Mila Golovine, as a marketing and finance undergraduate student anxious to get her degree in the early 1990s, decided to sign up for an entrepreneurial class because it sounded like an easy elective. But instead of an easy A, she found a stepping-stone to a life of success.
“I signed up for what I thought was an easy marketing class,” said Golovine. “But what we were exposed to was totally life-changing. I ended up applying for the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship program, and sticking with it.”
Golovine, one of the graduates of the entrepreneurship program’s first class, is the founder and CEO of Master Word Services, Inc., a leading global provider of industry-specific language solutions, worth more than $13 million.
She says she couldn’t have done it without the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship program.
“I learned a lot there because we didn’t just have professors lecture us,” she said. “They brought guest speakers, entrepreneurs, to talk to us. We heard from people who succeeded and people who failed.”
Founder and co-chairman of the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at the Bauer College of Business, William Sherrill, who was Golovine’s mentor when she was enrolled in the program, said that the main goal of the program is to teach students how to be executive officers.
“Most of a student’s career focuses on planning and organizing,” Sherrill said. “We teach students business plans and how to switch from planning to implementation.”
Sherrill explained that while franchises have a 97-percent chance of succeeding, small businesses have only about a 7- to 8-percent chance, because franchises have perfected a business plan and eliminated risks.
“They have it all worked out,” he said. “And that’s what we work on here in the Center. We work with students to perfect plans and eliminate risks. We improve the chances of small business from 7 to 50 percent.”
Golovine, who is fluent in Russian, French and English, immediately took interest in the translation and interpretation market.
“Doing my research, I found a $20-million business dominated by moms and pops,” Golovine said. “There were no big companies providing this type of service in the Houston market.”
Golovine is still involved with UH where she mentors students, helps with strategic initiatives and acts as a guest speaker. She is also trying to implement an internship program with her company to give students the opportunity to learn from her business.
Tuesday, Golovine celebrated her company’s 20 years of success at a party in her honor in her office.