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Business Students Interview Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners

Hagan Hall
NEW ROCHELLE, NY – During the 2017 Summer Session III at Iona College, students enrolled in MNG 330, Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management taught by Jeffrey W. Alstete, Ed.D., Professor of Management and Business Administration, interviewed entrepreneurs and small business owners.  Students were assigned to learn the history of the business and how it was started. Also, what advantages and disadvantages the owners’ see in having a company, and what advice they would offer to someone considering launching a business.
Ardiana Mehmetaj ’17 interviewed Afrim Nezaj of Afrim’s Sports in Albany, NY, a native of Kosovo. His father escaped former communist Yugoslavia and relocated to the Bronx when he was 10 years old. Nezaj had a passion for soccer from an very early age. He opened his business in 1990 when he noticed that there were no indoor soccer facilities in the area.
 “The business started as a desire for me to keep playing soccer in the winter months in Albany.”, said Nezaj.  “What began as a once a week hobby in the winter, slowly evolved into seven days a week, 365 days a year project with all ages and levels of play.”
Nezaj believes one of the advantages of owning your own business is that you are in control.
“You control both the success and endure the failures. You have the ability to control how many hours you work and when you work those hours,” he added. “Another advantage is most jobs where you work for someone else, have a cap or limit on your ability to rise and earn money. Entrepreneurship has no limits and it can continually evolve.”
Julia O’Rourke ’18 interviewed Gabriel Martin who is the owner of AIM Restoration Management in East Northport, NY. The business has been operating for seven years but Gabe has been an entrepreneur much longer. AIM restores homes after fires, smoke, flood, and mold damage. Another part of the business is buying homes with damage, fixing and then reselling them.  Martin’s advice for potential entrepreneurs is to turn over every stone. He is a strong believer in doing full and complete research before jumping into deals and business in general. He will turn down business offers if he deems them to be a bad deal.
“When starting a business, making sure every aspect of the deal is evaluated is important,” said Martin. “A full evaluation and weighing the risks against the benefits is important.”
Yvette Izaguirre ’17 went to Oscar’s Gold and Diamond in Bronx, NY to interview owner, Oscar Galvez. Galvez owns four Jewelry Stores, three in the Bronx and one in Manhattan. Oscar came to the United States with no money, no family and no understanding of English, however he did have knowledge of gold and diamonds. Despite the obstacles, Galvez worked hard to make his dream a reality.
“One of the best advantages (of owning one’s own business) for me was that I didn’t have to rely on a weekly pay and the money coming into my shop was mine after taxes,” said Galvez.  “The profit would be mine and I’d reinvest it in more jewelry for the store. I called the shots I didn’t have to go seeking for permission, made deals the way I wanted to, and made my own rules. As for a disadvantage… not being able to spend time with family.”
Professor Alstete has taught entrepreneurship for over 16 years and wrote highly cited scholarly research articles in the Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship, the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research, the Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, and others.  Professor Alstete has many years of experience in several successful small businesses.