Brian Bordainick talks about relationship between liberal education, entrepreneurship

GVL / Luke Holmes - Brian Bordainick speaks to students and faculty about entrepreneurship at the Seidman College of Business Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016.

Luke Holmes

GVL / Luke Holmes – Brian Bordainick speaks to students and faculty about entrepreneurship at the Seidman College of Business Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016.

Dylan Grosser

Kicking off the 2016-17 Frederik Meijer lecture series, the Grand Valley State University Seidman College of Business hosted Brian Bordainick, a successful founder of a start-up company.

Bordainick’s lecture, titled “The Start-Up Secret Sauce: Building an Organization from the Ground Up.” touched on the benefits of liberal education in the business world.

Bordainick is the founder and CEO of Dinner Lab Inc., created in 2012. The company aims to create dining venues for people, without a restaurant, where chefs from local cities are hired for a night to prepare five-course meals for people who pay an annual membership to be part of the “fine-dining community.” The company never turned a profit and eventually shut down in April 2016.

Before Dinner Lab Inc., Bordainick was a teacher for Teach for America, and then a planner to help build a sports stadium at a high school in New Orleans. Bordainick stayed in the education field until he thought of an idea that eventually became his breakout company. Now, Bordainick works as a head of innovation ventures at Hudson’s Bay Co., trying to work on ways to “reinvent retail.”

In his lecture, Bordainick shared his own experience about the process of starting Dinner Lab Inc. in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, as he gave context to his listeners about finding their own place in the world. He talked about how to get entrepreneurial ideas off the ground, and what to do after that.

Bordainick shared his belief that greatness is possible, and that everyone wants to belong to something larger than themselves, and that’s why they try to create ideas that will be the “next big thing.”

Bordainick said he feels what students want to know most about him is what it takes to get from nothing to something.

“People look at entrepreneurship and assume it’s not for them, they feel they can’t do it, but the reality is that it’s just a big hot mess that (you) figure out as you go along,” Bordainick said.

Bordainick also said he admits to making mistakes.

“I’ve made a number of mistakes over the course of my career,” he said. “My career is a series of follies and mistakes, but I think that’s where you grow and where you learn.”

Jeffrey Chamberlain, director of the Frederik Meijer Honors College, said liberal education is important in the business world because learning as much as you can, in terms of history, art and foreign affairs will help to solve problems and develop critical thinking.

“The more you think from different directions, think out of different disciplines about problems, the more creative you’ll be in solving things,” Chamberlain said.

Bordainick said liberal education is vitally import to entrepreneurship, adding that most Fortune 500 CEOs have their degrees in liberal arts.

“I think that a liberal arts education arms you perfectly well to be in this sphere of creating your own job and creating your own opportunity,” Bordainick said.