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Spring 2010

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If Parag Shah, ’09 BSB, has his way, he’ll build a career as a “serial entrepreneur.” “I would love to create many different products,” he says.

        While a student at the Carlson School, Shah founded LunchBox, a free service that offers consumers the convenience of viewing restaurant menus, ordering food, redeeming promotions, and sharing menu items and ratings with others directly from their mobile phone or computer.

        Now the full-time CEO of LunchBox, Shah is striving along with his team to expand the application outside of Minnesota. “I think we have created a product that restaurants understand and want to be a part of as long as we can deliver,” he says of his company’s need for restaurants to buy into his application. “I’ve surrounded myself with the right people who can help me grow.”

        This past fall, Shah was a finalist in the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards finals, a premier award for students that own and run businesses while attending a college or university. “Even though I did not win, it was one of the most amazing experiences for me personally because I was able to connect with the best and brightest student entrepreneurs in the world,” he says.

        Shah was also a finalist in the student division of the 2009 Minnesota Cup, a competition honoring the best innovative ideas in the state.

        However, not all of this might have happened had Shah not come to the Carlson School. A native of Illinois, he grew up thinking he would attend a school in state. After researching the Carlson School, however, he knew he found the right fit. “I quickly realized how outstanding the program really was—along with the great amount of resources the school offered to its students and the fact that so many companies had headquarters nearby. I am happy about the way things ended up.”


        He credits the Entrepreneurship Club and the Carlson Ventures Enterprise for giving him the tools to jump-start his company. “It’s impossible for me to express how important it has been to my success,” he says of the Entrepreneurship Club where he met a few mentors who now serve on his LunchBox advisory board. “And the Carlson Ventures Enterprise is all about real world experience and learning what a book can’t teach. Being able to get hands-on the way we did with companies was a life-changing experience.”

        
Shah says that he is already working on another application that will eventually be able to tie into LunchBox. “There are always other ideas stirring in my head,” he says. “Every day is different, and that’s what I love about what I do.”

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