lifelock EntrepreneurshipA recent article in Forbes discusses the new trend in entrepreneurship and how Cornell plans to address this trend. The university is spending $2 billion to build a graduate school based on business and computer science. The curriculum will be startup based. The school will be called Cornell Tech. Cornell University already has an innovation office that hands out $1 million a year in funding. This attracts big time investors and even Bill Gates donated $25 million to build a computing and science hall.

Jake Reisch founded Audiarchy at Cornell, a company that would rent headphones for silent discos where attendees listen to the music via headphones instead of through speakers. The company was presented in Jake’s entrepreneurship and private equity class, and venture capitalists were immediately intrigued with the idea. The company is already in line to double its revenue, as Jake has seen…

View original post 184 more words


You Have Failed Only If You Stop Trying

Starting a business is never an easy task and it definitely doesn’t come without sacrifices.  But, how can you start a small business AND minimize those sacrifices?  No one wants to risk their entire life savings or withdraw from their 401(K) early.  

In this video Robert talks about his Rich Dad and Poor Dad and how they both have completely different ways of thinking about money.  His Rich Dad believes that you should build a business and work for yourself.  He asks, “Why work hard all your life for something that you’ll never own and that you could get fired from in an instant?”  On the other hand, his Poor Dad believes that you should work hard for one company and establish job security through good work ethics and loyalty.  

Robert also talks about a “change in values” as people make the leap from employee to business owner or investor.  I think that this is a very important point as it really speaks to how it is difficult to go from being an employee to owning a business.  The point is simple and clear, why should you work hard all your life just to earn money in a company where you could possibly lose your job at any minute.  If you are going to put all the blood, sweat, and tears into your work, why not own it?  

The point here is this: there’s never a wrong time to make this transition from employee to business owner.  But, there are steps that you can take to make this transition easier.  First, look in your area and see if there are any resources to help you get started.  This could be a local nonprofit who helps people get off the ground (like BiGAUSTIN) or it could be an all day seminar related to writing a business plan.  Second, figure out what your goals are as a business owner and a time frame with which you hope to meet these goals.  Make sure that they are attainable and realistic in regards to the type of business you will be starting.  Third, network.  Get out there, talk to people, get your name heard.  

Never let the success or failure of others impact your goals and where you want to be.  You are your own person and your path is different from everyone else.  Just remember, you have failed only if you stop trying.  

Empower Children With School Supplies

Two children on deprived housing estate

1. Go to a big box store near you

2. Pick up a school supply list

3. Buy something

4. Drop off your gift

After reading this short but, inspiring article by Anita Janke I’m about ready to jump in the car, run over to Target, and buy some school supplies to donate.  Anita Janke talks briefly about her struggles with poverty as a young child and how it affected her and her family’s lives, even to the point where she tried in vain to cover up a hole in her shirt because her family couldn’t afford to buy her a new one.  She also talks about how embarrassing and difficult it was to try to find a, “…safe person to bum a sheet of paper from or try to erase a mistake without an eraser.”  These may not seem like a big deal in the long run but, from a perspective of a student this is very real and very difficult.  It’s not just that these children are arriving to school unprepared because they forgot their notebook or required reading materials at home.  On the contrary, they knew all along they needed it and have been dreading the first day of school when they would have to ask all their schoolmates next to them to borrow the things their families couldn’t provide.  Not only did this affect Anita Janke’s self confidence but, she started to associate education with being wealthy.  This poses a huge problem for American (and many other countries) society.  We simply cannot afford for our youth to be forced into the belief that education is a privilege and not a right.  Anita Janke proposes this: “…for children living in poverty we have to help do more than get them through school.  We need to help them activate and achieve their dreams.  For the under resourced, it starts with putting school supplies into their hands.”  I could not agree with Anita Janke more.

Here in Texas parents get a long laundry list of school supplies they must buy for their children.  They require parents to over-buy school supplies so that there is a surplus  for the kids whose families couldn’t afford them.  I hear many complaints from parents talking about the burden of buying school supplies and how they are about to spend hundreds of dollars on them.  One of their main complaints is that the majority of those supplies aren’t even for their own children.  On the one hand, I understand where they are coming from.  A lot of families are scraping by just enough to buy their own children supplies let alone supplies for five other kids.  This is where Anita Janke’s suggestion comes into play.  If the community members took this matter into their own hands and each person decided to donate one thing, we could probably have enough supplies for every single child.  Think about it, how would you feel arriving at school for the first day with no notebook, no pencil, and no calculator?

What do you think of Anita Janke’s suggestion?  Would you do it?

Read the full article here: Breaking the Poverty Trap


If You Haven’t Worked a Day in Your Life, You Probably Don’t Love Anything

This is a great example of how it’s never the wrong time to start your own business and start doing what you love!

The Indisputable Dirt

You’ve heard it before, the beloved aphorism from the ever-intriguing Confucius;

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”


I’ve also heard it attributed to Albert Einstein, but the internet tells me that Confucius coined it, so we’ll go with that. Regardless, you’ve probably seen it in the form of a meme, pinned a thousand times on Pinterest, shared on Facebook, tweeted on twitter, etc…


 ^stuff like this^

I understand why the quote is so popular. There is something inspiring, something hopeful about it. It is just poetic enough to sound reasonable, just vague enough to withstand any serious scrutiny.

The only problem, of course, is that it is almost entirely false.

If the phrase was not so oft-quoted, if I did not think it influenced people’s decisions, I wouldn’t be writing this post. But from where I stand, this…

View original post 1,026 more words

Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop: Client Feature of July

Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop gets awesome reviews and no one can deny that a good cupcake can make any day better.  On Yelp and Google these talented cupcake aficionados get 4.5 stars out of 5 with over 800 reviews, now that’s a pretty good success rate if you ask me.  Their store is located in the trendy South 1st area of Austin, TX where hip restaurants and food trucks have been sprouting up over the years.  Not only do they bake delicious cupcakes but, they do cakes AND weddings!

As you walk into this hip, trendy little bakeshop be prepared to be filled with the smells of caramel, sugar, and chocolate.  The black and white tiled floor mixed with the colorful walls makes the small bakeshop feel open and airy. This place has the feel of Grandma’s kitchen, warm, loving, and always ready to serve up something sweet.  They have such a wide variety of cupcakes to choose from it’s hard to choose just one!  Of course, keeping with the health foodie theme of Austin, Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop uses only the highest quality ingredients including no preservatives, locally sourced cage-free eggs, no mixes, and definitely, no shortcuts. Olivia and Steve O’Neal take their cupcakes very seriously (but not too seriously) and are committed to providing some of the freshest and most delicious tasting deserts in the area.

Everyday they have new specials that even include a couple vegan options.  Their everyday flavors range from the Southern Belle to the Blackberry Lemonade.  The Blackberry Lemonade is a, “Buttery vanilla cupcake swirled with blackberries, filled with tart lemon curd and topped with creamy blackberry swirled cream cheese frosting (Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop Website).”  In addition to cakes and cupcakes they also offer a variety of pies, breakfast pastries, cookies, and bars.  Even though they are known for their cupcakes, these delicious extras can’t be missed!  Don’t forget to try a mouthwatering Triple Berry Pie or a Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Bar as a side to your Marilyn Monroe cupcake!

BiGAUSTIN is proud to have been a part of the growth of Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop and is extremely confident that they will only continue to succeed!  We want to thank Sugar Mama’s for choosing BiGAUSTIN to help them expand their business and hope that when we come in next time we can get a discount (no, just kidding!)


Pros and Cons of Working from Home

Do you start your own business from home or a brick and mortar company?


By: Violeta Vasilopoulou

Lately, more and more women choose to work from the comfort of their homes. Whether they are splitting their work schedule and working from home a couple of days per week, running a small successful home-based business, or freelancing full time from their home office, women are increasingly establishing themselves professionally not in some office, but at their very own home offices. 

Pros & Cons from Working from Home

Surely, there are many reasons for setting up a home office. Either you need to stay home with the children or you lack the funds to rent an office space. However, whatever the reason, there are equally important pros & cons to working from home that shouldn’t be overlooked but weighed in carefully.

When you work in a corporate environment, all the advantages of working from home become very appealing in your mind. Many people often get attracted by the whole of idea of working…

View original post 799 more words

Why Are We Leaving Our Children Behind?

businesswoman writting something

A lot of times our youth are discounted because they are young and still very naive when it comes to the “real” world.  However, today our youth are driving this country forward with innovative ideas, ground breaking technologies, and a new level of wisdom that the older generations just can’t seem to comprehend.  According to a Forbes article, one thing that entrepreneurs believe policymakers need to do is increase entrepreneurial mentoring and support.  There are so many children out there who have an idea but they don’t have the resources to turn that idea into a possibility.  One can ask themselves, why are we leaving our children behind?  Why are we not investing in their future?  Investing in our youths future doesn’t just involve funding basic education and providing healthy meals.  We need to show them how to be successful.  We need to provide resources and training that will stimulate their creativity and push them to be better every day.  Maybe, just maybe, entrepreneurship is a viable option for youth who can’t afford higher education or can’t get a job.  Perhaps, instead of our high school graduates joining the masses in unemployment agencies, food stamp offices, and low-wage jobs, they could go out on their own and learn what it takes to be their own boss.  

Forbes: Standing Up For Youth Entrepreneurship

Coming up soon BiGAUSTIN will be having a competition where youth in high school can write a four page business plan along side a two minute video.  They will submit their written business plan to a panel of experienced judges and then they will post their video on Facebook to see who can get the most likes.  Half the scores will be the judges scores and half will be how many likes they get.  The first, second, and third place winners will receive a cash prize for the best business plan.  We hope this will get our youth thinking about what they can do to better their own lives as well as the the overall community.  The competition will start Sept 1st and run through Nov 1st so, remember to stay updated by following us on Facebook and Twitter @BiGAUSTIN!

Getting To Know BiGAUSTIN


Many people don’t know what BiGAUSTIN is all about.  In fact, many people don’t even know we exist.  I want to take you beyond the website and beyond Facebook to see who we really are.  As a nonprofit we are always short on staff, short on coffee, and short on time.  But, this doesn’t deter the some 15 people who wake up every morning and make that commute to BiGAUSTIN.


We work to help low-moderate income entrepreneurs receive education and training on how to start and sustain a new or existing business.  Also, we offer lending assistance so if you need help learning how to get a loan or help with the actual application process, we are there for you.  Not only will you receive end-to-end business solutions but, we can help you write your business plan and learn all the ins and outs of getting started.


BiGAUSTIN has a very diverse staff.  If we aren’t clowning around the office we are out in the community working to let people know that you CAN turn your dream of owning your own business into a reality.

Not only is our Executive Director, Stacy Dukes-Rhone, highly experienced but, she has served in a number of volunteer and leadership capacities.  In addition, she has been our Executive Director for over four years and has secured numerous grants to keep this place running and serving the community.

Karen Diggs is our Loan Manager and when she’s not changing outfits she’s working with community members to help them through the loan process and understand how their credit works.  Karen’s office is decked out in everything frog that you can imagine and isn’t afraid to show her love for those crazy, green creatures.

Stephanie just joined us four short weeks ago and can be heard throughout the office laughing and thinking out loud.  Not only is she a social media guru, she has great insight and really knows her stuff.

Melissa is our Training & Compliance Manager but she’s also our full time IT Specialist helping us with everything from hooking up monitors to re-coding the website.

Something unique about BiGAUSTIN is that we employ several AmeriCorps VISTA members (Volunteers in Service to America).  VISTA’s only get paid what the federal government estimates to be the poverty level for that particular area, making a year long assignment on food stamps and bus passes quite challenging.  But, as you may have guessed, it’s a pretty rewarding experience knowing that you are part of something that is working to make a difference in the community.

What is your work culture like?  Comment below and let us know what a normal day is like at your office or wherever you work!

Five Reasons Women over 50 Should Start Their Own Business

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they approach a crossroads that requires making a life changing decision.  Not only is starting your own business a lot of hard work but, it can seem especially difficult for women who are over 50.  Even though it may seem like your life is almost over, for some people it is just the beginning of a new chapter.  We can always think of excuses for why we shouldn’t do something or why it’s not the right time but, here we’ve come up with five good reasons why today is the day to open that book and start the next chapter by owning your own business.


  1. Increasingly difficult job market

–In today’s job market it’s becoming more and more difficult for women over 50 to get jobs and with the economy still not back in full swing, all the jobs are going to younger, lower paid applicants.  Even though you may have an impressive resume or worked for some hot shot firms, that doesn’t guarantee that you will get a call back from your application.  More than ever it’s important for women to be financially independent to ensure a comfortable life after the working days are replaced with the relaxing days of retirement.  So, instead of filling out application after application, ditch the job search and start your own business.  Or, leave your day job and go after that dream you’ve always had of being your own boss, working your own hours, and taking home your own profits.


  1. The US is ranked #1 for having the conditions that foster high potential female entrepreneurship

–Out of 17 countries worldwide the United States ranked #1 on having the conditions that foster high potential female entrepreneurship, according to Gender-Global Entrepreneurship Development Index (GEDI).  These conditions were based off entrepreneurial environment, entrepreneurial eco-system, and entrepreneurial aspirations.  This means great things for women who are trying to get their business off the ground and running!  The United States has some of the greatest conditions to help women move forward with their ideas and turn those ideas into a tangible source of income.  So, what are you waiting for?


  1. According to Forbes, women are better money managers

Forbes found two research reports that found that women tend to be better money managers than men.  First, they said that, “Women-led private technology companies are more capital-efficient, achieving 35% higher on return investment, and, when venture-backed, bringing in 12% higher revenue than male-owned tech companies (Forbes, 11 Reasons 2014 Will Be a Breakout Year For Women Entrepreneurs).”  For example, if you are bringing in one million dollars a year this means that a woman-led private tech company is, on average, bringing in $120,000 more every year than the same company led by a man.  Maybe that’s not the type of company you would like to start but, the data still proves that women are better money  managers than men.


  1. To do something you are truly passionate about

Now is the time where you’ve raised the children, worked in the office (or some other location) and now you want something different.  Suddenly, you feel this tug to venture out on your own and do something that you’ve always been passionate about.  Perhaps you have always wanted to help children improve their literacy skills, or maybe you have always loved cooking and want to start your own restaurant.  Whatever it may be, go out there and dive straight in.  Sometimes passion is the best motivator.


  1. Finally, BE YOUR OWN BOSS

If you don’t start your own business now, when will you?  It’s never the wrong time to be your own boss.  Wake up when you want, answer the phones when you want, and most importantly, there is no boss telling you what to do and when to do it.  There are so many rewards to being your own boss including less stress and more freedom. 


So if you aren’t sure whether starting your own business is the right idea, just sit back and think about what you really want in your life.  Remember, there is no right age for starting a business, it’s all about timing.  There are hundreds of companies that are extremely successful that were started by women over 50 years old.  This means all you have to do is take the first step, open that book and start reading because the next chapter may be the best.

What are your reasons for wanting to start a new business?  Comment below and let us know why you want to take the plunge into entrepreneurship!

Check out this article by Forbes for more reasons why women are dominating the entrepreneurial field!

11 Reasons 2014 Will Be A Breakout Year For Women Entrepreneurs

Daniel Esquivel Partners With BiGAUSTIN To Give Back To The Community

save the date
Daniel Esquivel, Season eleven contestant on Project Runway and Austin, Texas resident has teamed with BiGAUSTIN, to give back to the community through a luncheon/fashion show. Twenty-five percent of the event’s proceeds will go toward human trafficking victims; the rest will go towards entrepreneurship programs and to sustain BiGAustin’s success. The event is also intended to inspire women that want to be entrepreneurs in the fashion industry.
Today, Daniel met with BiGAUSTIN to go over the details of the fashion show that he’ll host at the luncheon. He walked into the office with a vibrant energy, his famous mustache and an eye catching and chic hand bag that had a print of a gold balloon, shaped into a dog.
We started our meeting by going over the details of the fashion show that he’ll be hosting, which will debut his Spring/Summer collection.
Attendees of the event “will be introduced to more conservative and wearable pieces for real women.” He also announced that he will be modeling a couple of pieces for plus size women. “There will be twelve models with twelve different looks”. He will also be auctioning a “Sara” dress during the event which he refers to as his “lucky charity dress”.
We concluded the meeting with a Q&A that gave us more insight on who Daniel is and how he operates as a fashion designer.
1. Q: What is the best advice that you can give an aspiring designer?
A: Go with your gut

2. Q: How does Austin’s fashion scene measure up to other cities that have been recognized for their fashion scene?
A: I see a lot of similarities between different cities. When it comes down to it, everyone wants to be different, have their own style and be comfortable.

3. Q: Name something that you cannot do without while designing?
A: A French ruler, which is basically a curled ruler that allows you to measure intricate parts of the body.

4. Q: What is your favorite Austin spot and why?
A: A grotto that is located at San Jose church. I like to go there and pray because it’s serene and peaceful. I’m on a journey to recovery from alcoholism and I’m not afraid to admit when I need help, I want to inspire people not to be ashamed to get help when they are suffering from an addiction. The thing that triggered my alcoholism was being bullied in school for being different.

Daniel concluded the Q&A by stating that people should embrace who they are. Daniel is definitely a gem and one of a kind. If you want to keep up with what he’s doing follow him on his Facebook page at