by Gabriela Escalante, Syracuse
A few weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to participate in the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) National Conference in Tampa. As you can imagine, the entrepreneurial energy was amazing. Students from all over the country got together to celebrate and learn more from successful startups.
The conference was a great place for networking, learning from others and finding the motivation to continue the entrepreneurial journey. Below, you can find a collection of thoughts and lessons learned while attending the conference:
It’s all about the right business model: Have you found a WIN-WIN-WIN business model? If yes, stick to it. The more people benefit from your business model, the more successful you will be. Think about Uber and Airbnb. Who benefits from the service? Users, providers and the company itself. WIN-WIN-WIN.
Have a vision: You know what they say “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up somewhere else.” It doesn’t matter whether you stick to your original vision or decide to change it a bit along the way. What matters is that you have a goal in mind so you can create clear action steps that will allow you to reach it.
In life, 95% is what you see and 5% what you don’t see: This quote is from Michael Ross, CEO Conference speaker and President of Mainstream Life Solutions. Michael talked about the importance of knowing that people have worked to be where they are. Every achievement, requires preparation. And since you’ll spend 95% of your time in the journey, you might as well enjoy it.
Finance is the language of business: Finance is the one thing you need to fully understand in order to succeed. Finances are the brain of the business that will allow you to become sustainable and then profitable. It’s a universal language which means that there shouldn’t be any gray areas.
If something doesn’t work, try something new: There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to make something work over and over again. If your social media strategy or business model isn’t working, it’s time to try something new.
As an entrepreneur, it’s important to continuously improve upon your knowledge by attending conferences, networking with other entrepreneurs and staying up to date with your industry. Make sure you identify the best places to learn.
by Alexandra Sukin
Harvard Ventures’ undergraduate accelerator VentureWorks celebrated its second cohort of startups with a sushi dinner kickoff. The eight startups selected were founded by students at Harvard College, Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School and represented focuses on health foods, exercise, living costs in urban area, and more.
Startup “Welcome Home,” from law school student Daniel Wu, for example, seeks to convert and rent quality rooms at 30% discount by creating secure and soundproof bedrooms out of existing bedrooms/living rooms with a code-compliant partition system that integrates ample storage while not damaging the room. Business school student Jean Luo’s startup “Outdoor Pass” seeks to help customers discover and do outdoor activities with friends such as 5Ks and fun runs, biking, skiing, kayaking, and more. The service is defined by curated personalized recommendations, community and social referral ‘buddy pass’ features, and a delightful tech-enabled product.
At the kickoff, startups interacted and spoke about their goals for the year. As they prepare for the Intercollegiate Pitch Off, a pitch day for startups from Columbia, Brown, Northeastern, MIT, UPENN and Princeton, they will be working with VentureWorks to hone ideas, generate and refine pitch decks, and meet with mentors. Pejman Nozad from Pejman Mar, Yida Gao from New Enterprise Associates, and other VCs and startup founders will speak with the startups about the steps to success.
Co-Directors Alexandra Sukin ’19 and Benny Pleat ’17 are excited to see the startups progress during the spring. The amazing diversity of focus and background of founders is unparalleled for Harvard undergraduate accelerators, and everyone at Harvard Ventures is looking forward to an incredible showing at IPO and Harvard’s own demo day.
by BASES Staff
The Stanford WiE summit is fast approaching, and here are all the details you need!
Apply at bit.ly/BASESWomenSummit by Tuesday, April 19th!
Saturday April 30, 2016
Mackenzie Room, Huang Engineering Center, Stanford University
Interested in learning from a range of founders from industry, non-profits, and VC firms? Then attend the Women in Entrepreneurship Summit and listen to leading experts mentor you about their experiences with women in entrepreneurship through rapid fire speeches.
Sign up early if interested, seats are capped at 100 students. The summit is open to all students, all genders, and anyone interested in learning more.
This year’s line-up:
Danae Ringelmann – Indiegogo, Co-Founder
Mike Cassidy – GoogleX, VP
Selina Tobbaccowala – SurveyMonkey, President
Elizabeth Douglas – WikiHow, COO
Lisa Sugar – Popsugar, founder
Eurie Kim – Forerunner Ventures, Partner
Lauren Imparato – I.AM.YOU, Founder
Shannon Wu – founder.org, Director
Rebecca Lynn – Canvas, Partner
Please direct any questions to Yael Lederman at firstname.lastname@example.org
by Joy Jin
College students are constantly reminded of the importance of effective networking in enhancing careers. Recently, Mitchell Dong (entrepreneur, Pythagoras Investment) headed a Networking 101 workshop at Harvard detailing common pitfalls that people of all networking skill levels make. This networking practice session had several key focus areas—preparation, meeting people, conversation, and connection.
In this article, I will be focusing on summarizing some of Dong’s key tips to enhance connection, which is a field most commonly associated with networking, yet is often easiest to fumble with:
1. Business Cards
• Always bring business cards, and have them handy—if you are fumbling around in your bag for them, the other person will move onto someone else
• Take notes on the business cards you receive so you don’t forget the person
• Older people often prefer to exchange business cards rather than social media contacts
• Exchanging email addresses often involve typos—ask the person to enter his or her name next to the email so you can look them up later
• Send an email instantly after they enter the address and ask if the person received it—even though we exchange emails, it’s not often that the other person emails you back or initiates
3. Social Media
• In regards to social media, European professionals generally tend to use WhatsApp, Chinese people use WeChat, Japanese people use Line, and Korean people use KakaoTalk—using these native apps can allow for easier contact and more immediate connection
4. Follow Up
• When leaving, say goodbye to people you care most about—this demonstrates your appreciation for their help and subtly reminds them to follow up
• Email is the most common follow up method (many professionals don’t check LinkedIn)
• In your follow-up email, include in the subject line a reminder of the event name
• Compare notes and share contacts with a networking partner to increase the number of your connections by a significant percentage
by The Winter Xcelerate Team
It’s that time of year again, when the last-minute struggle to get a killer winternship or to submit those last few applications to get a free service trip to Asia add just another layer of stress to the never-ending midterm season. But this year, instead of frantically searching for something to do over J-term for another line on your resume, perhaps consider being your own boss for once, and trying your hand at a startup.
Sound radical? Not really. Harvard Ventures is running a program at the iLab during the last week of J-term—January 17th through 23rd–to help get very early stage startups off the ground. Winter Xcelerate is a one-week accelerator program where student teams can get space and mentorship to help them develop ideas and side projects into real businesses. Dust off your old CS50 project, revive that hackathon idea that you’ve thought about so much but just haven’t gotten the time to create, and spend your J-term making it come to life.
Winter Xcelerate has been running for the past 3 years, and each time we have grown and added more features and more value to the teams. This year, the teams will hack for a week at the iLab with food from all our favorite Harvard Square restaurants. The program will also feature lunchtime speaker sessions with professors, VCs, and other big names on the Boston startup scene. These talks will be open to the public, and are a great way to get you thinking about design and entrepreneurship in ways you never have! We wrap things up with a huge Demo Day with a keynote and panel of speakers. Last year, we featured Nick Krasney, co-founder of Philo, Max Campion the CEO of BriefMe, Tara Chang the co-founder of Women’s iLab, and Zach Dunn the co-founder of One Mighty Roar. The teams will also get the opportunity to pitch what they have been working on for a chance to win prize money to continue their venture.
Something new that we are doing this year is working even more closely with the iLab in order to get teams the resources and information that they need in order to apply to be one of the incubated teams in the VIP program. We’re taking steps to make sure that teams know what their options are after the conclusion of the program, and we want to help them determine how they can get the resources that they need to continue to build their product and grow their business. Nearly half the teams from last year were accepted as part of the VIP program in the iLab, and we want to make this space and community even more accessible for the rest of the undergraduates.
Winter Xcelerate is really one of the cornerstones of the undergraduate entrepreneurship scene and a great way to meet other founders, mentors, and VCs. Xcelerate is a great way to explore staring your own company, and might just end up being the most interesting line of your resume. Applications open next week so check the Harvard Ventures website or look out for the pub emails!
by Naomi Chan
This past week, EPIC launched its first annual EPIC Week: a week-long event to promote an entrepreneurial spirit on campus by engaging and empowering Northwestern students.
The idea of EPIC Week first came up last spring. We realized that although entrepreneurship has increasingly become popular on Northwestern’s campus, there still hadn’t been a university-wide initiative that allowed for students to realize their potential for entrepreneurship. Throughout the summer, we developed numerous ideas for activities that might best be able to invoke innovation and creativity from students. We revised the weekly schedule over and over again until we finally agreed on a combination of activities and events that we believed would inspire critical and unconventional thinking. Ultimately, we wanted the week to allow students to explore entrepreneurship and believe in themselves. By the time we returned to campus, we were able to quickly finalize the schedule and events and collaborate with the Farley Center to make sure that EPIC Week would be able to take place successfully.
Before we knew it, it was EPIC Week. We saw students, faculty, and even visitors participate in EPIC Week. It was simultaneously amazing and inspiring to see how engaged the Northwestern community was as people participated in activities such as attending a networking dinner with entrepreneurial alumni, brainstorming solutions to world problems, and watching a screening of “Big Hero 6.”
I believe that EPIC Week has had an incredibly positive impact on Northwestern’s campus. Students were reminded to believe in themselves and to stay true to their dreams for the future. I was proud to be part of a community of young people that pledged to make their own impact on the world.
by Joy Jin
This past weekend, hundreds of students representing a number of US and international colleges descended upon campus for HackHarvard. As Harvard’s first annual hackathon, the 36 hour event promoted collaboration on a plethora of digital projects among student groups, regardless of programming experience. Microsoft, Capital One, Facebook, and Wolfram were among the sponsors of the events, drawing a diverse crowd of students. Harvard Ventures sat down with several participants to speak about their experience and thoughts on hacking, intersection of different fields, and entrepreneurship in general.
Q: What hack did you make and what inspired you to do so? Describe the process of building your hack.
Sachin Srivastava (Northwestern): My team and I tried to create a search engine that, given a word describing an emotion, would return a list of book recommendations identifying with that emotion…It was based on the practice of bibliotherapy, a psychological therapy in which a patient reads books with themes relating to events in his or her own life. We ran into some challenges on the back-end work and implementing the searching mechanism, but after speaking with engineers from Google, Wolfram, and Microsoft, we were able to get a working website though it only responded to certain inputs.
Q: What makes entrepreneurship appealing to you?
Srivastava: My dream job is to start multiple organizations that positively impact the lives of billions of people. Entrepreneurship is so appealing because it’s a team sport, yet in many ways you are your own. It’s also the most creative profession. You can be an entrepreneur and create a product or service relating to any field imaginable.
Q: Do you envision yourself improving on your hack, and is there a particular area you were inspired to explore?
Srivastava: I don’t envision myself building off of the hack because to truly implement it would require extensive algorithmic knowledge that I currently don’t have…At this point, I’m really using hackathons as learning experiences to see what hacking is about and learn by doing, whether that’s web or mobile development. One takeaway from HackHarvard would be that I should try to get my ideas out there as much as possible, since there are quite a few talented people willing to help out.
Q: What was one thing that you really hoped would come through when you were helping to organize HackHarvard?
Yong Li Dich (Harvard): I really wanted participants (most were first-time hackers) to enjoy the event and not feel as if they were being thrown in a competitive atmosphere. That’s why we provided a nap space, had musical chair and dance breaks, promoted collaboration (no solo projects allowed), pushed for more workshops and talks surrounding learning skills, and had participants think about the impact of their projects rather than just prizes.
Angie Rao (Harvard): I also think one of the most exciting things about hacking and entrepreneurship is that it gives everyday people the ability to build so much with just a few lines of code. I honestly became involved in HackHarvard on a whim because I wanted to try something new, but stayed in it because others on the board are so dedicated to their work.