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Sept. 28, 2023

Economics student Shubham Aggarwal named a 2023 Vandervarro Scholar.

Economics major and founder of Foxpops receives Vandervarro award for entrepreneurs.

The Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation proudly announces that Shubham Aggarwal, an Economics student in the College of Social Science, and Yuktha Pulavarthi from the Broad College of Business are 2023’s Vandervarro Scholars. Aggarwal and Pulavarthi are founders and CEOs of startups within the Burgess Institute’s Launch Program. They are recognized for their academic excellence, innovative mindset, and drive for success in their respective entrepreneurial ventures.

Shubham Aggarwal stands in front of Spartan Stadium.

Shubham Aggarwal’s early entrepreneurial leap was driven by his desire to create a meaningful impact, regardless of scale. He recognized the transformative potential of new products and services. Beyond that, he sought a different experience from that of his peers.

“I wanted hands-on experience in the business world, as I often learn better through action than reading,” said Aggarwal.

The founder of Foxpops—snacks made from seasoned, popped water lily seeds— Aggarwal sees entrepreneurship as the key to innovation and addressing people’s unmet needs. For an international student, entrepreneurship provides flexibility and a unique platform to bridge cultures, share stories, and make an impact globally.

Aggarwal points out that an entrepreneurial mindset is not confined to business alone; it extends to every aspect of life, from education to job opportunities.

“Overcoming the fear of failure propels us to surpass our limitations and exceed expectations,” Aggarwal said.

Both Aggarwal’s and Pulavarthi’s journeys took a significant turn when they became involved with the Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The Burgess Institute prides itself on the vibrancy of the community it nurtures—a community filled with motivated individuals striving to better themselves and their businesses, becoming a source of inspiration and support for each other.

Established in 2022 by Alexandra Clark (Broad College of Business ‘10) and Kyle Welch (Broad College of Business ‘09), the Vandervarro Scholarship recognizes exemplary student venturers focusing on startups within the food, agricultural, and hospitality industries at Michigan State University.

Clark and Welch are accomplished food entrepreneurs who have launched successful companies at a relatively young age. Clark is the founder/owner of Bon Bon Bon. This world-renowned chocolate dessert business started in Hamtramck and has since expanded to multiple other locations. Welch is the co-founder at Chicago Scoops, a franchise group that owns and operates Cold Stone Creameries. 

It is clear that the Vandervarro Student Entrepreneurship scholarship empowers both Aggarwal and Pulavarthi to continue their entrepreneurial journeys. Aggarwal’s vision includes establishing a community for his startup, Foxpops, and expanding the company's presence across North America. He points out that this scholarship, beyond its financial support, grants him access to invaluable mentorship, which will play a crucial role in achieving his aspirations.

Aggarwal and Pulavarthi’s stories inspire all aspiring entrepreneurs at Michigan State University—a reminder that dreams turn into realities with the right mindset and community.

This story first appeared on September 26 for MSU's Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.