University of Louisville double-alum Tendai Charasika has been named Small Business Leader of the Year by the city’s chamber of commerce, Greater Louisville Inc.
“It is a tremendous honor and honestly it feels really good,” Charasika said. “Because as a fast-growing business you keep your head down all day-every day, giving 100-percent effort to build the best team, culture and company, so an award of this stature is some validation that we are moving in the right direction.”
Charasika is an alum of both the UofL J.B. Speed School of Engineering, where he earned a bachelor of science in chemical engineering, and the UofL College of Business, where he completed his entrepreneurial MBA.
Asked if he’s used what he learned in class during his business career, Charasika answered, “an emphatic yes!”
“I wish I could write a book (and do plan on it one day) on how I have applied many aspects of my learning from UofL to the real world,” he said. “It has been incredible.”
UofL Speed School taught him to be resourceful and think analytically, he said. Classes in psychology taught him to understand himself and others. And the MBA program helped him “weave it all together from financial modeling to investor presentations and raising capital.”
“My time at UofL was invaluable and truly demonstrates that if you follow your passion, study what you love, you will take your education with you for a lifetime,” he said. “And have a tremendous base to build upon.”
And build, he has.
According to GLI, SuperFan U has seen more than 1,000-percent growth in clients and employees since Charasika took over in 2014. It’s now generating more than $1 million in revenue with a full-time staff of 23 and clients around the world.
Charasika said he plans to continue growing SuperFan U as a “technology force” both locally and nationally. He said the company will grow here in Louisville because it can recruit locally developed talent from schools, including UofL.
Meanwhile, he’s continuing to learn and grow as a leader. And he still likes to stay involved with his home campus.
For example, he’s is working with the chemical engineering department, which he said is “doing a great job integrating entrepreneurial thinking in their course work.” SuperFan U hires summer engineering co-op students.
Charasika’s also still very involved with the College of Business. He said he’s done everything — from judging the annual Cardinal Challenge business plan competition, to reviewing business plans for “the next generation of innovators that come out of UofL.”
And that generation gives Charasika a reason to spend even more time on campus.
“Oh,” he added, “and I do have a sophomore who is just starting her career in the College of Business this fall at UofL as a possible Marketing major, which I am very excited about.”