Q&A: Shea Gouldd, 2013 YEF Young Entrepreneur Grand Prize Winner

Date: August 05, 2013

Shea Gouldd opened her own bakery in her hometown of Delray Beach, Fla., at the age of 14. Since then, she’s become one of the top baked goods vendors in her region.

Through hard work and devotion to free enterprise throughout the past four years, Gouldd earned the 2013 Young Entrepreneur of the Year scholarship of $10,000. NFIB’s Young Entrepreneur Foundation established the scholarship to award the nation’s most promising youth advocates of private enterprise in America.

Here, Gouldd shares her plans for college and future business ventures.

Describe the operations of Shea’s Bakery.

I used to work 50 hours a week, but I’ve been training an employee, Kate, for the past year. She started doing batters and icings, but she’s come a long way since then. Now she’s ready to handle the bakery while I’m away at college. I used to do everything, but now I’m able to focus on the more complicated work, like wedding cakes and specialty orders. Shea’s Bakery does a lot of charity events, appearances and presentations, and I handle all of those as well.

As far as accounting, I handle the receipts and do the basic bookkeeping. We also have an accountant to help with taxes. My mom and Kate help with administrative tasks. My mom answers emails and handles the catering orders, and Kate answers the phone and takes orders online.

What have you learned from running your own business?

Shea’s Bakery has given me an education that I couldn’t have learned in a classroom. Having that hands-on experience and seeing what it’s like to be part of a day-to-day operation has taught me that entrepreneurship is hard work. When you’re learning about it in a textbook, it seems like you could do it—but it’s a lot more work than you’d think. The experience I’ve gained will add to my business education in many ways. I look forward to college because I want the other side of that education: the fundamental tools I haven’t learned yet that I can apply to whatever business venture I start in the future.

Why did you decide to attend Washington University in St. Louis?

Part of the reason that I chose Washington University was the prestigious staff. Many are entrepreneurs or business owners. I want to learn how they achieved such success and see what they can teach me about entrepreneurship that I haven’t learned yet. I’m looking forward to building a multifaceted education for myself.

What do you plan to do after college?

During my junior year, I’d like to get an internship at one of the companies that recruit at Washington University. I’d like to have a job by the end of my senior year and get some experience working in other business settings. My plan is to learn as much as I can, whether it’s continuing with Shea’s Bakery or starting another venture. I’d love to start something else in the future. I’m just looking to gain as much experience as possible.

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