One of the most famous US businessmen of Lithuanian origin, millionaire Jimmy John Liautaud, has not forgotten his visit to Lithuania this May. Almost a month after meeting with the students of ISM University of Management and Economics and start-ups, the US business icon announced his decision to support the most entrepreneurial of them. The millionaire allocated more than LTL 60,000 for student scholarships and promised to invite the most motivated young people for an internship with his company Jimmy John’s in the USA.
Mr Liautaud chose to award scholarships to the most active students with a lot of initiative rather than those with outstanding academic achievements only. The Liautaud Family Business/Finance Scholarship went to five ISM students who implemented their first business ideas while still in school and who were active members of their student communities, volunteered, and contributed to a number of public initiatives. Most of them embarked on their business career when still in school. They established their own companies or worked for their family business or other business entities in Lithuania or abroad in the summertime. The following ISM students received the scholarships: Andrius Bukšnys, Karolis Basevičius, Simonas Urbelis, Odeta Valiuškytė, and Benas Šemeta.
“We are convinced that the most successful businesspeople and CEOs are not only full of initiative and good ideas, but also are active in other ways and are ready to turn their ideas into successful projects. This type of person changes society and the country they live in. We hope that this will inspire other students to actively engage in various undertakings,” Jimmy John and Leslie Liautaud said. The family allocated scholarships for one year. At the end of the period, the businesspeople are planning to talk to each of the students personally and to invite the best of them for an internship with one of the companies that are owned by the family in the USA or extend the period of support.
Jimmy John Liautaud had been in business since he was 19 years old. Mr Liautaud was still in school when he developed his first business plan and embarked on a business career fresh from high school. In 1983 Mr Liautaud opened his first sandwich restaurant and within the first 3 years his business grew into a restaurant chain that is now well known to every American. Today Jimmy John’s chain has 1,900 restaurants that operate in 43 states in America.
Jimmy John’s is the fifth largest restaurant franchise in the USA and is among the largest franchises in the world. The annual income of the Jimmy John’s restaurant chain is almost a billion US dollars. Jimmy John Liautaud has been labelled a business icon, elected the US Businessman of the Year, and inducted into the Chicago Business Hall of Fame.
Mr Liautaud paid a visit to Lithuania on 14 May 2014. He gave an open lecture to the students of ISM University of Management and Economics and met with start-ups at the ISM Innovators Base. The businessman was accompanied by his wife Leslie Liautaud and his mother Gražina Liautaud, a philanthropist of Lithuanian origin who had visited Lithuania a number of times before. Right after Lithuania regained its independence, Gražina Liautaud brought charity to hospitals and schools in Lithuania. Her son Jimmy John and his wife Leslie are continuing the philanthropic and charitable traditions of the family in Lithuania.