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Strategic Plan News and Accomplishments

Owners of Successful Snack Dip Business to Speak at Kent State’s Michael D. Solomon Entrepreneurship Speaker Series

Posted Apr. 11, 2013

David and Nique Mealey, owners of Back 9 Dips, will present their entrepreneurial success story at the Michael D. Solomon Entrepreneurship Speaker Series on Tuesday, April 16, at 6:30 p.m. in the Kent Student Center Kiva. The event is free and open to the public.

Photo of David and Nique MealeyBack 9 Dips is a popular line of snack dips born from products the Mealeys created for their barbeque catering business. The entrepreneurs will share their story about how a passion for making dips turned into a successful business.

The event is designed to “expose Kent State students and the community to success stories of entrepreneurs and what lessons they learned along the way,” said Mary Heidler, operations manager for Kent State’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation. “It will encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs to take a risk, use the resources around them, follow their passions, and become the next successful entrepreneur.”

Friends and satisfied customers influenced the couple to turn their favorite recipe, Bubba’s Buffalo Chicken Dip – “the Chicken Wing on a Chip” – into an entrepreneurial endeavor that grew into a lucrative business in less than four years.

They took a risk and transformed their small catering business into a company that sells products in 4,000 retail outlets nationwide and ships to customers from coast to coast.

Heidler says students can relate to the Mealeys because “they’re young, they’ve overcome adversity and they took a risk on something they were passionate about.”

She says all students and community members can benefit from the event.

“You don’t necessarily have to be a business major or know exactly how to start a business, but you do have to have a mindset, a passion and the ability to execute your idea,” Heidler said. “The entrepreneurial culture at Kent State is one that urges students to think entrepreneurially in all disciplines.”

Heidler says the Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation and the Department of Entrepreneurship and Marketing in Kent State’s College of Business Administration, and Blackstone LaunchPad at Kent State, housed in the Kent Student Center, encourages any student at Kent State - as well as community members – to embrace entrepreneurship as a viable career path regardless of the discipline they choose to major in at Kent State.

The Mealeys and Back 9 Chips have been heard on “Bubba the Love Sponge” syndicated radio program and seen on ABC-TV’s “Shark Tank,” “The List” and “Good Day Tampa Bay.” The couple has also been profiled in Entrepreneur Magazine.

Heidler says the couple will inspire students to take risks, problem-solve when faced with adversity and believe in what they are passionate about.

“Everybody has the ability to be an entrepreneur; they just need to know how to get the idea going,” she said.

The event is sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation in Kent State’s College of Business Administration. For more information and to register for the event, visit www.kent.edu/cebi/2013michaelsolomonspeakerseries.cfm.

The Michael D. Solomon Entrepreneurship Speaker Series
The Michael D. Solomon Entrepreneurship Speaker Series is made possible through an endowed gift from Michael D. Solomon, a 1974 graduate of the College of Business Administration at Kent State University. Through Solomon’s generosity, entrepreneurs are brought to campus each year to share their experiences with students, faculty and the business community. Students are given the opportunity to meet the speaker providing a connection with the world of business and entrepreneurship outside the classroom.

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Media Contacts:
Michelle Parrish, mparris3@kent.edu, 330-672-2717
Emily Vincent, evincen2@kent.edu, 330-672-8595