An entrepreneurial mind needs determination

Duke Duff (Junior; Agribusiness Management; Greencastle, IN) took advantage of his course selection within his major to take a class that wound up being instrumental starting a couple of businesses – and no, the first one wasn't an ENTR courses, either. During the Fall semester of his sophomore year at Purdue, Duke began his first business, Novus Expansion, which was a website design/social media marketing company. Duff explains, "This business idea was first brought up by my professor, Jim Russell, in TLI 112, Foundations of Organizational Leadership. He explained to our class that this is the cheapest and fastest way to create a company and it resonated perfectly with my roommate turned business partner, and I." 


They have recently began pursuing a product that is a garbage disposal that sits in your sink and is portable. Duke says the idea came from being in his apartment with no garbage disposal after both had grown up with one their entire life. "So, we had to change the way we dispose of food waste. People that are renting often do not have the option to install a garbage disposal if they wanted one and this is the answer."

In both businesses Duke is the co-owner and splits all the workload with roommate business partner, Matt Malone. "We both work on everything from financials to marketing in our company because our drive for business is our ultimate passion. I enjoy the process of creating businesses and growing them to their ultimate potential so I want to be involved in the entire process."

Duff did eventually take advantage of the Entrepreneurship Certificate program that Purdue offers and found it to be very helpful, too. "I first encountered Firestarter after reaching out to my TA in ENTR 200, Nicholas Gunady, who explained to me that Firestarter and Foundry are two extremely valuable tools at Purdue University. He then put us in contact with Bill Arnold, who plays a key role in the Firestarter program, who helped us work out a plan of where to go with our sink top garbage disposal. Bill also got us set up to go through the Firestarter program with our product but that has now been cut with COVID-19 but once things are back to normal I will continue to pursue their help."

There are two things that Duff will remember most about these experience, whether successful or they fold: "First, follow my passion because happiness is the ultimate goal and secondly, make as many connections as possible. Money is not the main goal because money can be made from passions, so if you find something you love and grind at it, the wealth will take care of itself – if you're smart about managing it. Making connections with as many people as possible can only offer more value to anyone's future, especially being an entrepreneur."

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