The Razor’s Edge Shark Cage Scholars Program is a combined bachelor’s and master’s program for first-time college students interested in becoming entrepreneurs. According to NSU’s website, the program provides meaningful learning experiences inside the classroom as well as outside the classroom through curriculum created by real-world professionals. It even allows students to start and run their own businesses.
Sal Centanni is a sophomore business management major in the Razor’s Edge Shark Cage Program. He recently opened The Lemonade Stand, his own business here on campus. The Lemonade Stand is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 to 1:30 p.m. outside the Alvin Sherman Library.
What interested you in the Shark Cage program and why did you apply?
When I was looking at other schools, they all had business programs, but none of them had [a program] where you could open a business on campus. It’s no risk. Who gets to start a business with no risk? It’s unheard of, so that’s why I applied.
What are some of the advantages of being a Shark Cage student?
I couldn’t say enough good things about the program. It makes my college experience actually worth something. Being in the business classes, you learn the little things like marketing, but you don’t really know how to apply them. [The program] forces you to apply them. You need to know marketing, budgeting, finance — everything. It [gives] me real world experience. In the program, we get to talk with people who are really successful like executives, CEOs and billionaires. If I wasn’t in the program, I would never have talked to them. It changes your mindset from a high school mindset to really being a professional.
What are your future aspirations?
That’s really hard. I thought I wanted to do something in real estate, but now I have no idea what I want to do. I’d like to [possibly] do something in business law and work in the corporate field.
What is the most important thing you have learned through the program?
[That] nothing is a big deal. I learned that, especially with my grand opening on Tuesday. I [was] so worried that I wouldn’t be on time or that something was going to happen. The night before, I literally didn’t sleep, thinking that something would go wrong. It all ends up working out in the end anyways. It never doesn’t work out, so I need to stop stressing. That’s one of the most important things I’ve learned. Whatever happens, happens.
What advice do you have for students applying or in their first year of the program?
If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask. There are 40 of us, and most of us have been through the process. At first I was freaking out about all the little things [about my business], but we all have student mentors. I finally decided to call her, and she helped me with everything.
What inspired your business plan?
The first day of the program, we had to give an elevator pitch where you have to give a 60 second pitch about your business. I was so worried, and my neighbor said to me, “just do a lemonade stand,” and I didn’t have any ideas so I decided to [pitch] a lemonade stand. I pitched it, and they actually liked it because it’s pretty simple. It is just a simple lemonade stand with two separate flavors. Little girls do their lemonade stands at the end of their driveways, and I thought it would be easy, but there is a lot that goes into it. I have to get my food handlers safety and everything like that.
Be sure to check out Sal’s social media pages.