SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Tiger’s Awesome Sauce enters the Walmart market with a business model that empowers Black Savannah State students in the field of marketing.
“We know that our students were very involved with the development of the Awesome Sauce, so to see it then move forward to this great platform Walmart, the largest multi-channel distributor, we feel we have hit the big leagues,” said Shalonda Mullgrav, the associate dean of the College of Business Administration and Alumni of SSU.
Mike Roberson, who is the CEO of Savannah Sauce Company, came up with the recipe for the sauce which the previous dean ordered. They realized that the company is in Savannah and reached out to Roberson.
“Mr. Robinson donated the sauce to us, told us to run with it, and this is where we are today,” said Mullgrav. “And in fact, it was him that was able to push it through to get it on the Walmart platform.”
The students of TigerCo Marketing were the ones who came up with the name, label and design, giving students the opportunity to develop a business from start to finish.
“Very rarely anyone has that opportunity,” said Mullgrav. “This is hands-on experience. They are very well ready and prepared to just hit the ground running if they wanted to start their own
According to a 2022 study by the Association of National Advertisers, 7.2% of the marketing industry workforce is Black, with 67.7% white. Out of that Black population, 5% are senior level compared to 72.6% of white senior level employees.
“The marketing department here when I was here, we actually didn’t have any professors that looked like me when I was here,” said Mullgrav.
On Sept. 1, Tiger Awesome Sauce will welcome their new President and CEO Comia Flynn, who is an SSU alumni.
“This is going to really inspire students because what happens is now you’re seeing people that look like us, so that can be a push for students to let them know that they can start their own business,” said Flynn.
Flynn’s favorite part of the program is the “Shark Tank” style pitch contest. Students will have the opportunity to be partnered with a mentor who assists them with their business plan and model. The students will then pitch their business proposal to a panel of judges.
The judges consist of community members ranging from local CEOs to business and marketing experts with over 20 years of experience.
Students will then be scored and will receive a portion of funds from Tiger Awesome Sauce revenue around $1,000 to go towards launching their own business.
“I am most excited about the opportunity to work with students because of my passion and drive to help those students,” said Flynn. “I just want them to understand that their possibilities are endless.”
This program is not exclusively for business and marketing majors but for all students who are interested in the program or in becoming entrepreneurs.
“I am excited to get started, jump in, boots on the ground with these students, and to watch the magic unfold,” said Flynn. “And then come back years later and to hear their stories, or to see them on national platforms talking about their product or even purchasing their product online.”