ICYMI: Struggle and Success: Stories from Entrepreneurs

The Center for Career Development recently collaborated with the Puerto Rican and Latin American Cultural Center (PRLACC) and the UConn Stamford Entrepreneurship Club to host a panel featuring 3 Connecticut entrepreneurs who shared their career struggles and successes, as well as advice on how to successfully navigate the startup process.

The 3 panelists we had the pleasure of hosting were Lucy Galarza, Arshad Bahl and Breno Donatti.

Lucy Galarza pursued and completed her undergraduate degree at The City College of New York in 2017. After moving into a new apartment during the COVID-19 Pandemic, she discovered an interest in interior design and that prompted the founding of her vintage home decor shop, Riobamba Studio.

Arshad Bahl completed his Bachelor’s at St. Lawrence University, Master’s of Arts degree at Clark University, and Masters of Business Administration degree at the Education University of North Carolina. He has both a brand and a production facility. His path to entrepreneurship and founding of Amrita Health Foods stemmed from supporting his son’s recovery journey from autism through creating allergen-friendly snacks. His production facility is located in Bridgeport, CT where he centers mission-based work in supporting youth with autism through vocational training.

Breno Donatti graduated from UConn in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in General Studies. He founded Winfield Street Coffee in 2015, which now has 10 different storefront locations. This people-first coffee shop also pursues philanthropic efforts by donating meals to local shelters for unhoused people.

Panelists discussed how their experiences as immigrants from Ecuador (Galarza), India (Bahl), and Brazil (Donatti) and undergraduate careers in the U.S. shaped their future endeavors and what they wish they knew when they first began their entrepreneurship journey.

Some of those lessons learned included:

  • The importance of networking with others within their industry and building networks of support
  • Understanding the risks and unpredictability of being an entrepreneur
  • Understanding how passion and love of their craft intersects with finance, profit and loss

This event concluded with a sharing of resources and tools students can use in their own entrepreneurship endeavors.

The recording of this webinar is available on our YouTube channel. Click the play button above to view the conversation in full.

By Heidi Pineda
Heidi Pineda Affinity Community Outreach and Programming Intern