Abi Quackenboss-Karpf ’15 wins prize to help veteran entrepreneurs

Abi Quackenboss-Karpf ’15 of Hanover, Maryland, received a second-place prize in the 2021 Georgetown Entrepreneurship Bark Tank competition.

Before a panel of judges and a live audience, she pitched a proposal for Chow, a social enterprise founded in 2020 that helps veterans and their spouses create successful careers in the culinary arts. The organization provides veterans with training in the culinary arts and allows them to test their own business concepts in a food truck — without having to worry about the high start-up costs and financial barriers of starting a business. These barriers are statistically difficult for veterans to overcome.

“Leaving the military can be very disorienting,” Quakenboss-Karpf says. “Chow was founded to help ease that transition process.”

Her pitch, which explains the significance of the organization, can be viewed here. Her presentation begins at 31:19.

As a veteran interested in the culinary arts herself, Quackenboss-Karpf is passionate about Chow’s mission and has been volunteering there since her service in the Navy. The $25,000 prize will help Chow reach more veterans and military spouses so they can test their food business concepts through the food truck.

After leaving the Navy, Quackenboss-Karpf had contemplated launching a social enterprise coffee house and bakery called Happy Cappy. She tested her business plan with another program and was able to apply the concept through Chow. Ultimately, Quackenboss-Karpf decided not to move forward with it in the immediate future.

“Success comes in many forms. It’s OK to say not right now,” she says, adding that she may revisit the business concept later in her career. In the meantime, she will continue working with Chow and its aspiring small business owners.

At Ripon College, Quackenboss-Karpf majored in politics and government and minored in mathematics. She explains that her studies helped her “get comfortable being uncomfortable,” preparing her for the several times she had to go outside of her comfort zone after college, including during the Bark Tank Competition.

Amanda Barlow ’23
Appleton, Wisconsin

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