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Lisa Smith Wins the 2018 New Venture Competition

Lisa Smith

The winner of the 2018 New Venture Competition is Lisa Smith, owner of Forage Candle, LLC ( Forage Candles are cosmetic-grade, luxury lotion candles made using natural, locally-sourced ingredients.

Lisa was a teacher who taught chemistry and biology, with no background in business. When she began losing her vision, the school system was very supportive—but she found herself needing to take extended leaves of absence. Eventually, she felt it wasn't fair to her students any longer, and left the profession she loved so much.

New to vision loss, Lisa came to Hadley to learn life skills—things like how to put on makeup when you can't see. That gave Lisa confidence, and with confidence, she began exploring new skills—business classes that helped fill in the gaps of pioneering a new career and company. "When I found Hadley, I had an 'a-ha!' moment: there is life after losing your vision."

"To have Hadley say, 'We believe in you, we're confident in you, and we're confident in your business' was life changing."

"My hope for the future for Forage Candle is that someday I can do what Hadley has done for me." Lisa says that sometimes it just takes someone believing in you to make you believe it. "A lot of people say 'You can do anything!', but until somebody gives you that chance, you don't know what you can do."

"We are so proud to introduce Lisa as this year's winner," said Colleen Wunderlich, Director of Hadley's Forsythe Center for Employment & Entrepreneurship. "She is a prime example of what you can accomplish by not letting a disability get in the way of achieving your dreams."

The New Venture Competition was created to inspire students to think more critically about their own business ideas and to practically apply the ideas learned in our courses to build a real business venture.

Have you always dreamed of starting your own business? Submit your business plan for 2019 and you may win up to $30,000 to bring your dream to life. Learn more about the New Venture Business Competition.

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