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Organization helps children pursue higher education

While candy canes are known for their red and white pattern, sophomore Alexander Lynn started his own company to create the first candy canes colored red, white and blue.

Lynn’s True Blue Candy Cane Co. donates 25 percent of its profits to the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation, which helps children who have lost a parent in the Marine Corps to pursue higher education.

He started the company after his cousin returned from serving four and a half years as a Special Forces Marine. During winter break, he looked at his Christmas tree and the idea of the company came to him.

“I had never seen red, white and blue candy canes,” he said. “Candy canes are also a large part of America’s past time and are a product in many households during the Christmas season.”

When Lynn was 18 years old, he started researching to ensure that no other companies had made the patriotic candy. He also wanted to find a manufacturer in the United States that only used American ingredients. Hammond’s Candies of Denver provided the solution.

Despite the planning and involvement with the project, Lynn faced his share of difficulties in starting a business. He had to learn to balance academic pursuits with entrepreneurial ones.

“I was new to business, so I was treading into unknown territory,” Lynn said.

In the beginning, he also had his doubts that the company would succeed. However, an idea has no merit unless “you are able to develop it.”

Developing an idea into a business opportunity is one of the first steps in creating a company, said William Silverman, assistant director of the Launch Pad at the Toppel Career Center.

The Launch Pad helps University of Miami students and alumni develop their entrepreneurial skills and guides them through the process of starting a for-profit or nonprofit business. Silverman notes that one of the most common misconceptions students face is unrealistic expectations about the entrepreneurial process.

“It can take six months to a year before new businesses can expect to make any profit,” Silverman said.

Many are also not willing to accept the dedication and hard work that goes into such a venture. However, Silverman has seen that success is based on the individual and not so much on the level of profit.

“For some, it’s having a profitable business,” Silverman said. “For others, it is experience itself.”

Lynn’s success comes from not only starting his own company, but also in knowing that he is making a difference in the lives of service members and their families.

“It feels rewarding that I started my company at the age of 20, while at the same time helping out family members of the Marine Corps,” Lynn said.

Lynn hopes to continue the company after graduating with a degree in political science.

Students can help the company and its mission by spreading the word about the Law Enforcement Foundation and by purchasing candy canes online at truebluecandycanes.com.

December 1, 2011

Reporters

Alexander Gonzalez

Assistant Editor


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