Small Businesses Tell a Tale of Sustainable Growth
If there were ever a time to elevate small business, it’s now
Melissa Mazzeo began her career with the goal of making a big impact on the world. Her first professional role was at a global public health organization, which took her to Uganda, among other areas in need. Later, she went to Yale University for an MBA and master’s in environmental management. At that point, she was resolved to do something bold for a business student at an elite institution; she wanted to take over her mom’s small business.
Mazzeo’s mother had been running a resale clothing shop for children called Merry Go Rounds since 1989 in Easton, Massachusetts, where Mazzeo grew up. Earlier this year, before the pandemic, Mazzeo achieved her goal of taking over the business as well as opening a complementary online store.
As an entrepreneurship coordinator at Yale, I work with a lot of students like Mazzeo. They’re committed to innovations that can make a profit while also making the world a better place. Sometimes these innovators aim to scale up their ventures, but often they aim to stay small, with a focus on local communities. Entrepreneurship education tends to discount or overlook small businesses. These humble enterprises don’t fit the high-growth trajectory that many venture capital investors expect. However, there’s no reason for universities, as institutions of higher learning, to set the same standards as investors.
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