Organization Recognizes Wolff Center Student for Commitment to Entrepreneurship and Service
A student from the C. T. Bauer College of Business was recently recognized as one of the strongest rising entrepreneurs in the state by the Texas Business Hall of Fame.
Bauer senior Dane Ralph earned a $15,000 scholarship from the organization, which awards one scholarship per university each year to students from participating Texas universities.
Currently a student in Bauer College’s nationally ranked Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship, Ralph said he chose to pursue entrepreneurship in hopes of combining his passion for service with effective business practices.
“In the summer of 2011, I went to the Dominican Republic to spend time at a school a family friend had built, and I was intrigued that everyone kept asking me to bring back coffee,” Ralph said. “My gears started turning, and I realized there was a unique opportunity to create coffee-centered businesses here in the United States and import coffee from places like the Dominican Republic. We could buy from people who have knowledge of the coffee crop and teach them proper and ethical business practices while paying them a fair trade wage. The profits could then be used to expand the education system that my friend had started.”
He added: “Understanding there are resources in developing countries that can be used to help the people develop economically is what really brought me into entrepreneurship and stirred the fire for me to study business.”
Ralph said he plans to apply the skills he’s learned in the Wolff Center to realize his dream of giving back through entrepreneurship. In the meantime, he continues to serve in the community, regularly volunteering at his church and through the PM Pals program, a respite night for parents of special needs kids. On campus, he has stayed involved through participation in the Model Arab League, Honors Club Theater, Campus Crusade for Christ and the Bauer Honors Student Advisory Board.
As he prepares for his last year of college, Ralph is already thinking beyond graduation.
“I would love to go straight into the workforce for a while. Being a marketer in the coffee industry will help expand my real world knowledge and relationships in the industry,” he added. “From there, I will connect with farmers in third world countries to start launching the coffee shops.”
He added: “This scholarship is actually the exact amount I needed to graduate debt free. So I’m very thankful to the Texas Business Hall of Fame, Bauer, the Wolff Center and the Bauer Honors program for all the opportunities they’ve created for me.”
By Priscilla Aceves