Engineering & Entrepreneurship: Lehigh Biltong

As told by my previous post, at Lehigh a student in any major can become an entrepreneur with just an idea and a little will power.  A prime example of this ideal Lehigh student is Daniel Levy, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering.  His junior year, he decided to start toying with his grandpa’s authentic South African Biltong recipe; his parents were born and raised there, so he’s trying to bring a bit of his heritage to the States!  Biltong is kind of like beef jerky, but better; it’s beef that’s been soaked in vinegar, spiced, and dried, and has less preservatives and more savoriness.  For the past year between studying for his engineering courses, Dan’s been taking courses in entrepreneurship and growing his biltong business, appropriately called Lehigh Biltong.

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Not only has he been selling it to all of his friends on campus, but he now has a website and ships his product all over the country!  I asked Dan some questions about being an engineering major AND an entrepreneur at Lehigh, and this is what he said:

  • Me: “How has Lehigh helped you with your business?”
  • Dan: “I’ve used resources such as the laser cutter and have gotten connections from teachers and professors.  I have also been invited to events where I can display and advertise my product through Lehigh.”
  • Me: “Do you feel like being a mechE has helped you at all?”
  • Dan: “Just in the confidence that I can solve almost any problem, like if I can solve an engineering problem surely I can figure out how to make and sell biltong.  I also built by own dehydrator.”
  • (A dehydrator is used to dry the meat once it’s soaked in vinegar.)
  • Me: “What’s the general reaction of your college peers when you tell them you made your own business?”
  • Dan: “They are impressed that I have so much free time and am willing to jump into something totally new and untested.  They are also supportive and willing to help most of the time.”
  • Me: “Who are you targeting your product towards?”
  • Dan: “Males in their 20’s-30’s who like to eat healthy and are also looking for a protein filled snack.”

Dan is a prime example of one of the many multi-faceted engineering majors who can be found at Lehigh.  He discovered a need for a product (there are only two other Biltong makers on the east coast) and worked hard to perfect and market it, all while also completing a mechanical engineering degree!  I hope this inspires all of you prospective students to explore the different avenues you can go down in college; you can have a major in one area and still be involved in other disciplines.  If you’re interested in buying Dan’s biltong, go to his website Lehigh Biltong.  I’m a vegetarian, but I’ve heard that it’s delicious, and he uses free-range meat!

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About ludevon16

I am a Lehigh University IDEAS Environmental Engineering student focusing on a mix of biology, chemistry, environmental science, and sustainability. This summer I am participating in the Low-Energy Sustainable Farming Mountaintop Project at Lehigh, after coming back from a semester abroad in Freiburg, Germany. The previous summer I participated in an REU at Cal Poly researching phytoremediation. I am passionate about environmental remediation and want to pursue a career in the field after (fingers crossed) going to grad school. I am a flautist in the LU Philharmonic Orchestra, a student tutor for orgo, a member of LU's Finest step dancing team, and an inmate tutor for the Lehigh Prison Project. I like to rock climb, run, read, and play ukulele! View all posts by ludevon16

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