Business Builders Club gives students interested in entrepreneurship a leg up

When Vincent Yoder began exploring ways to get involved at The Ohio State University, he found himself a bit overwhelmed.

There were so many organizations to choose from, and Yoder, a junior majoring in business administration, wanted to find a good fit for his interests. He gave a finance club a try, but quickly lost interest. However, after attending just one Business Builders Club meeting, he knew he’d found a winner.

“I definitely recommend the BBC to anyone,” says Yoder. “You don’t have to be a student, or even be interested in entrepreneurship, to go to a meeting and enjoy the incredibly interesting speakers and events they put on.”

For Yoder, the club has been especially helpful, putting him in contact with Joseph Chen, a local business owner who’s now his employer and mentor.

The recent festival food season was coming to a close and, with that, Yoder’s job managing Giuseppe’s Italian Ice would be winding down. He was contemplating his next professional move and Chen’s Fresh 50 came to mind.

“I really like the concept− not just the food, but the business model as well,” Yoder says. “Many people try to open up a single restaurant with the lean startup method, but not many succeed and even fewer attempt multiple locations.”

Fresh 50 seems to be an exception. The Asian fusion fast-casual restaurant opened in downtown Columbus in December 2011 and a second location opened near Gahanna in September.

“Fresh 50 has a very simple menu− so much so that even with no previous cooking experience, I can be in the kitchen making the food,” Yoder says. “We are still tweaking the menu and adding a little depth here and there, but, as much as possible, we are attempting to keep all our food within a simple set of ingredients. It all comes down to presentation and experience.”

Yoder is now a partner at Fresh 50.

“I have to wear many hats, from business acquisitions to managing operations,” he says. “My goal is to grow Fresh 50 as quickly as sustainably possible.”

When Yoder is asked how he has benefited from being a BBC member (besides the job at Fresh 50), his response is effusive.

“Oh gosh, I don’t know where to begin or stop,” he says. “I guess, just bottom line, it grew me more than I’ve ever grown. I came into the club with a hunger to learn as much as possible about entrepreneurship, and the BBC took me much farther than I had hoped to be by now.”

Even for non-students, the BBC has lots of business resources and connections at its fingertips, he says, adding that one of the BBC’s founders, Nathan Hurd, was instrumental in making the Center for Entrepreneurship at OSU a reality.

To learn more about the Business Builders Club, visit