Takes a Startup to Know a Startup

The startup culture isn’t for everyone, nor is it for the faint of heart, but at UB we are grooming a select group of entrepreneurs through the University of Baltimore Ratcliffe Entrepreneurship Fellows program to launch and grow their startups. This highly selective cohort of students work intensely over four semesters to build a revenue-generating business.

The Global Field Study to Finland provided an excellent chance to utilize the knowledge and skills our Entrepreneurship Fellows are learning in the classroom and sharing the best practices they have unleased while launching their own startups.

Kareema Mclendon

Entrepreneurship Fellow, Kareema Mclendon

Current E-Fellow, Kareema Mclendon of Cohort 6 and founder of a wholesale bridal gown firm that specializes in designing gowns for women between the ages of 35-50, and James Gerst, B.S. ’19, and founder of the Hooya’s Tea Company, both saw the Global Field Study course as a way to apply what they have learned in the classroom.

For Mclendon, who consulted for a lingerie company in the United Kingdom more than 16 years ago, she could relate to what she is going through with her business and what her assigned company Taiga Chocolate is going through as a startup.

“When you’re starting a company, you sometimes feel you are alone in terms of feeling overwhelmed,” said Mclendon. “I learned that what I feel sometimes as an entrepreneur is universal after talking with a few of the companies’ founders. My experiences in the Entrepreneurship Fellows program were extremely helpful when thinking about taking Taiga Chocolates to new markets.”

Mclendon credits Prof. David Lingelbach’s entrepreneurship course about opportunity assessment and development which emphasizes effectual reasoning (Who am I? Who do I know? What do I know?) and concepts of effective communication and teamwork from Prof. Lisa Stickney’s class in organizational behavior, with working with her teammates and putting forth a great presentation.

James Gerst

James Gerst, founder of Hooya’s Tea

Gerst was one of her Mclendon’s teammates, and Cohort 5 graduate of E-Fellows program already had some experience working on case studies in other classes.

“From my experiences at UB delving into a case study and putting one’s self into the shoes of the decision-makers, I felt prepared on how to offer my research and advice,” said Gerst. “I’m also fortunate to have been part of the E-Fellows program, where we became intimate with the startup process and what it takes to operate a lean business. It was an absolute pleasure to work with the Taiga team and my classmates from UB and I’d encourage any student to consider enrolling in a UB Global Field Study.

According to, Eusebio Scornavacca, Parsons Professor of Digital Innovation, the Entrepreneurship Fellows are a perfect fit for the Global Field Study based on real-life cases from start-ups around the world. In 2017, in collaboration with the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, Scornavacca took 13 UB students to work with entrepreneurs in Accra, the capital city of Ghana. Last year, he developed a case-based field study in collaboration with IÉSEG School of Management in Paris, France.

The Ratcliffe Entrepreneurship Fellows program is a four semester program embedded in the B.S. in Business Administration program. It provides a scholarship to each student in the program, covering all in-state tuition and fees, plus a stipend. In the fall of 2019, we’ll begin the seventh cohort of the program.


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