Ilitch School grad applies lessons learned in entrepreneurship and innovation concentration to developing his own successful company
Jesse Taylor, owner and CEO of Dallas-based Kid Link, credits the Mike Ilitch School of Business with elevating his career as an entrepreneur. A two-time Ilitch School graduate, Taylor earned his bachelor’s in 2011 and his M.B.A. in 2018. Taylor says his M.B.A. concentration in entrepreneurship and innovation gave him the tools necessary to launch his own start-up.
“The skills I learned in the E&I program made it easy for me to explain my ‘why’ and understand the process of building a company from the ground up. The program helped me learn about the whole ecosystem in a way I can now explain to others who are new on the start-up scene,” said Taylor.
The program taught Taylor essential entrepreneurial skills, such as putting a pitch deck together, the DNA of a great team, and designing products and services from the customer’s point of view. Taylor was able to apply this knowledge as he built Kid Link, his Dallas-based company that develops user-friendly and engaging learning technology that parents and children can work with together.
Taylor appreciates the faculty members at the Ilitch School who helped spark his interest in learning. “A class with Derrin Leppick involved a final project where we got to pitch our ideas to investors, and that introduced me to the foundations of start-ups,” Taylor said.
During his time in the program, Taylor initially shied away from learning the financial side of the industry. “Margaret Smoller made it easier to understand how developing companies navigate fundraising, company valuations and why cash flow is important.” He now embraces the financial challenges that come with owning a start-up.
Taylor encourages today’s students to follow his lead and take full advantage of all the resources the Ilitch School has to offer and to accept that there will be bumps along the journey. “Having your own start-up is tough, and people may not see your vision the way you do,” Taylor said. “I learned how to listen to constructive feedback, how to be resilient and to persevere.”
Learn more about the Ilitch School’s academic programs in entrepreneurship and innovation here.