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Innovation Center Hosts Champagne Business Owner, Honors Carrington and Franklin

The Norfolk State University Innovation Center hosted a presentation during homecoming week by NSU alumna Marvina Robinson, who is among the few Black women to own a champagne brand. Robinson provided advice and information to those in attendance. Her champagne, B. Stuyvesant, named after her Brooklyn neighborhood, launched during COVID.

Robinson left a 20-year Wall Street financial career to open her business. “Taking that leap was probably the best thing that I did for myself,” said Robinson even though the life of an entrepreneur can be a roller coaster ride.

When she began the company a little more than three years ago, Robinson deliberately decided to wait before opening it up to investors. “I wanted to prove to myself that you can bring a product that you thought of—that didn’t exist--bring it to life and it’s now into production and making revenue.”

When asked how you know when you’re ready to start a business or leave your job, Robinson explained that it is an individual experience. “I can never tell you that answer. Only you can tell you that answer” she said. “You can always start your business very slowly and then decide how you want to grow it.”

photo of Dr. CarringtonThe Innovation Center works with underserved entrepreneurs and helps them to get the resources, information and network that they need to launch and grow. The Center, the idea of School of Business Dean Glenn Carrington, matches aspiring business owners with mentors/advisors such as Jim Franklin. Carrington and Franklin were recognized for their contributions to the Center at a partners reception the same night. Several entrepreneurs testified to the success they are having as a result of working with the Center and its advisors. “We appreciate all that Jim has contributed to the Innovation Center,” said Interim Center Director Dr. Rhonda Alexander. “Our businesses and entrepreneurs would not be what they are without your expertise.” She recognized Carrington as the founder of the Center. “I just wanted to respect youand honor you for your contributions—for outstanding leadership of the Innovation Center.”

photo of Dr. Alexander and Mr. Jim FranklinAlexander also recognized Ferguson Enterprises, which has had a partnership with the Center since 2021 and sponsored the reception and presentation. “We are committed,” said CathyWilliams, Senior Diversity Manager with Ferguson, referring to the partnership. “It’s not just with words…We just know—Norfolk State—the value that the Innovation Center provides. These life-changing stories around entrepreneurship. And it all started here.”