High Point University

Student Entrepreneur Profile: Jacob Maggioncalda

Photo caption: HPU student entrepreneur Jacob Maggioncalda and his grandmother, Nonna, share their passion for biscotti through his business, Biscotti di Francesca. Photo by @biscottidifrancesca

By Nicole Prince

News Editor

Jacob Maggioncalda is a junior at High Point University from Mathews, Virginia. He is majoring in marketing, minoring in sports management and is currently involved with HPU’s Alpha Kappa Psi Chi Rho chapter, a professional business fraternity.

Maggioncalda is also a highly active member of the entrepreneurship club on campus and attends their Monday meetings and pitch practices. Here he works to perfect his elevator pitch for his growing business, Biscotti di Francesca.

For Maggioncalda, the entrepreneurship club and its members, faculty and staff have provided the utmost guidance and support for his confidence and drive for the success of Biscotti di Francesca.

Named after his grandmother, Biscotti di Francesca was born from Maggioncalda’s passion for spending his childhood baking alongside her. Even now, they continue to make homemade biscotti, gnocchi and pasta together. His grandmother, who everyone calls Nonna, has had a culinary influence on Maggioncalda since he was 7 years old.

Nonna is originally from San Valentino, a small mountain-hill town in Abruzzo Citeriore, Italy. She spent her childhood with the girls in her family preparing goods for the town’s bakery. She came to the United States in 1957 as a young girl and carried on the baking, recipes and traditions. Biscotti, however, was something that came later in her life.

Nonna’s influence sparked Maggioncalda’s interest and initiative to cook, bake and learn her techniques and recipes.

Maggioncalda began interning with Harvest Table Culinary Group, a group affiliated with HPU’s dining services, during his freshman year.

“As a marketing intern, I manage pop-up events where we provide food and beverages to the faculty and staff,” said Maggioncalda. “I also administrate the Voice of Consumer survey, in which I ask dining guests about their experience.”

Biscotti di Francesca entered The Market @ Wanek in the R.G. Wanek Center at the beginning of the spring semester, after which the business attracted more attention. The biscotti sold out quickly, even after each restock.

When asked how the current health crisis and pandemic has affected Biscotti di Francesca, Maggioncalda was excited to share the good news.

“I am coping very well,” said Maggioncalda. “This time off has actually propelled my business. I have been selling biscotti by the pound now through Instagram. I have sold 12 pounds at $15 per pound.”

During the remainder of the year, he plans to continue to improve and develop his business model, including forming an LLC, trademarking the business’ name, building a website and beginning distribution across the country.

Maggioncalda shared some advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs.

“Start as quickly as you can, and ask as many questions as possible,” said Maggioncalda. “Any time you’re given a connection, pursue it. Also, go out of your way to listen to the podcast, “How I Built This.” Episodes are one hour each, and I’ve gained so much information from them. Its host, Guy Raz, interviews other big-news entrepreneurs of huge companies. No matter the industry, you can learn something from someone’s story.”

For Maggioncalda, being an entrepreneur means connecting with your passion and transforming it. He shares Nonna’s wisdom in hopes to inspire others.

“Do something that people like and need, and the profit will follow,” Nonna said to Maggioncalda. “Don’t do something just for the sake of profit. Do it because you love it, because you have a good sentiment about it, and because you want to remember your grandmom, her humble beginning and how it prepared something for you to bounce off of and advance.”

Those who are interested in connecting with Maggioncalda and Biscotti di Francesca are encouraged to follow their Instagram handles: @jacobmaggioncalda and @biscottidifrancesca, respectively.