Poole Alumnus Patel to Open Global Cuisine Restaurant in North Carolina
Sejal Patel is an alumnus that received bachelor’s degrees in computer science and finance in 2006. Day-to-day, he serves as the director of pricing for IQVIA, a multinational health information technology and clinical research company, but after hours he is an ambitious entrepreneur about to open his eclectic restaurant, The Nomad.
Patel grew up surrounded by entrepreneurial spirit in his family’s owned and operated hotel in Virginia that his father started in the eighties. The family lived behind the hotel so Patel grew up learning the ins and outs of running a small business and understanding the service industry. However, he had no interest in following his father into the hotel business.
“I actually did not want to go into the hotel business because it is so saturated and I just wanted to do my own thing,” Patel said. “I wanted to go into the corporate world after graduation and that is what I have been doing for the past 10 years.”
The Beginning of The Nomad
About 10 years ago, Patel developed an interest in investing in small businesses, even though he claimed he wanted to stay away from that industry. He became part-owner of The Oxford, a gastropub in downtown Raleigh, that was owned by a friend. From there, Patel invested in a few hotels and restaurants owned by family and friends until an opportunity to work with his cousin arose.
“My cousin owns an Indian gastropub in Durham called Viceroy and I was offered an opportunity to open something with him that has been a labor of love and an ode to our parents,” Patel said.
Patel and his cousin are in the process of finishing the construction of Nomad in downtown Hillsborough, North Carolina, and aiming to open the restaurant in mid-February. He describes the restaurant as eclectic and reflects the food cultures they were exposed to based on their parents’ travels in the sixties and seventies.
“We’re doing small plates from all around the world and we want the diner to have a global dining experience,” Patel said. “We want you to order items from different parts [of the world] and try foods with unique spices and different techniques of cooking.”
Giving Back to Poole
As Patel grows as a business owner, he puts time back into the Poole College of Management through the entrepreneurship program by serving as a partner to a student project in the Entrepreneurship Clinic. He enjoyed seeing how invested students were in his business and recommends that all Poole students try to take an entrepreneurship class if they can.
“I think it’s a great program to see real-life, real-world experience and learning from people, especially because they partner with a lot of people who went to Poole,” Patel said. “If you have an idea, start figuring it out. Start trying to find connections in the community in that industry, and if it’s something that you’re really interested in, there’s a lot of different organizations in the community that will help you pursue your dreams.”