One of the most valuable experiences Concordia can offer students is to be mentored by experienced, successful Christian entrepreneurs. The Entrepreneur in Residence program is one initiative used to facilitate these mentoring opportunities. The first Entrepreneur in Residence, Charlie Zhang, is a great example of the type of mentor sought. Prior to accepting this role, Zhang applied his experience and leadership skills to a number of other high impact entrepreneurship programs at Concordia. These include serving on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the School of Business and Economics, as a Teen Entrepreneur Academy Business Plan Judge, and as a team mentor with the Concordia Cornelius Business Plan Competition. His team won second place in the 2016 competition.
About Charlie Zhang
Charlie is a celebrated entrepreneur and success story. With only US $ 20.00 dollars in his pocket, he immigrated to America from Shanghai. With unrelenting determination, Charlie created the food brand called Pick Up Stix. Within a decade, Charlie had built an empire with more than 100 Pick Up Stix locations. He sold his restaurant enterprise to TGI Fridays. He then established Zion Enterprises, a real estate development company that has been involved in over 200-million dollars’ worth of commercial, retail and residential projects in the Western United States. Revitalizing communities and adding value at every level are among Zion Enterprises’ core tenets. His next entrepreneurial evolution was in 2004, with Aseptic Solutions, a technologically advanced bottling process to extend the shelf life of premium organic beverages. The state-of-the-art aseptic beverage bottling company was sold to Glanbia Nutrition Inc. in 2012.
Among his awards are, “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst and Young and the “Spirit of Life” award from the City of Hope. In addition, he received the “Distinguished Business for Science and Technology” award and “Beijing International Entrepreneur of the Year.”
Charlie Zhang, Principal Founder, Zion Enterprises
Charlie was recognized for his great successes in the prestigious NECO (National Ethnic Coalition Organization) Ellis Island Medal of Honors Award. He serves on the advisory boards for Concordia University’s School of Business and Economics as well as Chapman University’s Argyros School of Business. He is a Board member of the prestigious Pacific Symphony. Honored by the opportunity to give back, he subsidized the rebuilding of elementary schools after a massive earthquake in Szechuan and most recently, funding the building of a series of elementary schools near Nanjing.
Domestically, he has helped to fund a handful of church buildings on both coasts of the US as well as provide sponsorship to student scholars and needy individuals through the Zion Charity Fund. Managing capital for the greater good occupies 100 percent of his passion and attention. Charlie is a true American success story. Downplaying his success, Charlie describes it all as “unmerited favor from God and this great nation, exclaiming, “Only in America.”