Southeast Waffle Co. owner earns top-five finish at national competition

Posted: Sunday, November 22, 2009

Local business owner and University of Alaska Southeast student Julie Thatcher placed in the top five in an international student entrepreneur contest that ended Thursday.

Thatcher won the October regional Global Student Entrepreneur Awards held in Seattle, then traveled to Kansas City, Mo., last week to compete against 31 student entrepreneurs from around the world for $10,000 in cash and other business-related prizes.

Thatcher, who is working on an accounting degree, won some business services, such as consulting.

"The competition went fantastic," she said Thursday in a telephone interview after the awards banquet. "It's cool because, while I didn't make first place, 1,500 people applied and I'm in the top five."

Thatcher, 25, owns the Southeast Waffle Co. in Auke Bay. She started the business at age 19, when she took a chance on the thought that students living near the university campus would frequent a late-night coffee house.

The business quickly became popular with locals and expanded into a larger space with more menu items in 2007.

The competition was sponsored by Entrepreneurs' Organization, a network of 7,000-plus business owners in 42 countries. The organization aims to help entrepreneurs learn and grow from each other.

Thatcher said she made contacts with many young business people through the competition and gained new ideas.

She also learned to never stop reaching for her goals, she said.

• Contact reporter Kim Marquis at523-2279 or

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