So, you’ve finished the Intersect Fund’s Build Your Business course and written your business plan. Now what?
You talk to Sharifa Dunn.
Dunn, our Graduate Services director, will show you the next steps toward starting and growing your business. She will help you apply for a microloan, sign up for coaching sessions, and connect you with our graphic designers.
Dunn’s passion for helping entrepreneurs comes from an acquaintance she made half a world away.
In the winter of 2008, she studied at South Africa’s University of Kwazulu-Natal. The campus sits in the small city of Pietermaritzburg, which Dunn says resembles New Brunswick: it’s a mid-sized city filled with people from varied ethnic and social backgrounds.
But Kwazulu-Natal students, like their Rutgers counterparts, rarely venture far off campus.
One day, Sharifa decided to buck this trend and did some exploring. Off the edge of campus, she met a craftsman and his family. Working from a blanket on the sidewalk, they used thin wire and colorful beads to make small key chains shaped as animals and letters.
The man, his wife and their infant son spent long hours out on the blanket. Dunn noticed they were often out from sunrise until sunset, braving cold rain and sweltering heat.
Their dedication — almost certainly borne of necessity — inspired Dunn. The craftsman honed his skill, made something people wanted, and doggedly pursued success.
She noticed a degree of resourcefulness there that she also recognizes in clients here in New Jersey. It’s entrepreneurs like these — with enthusiasm and the talent to back it up — whom Dunn wants to help.
This summer, Dunn will finish her yearlong stint with the Intersect Fund. She will graduate Rutgers with a degree in Finance and then begin a job with the JP Morgan Chase Co.’s transactional banking division in New York.