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How to Spot an Entrepreneur

It was raining and my usually unhurried café was packed. Ever the strategic, I spotted a table opening up and swooped in. I was early for my meeting and without a book to keep me company. I fiddled for a bit on my blackberry until I started to feel the intense energy coming from the two top next to me.

Sitting to my left were a young man and woman talking in rapid-fire sentences. Intrigued, I started eavesdropping. What were they so excited about?

Their businesses. I had stumbled upon two entrepreneurs. It took everything in my power to not jump into the mad rush of conversation happening between the two of them. The woman, in particular, was amped. She was filled with so much joy I thought she might levitate out of the café. I listened to them describe their aspirations while pretending to be focused on my blackberry.

CleanbeebabyFinally, there was a quiet space in their dialog and a question hung in the air. The woman was wondering out loud about the difficulty or ease of having a developer integrate Facebook Connect into her website. I couldn't help myself. I turned toward them and said, "Actually it's not that difficult."

And in an instant the three of us were engaged. It was like finding someone you know in a foreign country where you feel lost and alone. There is a relief and an excitement when you find one of your own. I learned about their businesses. The woman, Jennifer Beall, is the founder and CEO of TotSquad formerly known as CleanBeeBaby. She partners with big retail chains like Whole Foods and cleans baby car seats and strollers for mothers while they are shopping inside. The man, Alex Wasserman, is the founder and CEO, One Leaf Tea, a new twist on a tea house. They are both new MBAs from Kellogg (where Jennifer also won the business plan competition) and ran into each other that afternoon.

One Leaf TeaBoth Jennifer and Alex are fresh out of school with bills to pay and businesses that traditional VCs won't touch, but they are finding their own ways to finance them and make them happen. They are spirited, courageous. They are entrepreneurs.

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