I graduated from Missouri Western State University (MWSU) in 2012 with my BA in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Child Development. While teaching, I helped with my husband’s lawn care business. Once we decided to start a family, I was able to stay home with our little girl while I took care of the books for our company. Since I wasn’t familiar with the “business” world, I wanted to take some courses to educate myself in the areas of marketing, accounting and finance; to make me a better bookkeeper. This is when I decided to join the Craig School of Business’ (CSB) Entrepreneurship Course. My husband and I have had several friends complete the course and we knew we wanted to be a part of the CSB family. In August of 2015, just three months after graduating with my MA in Educational Leadership, I started back at MWSU to complete a minor in business.

During the fall of 2015, I took marketing, accounting, management and finance courses that would prepare me to participate in the capstone entrepreneurship course that the CSB offers. When I started the Entrepreneurship course, I was excited to grow in the business field and learn about the way to run and operate a business efficiently. The course was unbelievably thorough and efficient. With hands-on-experience, I was taught how to do inventory and place orders, how to run payroll and staff, and was given the strategies and resources needed to run a successful business. By the end of the semester, I had a well developed business plan I presented to a panel of judges.

The course is unique in that, we start the semester with a “study store” that’s typically struggling and we study the store completely. We learn the market, the resources available, errors that are occurring in the store, etc. and we build our business plans around those needs. Our business plan is our ideal strategy for turning the “study store” into a thriving, successful store.

If we make it through the preliminary judging, then we make it to the finals. I did just that! I competed in the final competition and was awarded second place. I was offered a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Virginia, or one in Florida, but I chose to stay in my current community and open Auntie Anne’s Pretzels. I cannot believe the doors that have been opened for my family and me as a result of the CSB opportunities. I am blessed and humbled by the relationships and networking this entire process has brought into my life.

Stephanie Tripp

Through the Craig School of Business Entrepreneurship program, Stephanie was awarded the opportunity to open an Auntie Anne’s Pretzels located in the East Hills Shopping Center. Auntie Anne’s Pretzels is now open for business, and Stephanie is excited to continue putting her knowledge and skills to work to bring success to the store.