Michigan Ross BBA Hunter Phelps Named Among Top ‘Collegiate Female Entrepreneurs’ of 2019
For the last two years, Hunter Phelps, BBA ‘21, has not only excelled in the classroom, but beyond in building her business, Terry Lu Naturals LLC, where she’s working to solve the issue of harmful chemicals in everyday hair products.
This spring, Phelps’ hard work paid off. The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) selected her for the prestigious 2019 Student Entrepreneur Program (SEP), a premier startup program that fosters growth for the next generation of women-owned businesses.
When SEP kicked off last month, Phelps and her cohorts began developing pitches and receiving mentorship from certified women-owned businesses and Fortune 500 companies in preparation for the main event — a five-day WBENC National Conference and Business Fair in Baltimore. As the program proceeds, Phelps remains focused.
“I am very humbled and honored to be selected as a participant,” said Phelps. “Through WBENC SEP, I hope to gain additional entrepreneurial knowledge, networking opportunities, national exposure, and everlasting friendships.”
At the conference, Phelps will participate in a live pitch competition where she will compete for $20,000 in seed capital. The chance for funding, and the experiential learning opportunity, means SEP is not only a great resource for her individual growth, but also for her company.
“The conference will help Terry Lu Naturals gain the exposure it needs, as there will be several new influencers and investors from around the globe,” said Phelps. “If I am blessed to win the competition, I will be able to use the funds to research and develop new products.”
Phelps created her company, Terry Lu Naturals, LLC, two years ago after she became alarmed by the amount of harmful chemicals found in mainstream hair products. Motivated by her natural hair journey — and her experience at Michigan Ross — Phelps set out to solve the problem.
Terry Lu Naturals is a line of healthy, organic hair and skin products made with all-natural ingredients like mango and cupuacu butter, and a variety of sealing oils . Phelps said she makes her products with a “whole lot of love” since the company was named after her grandmothers, Terry and Lucille.
When asked what she appreciates most about her business venture, Phelps emphasized the satisfaction of her customers and the ability to enrich their lives.
“It’s very rewarding, realizing that I have created a business that benefits the lives of others,” said Phelps. “I love reading the reviews on my website, knowing that my customers are satisfied.”
As one of only 23 women selected for SEP, Phelps joins a talented group of young women from top universities across the country. Upon completion, she will join an SEP alumnae network of nearly 200 students from more than 80 U.S. colleges and universities.
Regardless of the competition’s outcome later this month, Phelps is confident that she has already won through her time at Michigan Ross.
“I have learned from outstanding professors and gained some of the most extraordinary mentorship experiences,” said Phelps. “I am very excited to see how my learnings at Ross will continue to support my future business plans.”
Phelps is participating in a self-hosted internship this summer with the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurship, and is active in TechArb, a student venture accelerator where U-M students learn to be leading entrepreneurs.