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        Calling all Female Entrepreneurs. It's time to act.

        October 20, 2022 By New Venture Accelerator

        All News


        Lia Junghans in front of NVA SignSimon Sinek said, “Dream Big. Start small. But, most of all, start.” That’s exactly what Lia Junghans, Senior, majoring in Business Administration and Marketing, at the Harbert College of Business, has done all her life and what she’s encouraging her peers at Auburn University to do as well.

        When Lia was twelve years old, she found her entrepreneurial spirit through the dream of making music. A young singer-songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee, Lia had her heart set on recording an album. She was already dreaming big and achieving her goals. By age 18 she had written and recorded three albums in a local producer’s home studio.

        However, Lia quickly learned that you while you can release music on iTunes and Spotify, to get people to actually stream it, you have to let the listeners know it’s out there. “I think that’s where I discovered my interest in marketing,” she said.

        “I promoted my first album through a grass roots marketing campaign,” said Lia. “I made flyers with QR codes and put them in coffee shops and mailboxes around my neighborhood.”  She was starting small.  “I got a few streams that way and hoped it would spread by word of mouth from there.” But for her next two records, Lia went beyond hope and took her grass roots push to the next level by purchasing ads on Facebook and Instagram.

        She used social media platforms to gain traction, and this is where a love of numbers entered the game. Lia learned how to track streams and how to use ad boosts to increase her exposure. “I could track trends and see downloads spike after an ad boost. It was really cool to see the data analytics from these promotional efforts.”

        At that point, Lia realized, “I love music and I’ll always love music but what I found through marketing my albums was…I like promoting things more.”

        Blink Marketing LogoThe early entrepreneurial experience she gained by promoting her music wasn’t Lia’s first exposure to entrepreneurship.  In fact, her entrepreneurial indoctrination started very early in life when watching her mother, who founded Blink Marketing, a promotional products marketing firm, in their Nashville home when Lia was two.

        Lia and her momLia’s mom started small, but she had big dreams. What started as a home-based business has since grown to be one of the top 1% of U.S. distributors in the industry today.

         When Lia decided to study Business Administration & Marketing , no one was surprised. “I worked in production and inventory management for Blink when I was in high school but moved to the creative side once I began taking marketing classes at Auburn,” Lia said. “I enjoyed customizing pitch packages for the sales team the most. Working with both the design and sales teams to promote an organization’s product or service was really fun to me”, she said. It was Lia’s work experience with Blink that helped her define the areas of business she most enjoyed.

        And that led to her pursuit of a real-world work experience at Auburn, for which a marketing internship with the New Venture Accelerator was her top choice.

         The New Venture Accelerator was created to foster entrepreneurship at Auburn University by assisting students, faculty and recent graduates in the development and cultivation of their innovative business ideas.

        Zack Young at NVA

        NVA InternsFor Lia, that purpose felt like home. “Growing up in an entrepreneurial family made me more creative and open-minded to new ideas. Whenever my mom or a member of her team had an idea they believed in, they pursued it.  That’s what successful startup businesses and entrepreneurs do”, Lia said. 

         In her current role at the New Venture Accelerator, Lia works with the entrepreneurs-in-residence and numerous startup businesses on a range of initiatives including media campaigns to elevate their visibility. In her position, she works with these companies exactly as if they were her clients.

        Class Cash Mobile AppLia designs graphics and assists with social media execution, but oftentimes the real-world experience extends even further. Most recently, Lia and the NVA intern team developed and implemented the entire communications strategy for a pilot program launched by one of the NVA’s rapidly emerging start-ups called Class Cash.

        They met regularly with the company CEO, faced tight deadlines, designed a social media strategy and managed the one-to-one marketing relationship between their business partners and the brand influencers tasked with the promotion of the sponsoring brands: Momma Goldberg’s, Ross House Coffee & Roastery, Charming Oaks and FetchMe Delivery.  To Lia’s passion for the data, she and her team are currently tracking the success of the innovative Class Cash marketing platform by evaluating the growth in brand awareness, new followers, likes and special offer downloads.

        At the New Venture Accelerator, Lia enjoys seeing how the little things she does contributes to the forward progress of a startup business but shares that what the staff members at the NVA do for the young entrepreneurs still amazes her. “I was shocked that office space was made available at no cost so that they didn’t have to start their company from a guest bedroom like my mom did.

        Stelona Shoes Startup at NVA

        And of course, having so many experienced entrepreneurs here who have tons of advice and have answers to almost every question is amazing. It’s very inspirational to see people my age who have these amazing ideas getting funding from investors. It’s crazy how people so young can already be so successful. I know it wouldn’t happen this quickly for them without the New Venture Accelerator.”

        The NVA offers workshops, mentoring, coaching and experiential learning for students to accelerate their new business ideas. One of its most notable programs allows students to participate in a new business idea pitch competition setting called Tiger Cage.

        Tiger CageThis experiential learning activity, modeled after the popular TV show Shark Tank, is held annually, and enables students who have an innovative business product or service idea to compete for funding.  Each competitor/team has the opportunity to describe their start-up idea to an experienced panel of judges, as if they are investors, while competing for a share of $50,000 in start-up capital.

        The Tiger Cage competition is open to Auburn University and Auburn University Montgomery graduate or undergraduate students from any school, college, or academic department. The deadline for this year’s competition submission is Wednesday, November 16.  “Student entrepreneurs don’t have to wait for college graduation to begin chasing their dreams”, said Lia, “They can literally bring a company to life and launch it before graduation with investment capital and entrepreneur coaching through every stage of the process.”

        Tiger Cage Event

        Dream big. Start small. But most of all, start. Lia couldn’t agree more with that sentiment. She saw how her mother started and what she has accomplished. And she’s seen that same determination and resilience from her student peers at Auburn University.

         While Lia isn’t still pursuing a career in music, she’s happy she started.  Her journey has helped her discover her love of promotion.  When she graduates in May 2023, she may open a marketing agency of her own. She knows what it takes and she’s not afraid to try.  Or maybe she’ll follow in her mother’s footsteps at Blink for a bit longer. She knows she won’t ever find a better role model.   One thing for sure, her life path, her academic endeavors, and her work experiences have all put her on track to be a wildly successful entrepreneur.

        Women in Entrepreneurship Week 2022 LogoIn recognition of Women’s Entrepreneurship Week, Lia’s encouragement to other female students is simply this, “Stop by the NVA and check us out. If that’s too intimidating, follow us on Instagram and then send a direct message with a question or an idea. I promise, we’ll answer! The New Venture Accelerator team is here to help you get started.”

        At the NVA, no idea is too big or too small. Every idea is celebrated.  You just have to take a first step. That’s what entrepreneurs do.

         To learn more about the New Venture Accelerator visit or reach out to Lou Bifano, Director, New Venture Accelerator at to set up a time to talk.