Thought Into Action (TIA) student entrepreneurs made sure their conversations Saturday morning were accompanied by a firm handshake, a smile, and a well-rehearsed elevator pitch. After all, the alumni they were talking with could be their next investors.
GateSwap founders Rob Carroll ‘15 and Gabe Zetter ‘15 talked about their effort to create a safe, social, and sustainable way to exchange goods and services on college campuses.
“It’s easy to think of it as a college Craigslist,” Carroll said of their company, which is now active at Colgate with 613 members, and is expanding with the help of TIA mentorship.
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Joey Petracca ‘13 and Yuni Sameshima ‘13 were talking about Recipe Into Reality, their company designed to make life easier for home cooks, who can order ingredients from popular recipe sites with a few simple clicks.
“This is very real,” Petracca said. “It’s not a project or an academic exploration, this is a company. The TIA mentorship is invaluable. We’ve probably racked up $20 million in free advising so far.”
Cody Breene ‘13, David Lederer ‘13, and James Barker ‘13, talked about their online service Giggity, which is designed to connect universities with performing artists.
“Our goal in the next year is to have 1,000 performers connected to 20 universities,” Breene said.
Many of the ideas on display were for-profit ventures, but some focused on community action, student clubs, and one was even about getting a little bit of rest.
Linh Bui’s effort to create locations for students to take naps on campus was about far more than the concept itself.
“I was very shy,” said Bui ‘14, an international student from Vietnam. “TIA changed me completely. If I want something, and if I want it bad enough, I’ll now put myself out there to make it happen.”
Bui’s thoughts on the subject were special to Jane Porter ‘74, a TIA mentor. “She has grown so much in the last year. It’s night and day. I’m just so proud of all of my students.”
Wills Hapworth ‘07, TIA co-founder and alumni director, said Colgate’s commitment to entrepreneurship in the liberal arts context can be attributed to dedicated alumni and the support of President Jeffrey Herbst.
“He had the vision to see this and try it out. I think of him as lead investor,” Hapworth said. “It’s not about making tons of money or being famous… it’s about taking an idea, and through a process of trial and error, making it into a reality.”
Support for TIA is provided in part by the Paul J. Schupf Presidential Discretionary Endowment.