Florida State holds ‘7 Under 30 Entrepreneurship Speaker Series’

Jazmin Ghent sharing her story as an entrepreneur. Photo Courtesy: Carlos Wilder of CTWBC Broadcasting Inc.

Graduates from Florida State University shared their experiences as established entrepreneurs during the 10th annual ‘7 Under 30’ event on Wednesday, Nov. 10.

The Hybrid Event took place at the Jim Moran Event Building with socially distanced seating and a virtual attendance option via YouTube.

This year’s installment featured alumni from a variety of niches within the entrepreneurship industry. Featured disciplines ranged from custom clothing commissions to jazz musicianship. These individuals have experienced notable success with their business ventures before turning 30 years old.

Gordon Folkes, who serves as the founder and CEO of Archer First Response Systems, began laying the foundation of his business while he was pursuing his economics degree at FSU. He attributes his success to using the resources that were at his disposal at the university, as well as learning how to pivot as a novice business owner.

“Get to work,” Folkes said. “Don’t think, ‘Oh I’m just a college kid, so my effort right now doesn’t really matter.’ No, everything is real. Always. All the time. So, start now.”

Jazmin Ghent, the Owner of Jazzy Ghent Enterprises LLC, began her presentation with a saxophone solo, a key instrument to her success.

Ghent is a distinguished recipient of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Image Award, with six Billboard chart-topping singles. Despite entering a male-dominated industry and initially facing considerable rejection, Ghent’s perseverance produced opportunities to perform in major cities with veteran musicians.

“Please be open-minded,” Ghent said. “Please dream big. The sky is limitless. Only you can limit yourself.”

While Jason McIntosh and Mitch Nelson, co-founders of Divvy-Up Socks, were confident about their path to entrepreneurship upon entering their undergraduate education, they experienced multiple challenges and endured multiple design phases before their business was viable and stable.

As of 2021, DivvyUp’s website sees over 30,000 monthly visitors and has donated over one million socks worldwide.

Other speakers at the event were Morgan Rogers, founder and CEO of Morgan Madonna; Katie Haggerty, owner of local business Quarter Moon; and Kellie Crawford, founder and CEO of EPIQ Custom.

Matt Lagana, a junior pre-medicine student at FSU with an entrepreneurial spirit, expressed his appreciation to hear from the experts.

“I’ve never taken a business or economics class. The advice I’ve heard today is extremely valuable,” Lagana said.

Each presenter emphasized failure as an entrepreneur’s rite of passage and a necessary part of any success story.