University of North Georgia (UNG) fourth-year student Krista Willey was named Student Female Entrepreneur of the Year by the Mike Cottrell College of Business Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation on October 25th, and was named the school's Cottrell College of Business Entrepreneur of the Year. The ceremony was held at the Business Technology Innovation Center. UNG's Dahlonega campus.
Taylor Merritt (’15) was named Alumni Female Entrepreneur of the Year. Merritt is her CEO of Daddy Tay Fitness, a company she founded in 2022.
Willie, who is pursuing a degree in visual arts, was nominated by senior lecturer Dr. Anna Pozzi-Harris, who was teaching an art history course.
As a sophomore at UNG, Willey started two businesses: KWilley Pottery and Customs by Krista. She was inspired by the influx of “Vampire Diaries” fans in her hometown of Covington, Georgia, where the series is filmed.
Willie recalled that she was working in UNG's pottery studio when she learned of her accomplishment on Oct. 20.
Willie said, “I was shocked and honored to be nominated.''
For me, the award is a reflection of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation's desire to see artists succeed, and I love that.
Student Female Entrepreneur of the Year
“I knew it would go to someone in the Entrepreneurship Program. For me, the award is a reflection of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation's desire to see artists succeed, and I love that.”
Willey said she is excited to encourage her colleagues to try something new in hopes of seeing similar results.
Willie, who is scheduled to graduate in the spring, is pursuing a master's degree in fine arts to focus on her passion for ceramics.
“These women exemplify the creativity, determination, and innovation that female entrepreneurs bring to the table.” We inspire others to pursue their dreams of home,” said Dr. Mariangela Vecchiarini. said Piazza, assistant professor of business administration.
Ms. Merritt earned her bachelor's degree in biology from UNG with a pre-professional degree in physical therapy. This entrepreneur was also a member of his team in the 2015 UNG National Championship Softball. That team inducted him into the UNG Athletics Hall of Fame in 2021. She felt honored to receive this award.
“UNG taught me how to strive harder, learn, lead, and achieve more. UNG changed my life and will forever live in my heart,” Merritt said. said. “Thank you to the Entrepreneurship Program and those who pursue their passions with purpose.”