Entrepreneurship – Colgate University News http://news.colgate.edu Items of interest about the Colgate community Fri, 29 Apr 2016 19:57:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Colgate hosts fifth annual Entrepreneur Weekend http://news.colgate.edu/2016/04/colgate-hosts-fifth-annual-entrepreneur-weekend.html/ http://news.colgate.edu/2016/04/colgate-hosts-fifth-annual-entrepreneur-weekend.html/#comments Thu, 14 Apr 2016 20:44:48 +0000 http://news.colgate.edu/?p=20517 Thought Into Action students gather on stage at Colgate's fifth Entrepreneur Weekend celebration

Thought Into Action students gather on stage at Colgate’s fifth Entrepreneur Weekend celebration. (Photo by Gerard Gaskin)

True grit is more than a classic western. It’s the stuff of great start-ups.

Colgate and Thought Into Action hosted the fifth annual Entrepreneur Weekend, April 8–9, celebrating the relentless determination that goes into successful ventures and connecting students with veteran business builders.

The festivities included a keynote conversation on Friday night. Moderated by Forbes magazine tech editor Steven Bertoni ’02, the panel included Tyler Haney, CEO of Outdoor Voices; Payal Kadakia, CEO and co-founder of ClassPass; Jon McNeill, president of global sales and service at Tesla Motors; Clare MacGoey, CFO of Giphy; and David Fialkow ’81, managing director at General Catalyst Partners.

For students interested in acting on the desire to run their own start-ups, McNeill broke the process down into a series of steps: identify a pain point or need in the market, then decide if there is a market for the product that would fill that need, and calculate the potential profit margins.

“But then there’s a big step in courage if you discover that the market looks cool,” McNeill said. “That’s actually going and doing it, and that’s where ninety-nine percent of ideas go to die.”

Panelists began the event as advisers, offering insights into the successes and failures they’ve tallied to date while encouraging students to take that big step. Then, they became judges, listening to pitches from Thought Into Action students competing for a cut of $20,000 in venture capital funding.

The Shark Tank–style competition was moderated by Peter Boyce of General Catalyst Partners and Rough Draft Ventures alongside Andrew Parietti ’10, president of Outdoor Voices. The panel heard from Thought Into Action students Samantha Braver ’18 and Ryan Diew ’17 of airport navigation app Trippie; Richard Sanders ’17 of the sports beverage company Seela; Miranda Scott ’18 of The Waffle Cookie, a socially conscious baked-goods start-up; and Rex Messing ’15 of the outdoor adventure firm Tuwa Tuwa, Inc.

After delivering their pitches and answering a series of questions from the pros, the students split a $20,000 pool of capital that will help them move their ventures forward.

The audience also met the alumni council’s 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year award winner, John Levisay ’89, who is CEO of Sympoz/Craftsy. In his five years with the online craft education company, Levisay has taken Craftsy through five rounds of funding, totalling $100 million, and increased staff from four employees to more than 250.

Prior to the Friday-night keynote, panelists spoke in small groups with students interested in entrepreneurship and working with start-ups. On Saturday, students were once again in the spotlight as Thought Into Action participants presented their products and services to parents, alumni, and friends in the Hall of Presidents.

“It’s not often that these sorts of events happen, and it constantly reinforces the strength and impact of the Colgate network,” said event attendee Connor Wybranowski ’18. “My biggest takeaway was to be persistent in the pursuit of knowledge and experience, no matter where you find yourself in life.”

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Panel set for Colgate’s fifth annual Entrepreneur Weekend http://news.colgate.edu/2016/03/panel-set-for-colgates-fifth-annual-entrepreneur-weekend.html/ http://news.colgate.edu/2016/03/panel-set-for-colgates-fifth-annual-entrepreneur-weekend.html/#respond Fri, 25 Mar 2016 16:37:53 +0000 http://news.colgate.edu/?p=20303 5th annual entrepreneur weekend at Colgate University

Colgate’s fifth annual Entrepreneur Weekend includes veteran entrepreneurs and students from the Thought Into Action Institute.

Entrepreneur Weekend 2016 is just around the corner.

Colgate’s fifth annual celebration of ideas, grit, and nerve kicks off with a Shark Tank–style panel on Friday, April 8.

Steven Bertoni ’02, Forbes magazine tech editor, will host a conversation with four innovative entrepreneurs — the creative minds behind a series of visionary and exciting companies:

Tyler Haney, CEO, Outdoor Voices
Payal Kadakia, CEO and co-founder, ClassPass
Adam Leibsohn, COO, Giphy
Jon McNeill, president, global sales and service at Tesla Motors

Then, the panel will hear pitches from student entrepreneurs in the Thought Into Action Institute (TIA), moderated by Peter Boyce of Venture, General Catalyst Partners, and Rough Draft Ventures.

The student presenters are:

Samantha Braver ’18 and Ryan Diew ’17 – Trippie
Miranda Scott ’18 – Waffle Cookie
Rex Messing ’15 and Ryan Clements ’16 – Fish Tuwa Tuwa
Richard Sanders ’17 – Seela

The panel and the audience will then vote to decide which students will receive seed money to take their ideas to the next level.

Weekend events continue on Saturday, April 9, with TIA student venture demos from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Hall of Presidents.

Register for free at colgate.edu/eweekend.

Related:
Colgate entrepreneurship
Thought Into Action Institute
Speakers at Colgate
Photos of speakers at Colgate

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Fair Harbor sails to KickStarter victory http://news.colgate.edu/2016/01/fair-harbor-sails-to-kickstarter-victory.html/ http://news.colgate.edu/2016/01/fair-harbor-sails-to-kickstarter-victory.html/#respond Mon, 25 Jan 2016 14:01:27 +0000 http://news.colgate.edu/?p=19982

A pop-up Fair Harbor shop in 2015

When siblings Caroline ’19 and Jake Danehy ’16 set out to make the eco-friendly clothing line that would eventually become Fair Harbor, Caroline was still in high school, and the idea was firmly rooted in soil, not the sea.

“We had an initial idea called Three R Clothing. It stood for reuse, refresh, and revitalize. We were going to plant a tree with every boardshort sold,” said Jake Danehy, a geography major and Division I athlete from Larchmont, N.Y.

As they started looking for suppliers to manufacture their clothing line, they found a specific fabric directly made from recycled plastic bottles. With that, they decided to go in a different direction. Instead of planting trees, they would turn 11 plastic bottles into a single swimsuit, and would donate a portion of their profits from every sale toward cleaning up beach towns along the east coast.

“For me, I’ve always been incredibly interested in fashion and the environment so this was a perfect combination – a clothing company focused on sustainability and preserving the beach environment,” said Caroline Danehy, who is still considering majors. “For me, starting Fair Harbor has showed me at a young age that, if I have an idea, I can make it happen.”

Jake and Caroline pitched this idea, Shark Tank style, at Entrepreneur Weekend in April 2015, as one of Colgate’s Thought Into Action Entrepreneurship Institute Student Incubator (TIA) participants. As a result, they received $5,000 in funding. They were then selected as one of six Colgate eFund winners, earning an additional $15,000 and summer work space in Colgate’s dedicated entrepreneur incubator in downtown Hamilton. This funding was used for a down payment on their first order of boardshorts.

It was in that space, and at regular TIA workshops during the semester, that Jake and Caroline Danehy were able to tap into the Colgate network, taking in expert volunteer mentorship from Tim O’Neill ’78, managing partner of Golden Seeds Fund 2 LP, and Andrew Parietti ’10 president of Outdoor Voices.

By July 2015, the first order of 500 boardshorts was in hand, and by the end of the summer they had sold 95 percent of their inventory. Soon after, the Fair Harbor team started working on their second line, consisting of seven new boardshorts and five new t-shirts, and launched their first KickStarter campaign in December 2015. They hit their initial goal of $11,000 worth of pre-orders within the first 72 hours of launching on KickStarter.

“We wanted to make $11,000. We ended up making just under $25,000,” Jake said.

Fair Harbor’s next shipment will arrive in March. Jake and Caroline will be managing sales, working on PR and social media, hiring college campus ambassadors, and organizing pop-up shops in local beach towns along the east coast.

“Fair Harbor’s KickStarter victory is not a case of luck or overnight success,” said Wills Hapworth, TIA alumni executive director. “Since we began working with Jake and Caroline in TIA, they have matured into truly first class entrepreneurs. They’ve learned their customers and product inside and out, and they’ve skillfully managed their team and production.”

“We are incredibly fortunate to have Colgate University and the TIA program and all the support we’ve received,” said Jake Danehy. “It’s been one of the best experiences I’ve had at Colgate.”

Colgate’s 2016 Entrepreneur Weekend is slated for April 8. Additional information, including a full schedule and details about this year’s all-star panelists, will be announced at Colgate.edu in February.

Related links:
Entrepreneurship at Colgate
Eweekend 2015 in video
Colgate’s Entrepreneur Professional Network
TIA Mentors

 

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Miranda Scott ’18 takes her business to the next level http://news.colgate.edu/2016/01/miranda-scott-18-takes-her-business-to-the-next-level.html/ http://news.colgate.edu/2016/01/miranda-scott-18-takes-her-business-to-the-next-level.html/#comments Mon, 04 Jan 2016 13:30:53 +0000 http://news.colgate.edu/?p=19873 Miranda Scott ’18 stands by a poster at the “Real” Elevator Pitch competition in St. Louis, Mo.

Miranda Scott ’18 at the “Real” Elevator Pitch competition in St. Louis, Mo.

Miranda Scott ’18 launched The Waffle Cookie just last summer, and she’s already learning the ups and downs of running a business. Scott recently participated in the annual “Real” Elevator Pitch competition, where college students present their ideas to investors during elevator rides up the second-tallest building in St. Louis, Mo. Twenty finalists were invited to pitch to 20 judges on December 6. They had 40 seconds — for each of the 10 rides — to earn the judges’ favor. It was organized by Saint Louis University’s John Cook School of Business.

Scott and her best friend, Serena Bian (a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania), decided to start a social enterprise during the summer break after their first year. The friends, who met at the Cranbrook Schools near Detroit, felt the weight of the city, even though they were in a suburb. “So we wanted to have our social impact benefit Detroit,” Scott said.

“We both love food, we love sweets, and I have a particular liking for breakfast foods, so we experimented and came up with the waffle cookie,” Scott said. Slightly softer than a cookie, the confection is made with a waffle iron and comes in a variety of flavors, from white chocolate chip macadamia nut to lemon.

They began by selling at farmers’ markets and two retail stores. But when the academic year started, they decided that they only had the bandwidth to sell online — they make all the orders themselves.

For every 10 cookies sold, they donate a meal through Forgotten Harvest, a nonprofit that “rescues” surplus food and donates it to emergency food providers in the metro Detroit area. Between the launch of their online store in October 2015 and the beginning of the holiday break in December, they sold nearly 1,000 cookies, and they donated 94 meals. (During the summer, they sold approximately 450 cookies and donated money to a different nonprofit.)

To get the business off the ground, Scott and Bian raised $3,000 through a crowdfunding campaign. Also, a Colgate parent has invested in The Waffle Cookie. Scott joined Colgate’s Thought Into Action (TIA) Entrepreneurship Institute this year — that is how she learned about the “Real” Elevator Pitch Competition. TIA leaders told students that, if any of them were finalists, the institute would pay for the trip to St. Louis.

On December 5, Scott went to the monthly TIA meeting and practiced her pitch on her peers. The ’Gate student then hopped on a plane for the Gateway City. (Bian couldn’t join her because she was on a Wharton Business School panel that day talking about The Waffle Cookie.)

The next morning, Scott met her competitors and stepped into her first elevator. “You couldn’t even shake [the judges’] hands,” because time was so limited, she said. The two judges scribbled notes as Scott delivered her pitch and handed out cookies. “I was nervous at first, but after the first one, I realized that it was super fun,” Scott said. “By the time they were over, I wanted to do ten more.”

The Waffle Cookie may not have won the cash prize, but Scott was mainly in it for the experience, like “learning what other young social entrepreneurs are doing,” she said. And while networking afterward with the judges, Scott received advice from successful businesspeople — one of whom offered her an internship.

During winter break, Scott and Bian plan to tour a facility in Detroit that would bake and ship their products so they could spend their time on market research and sales strategies. The two would like to open a storefront in Detroit after graduation: not only looking for sweet success, they also hope to make a positive impact on their community.

Related Links:
Thought Into Action
All-star Entrepreneur weekend panel at Colgate

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Downtown incubator abuzz as Colgate Entrepreneurs Fund winners go to work http://news.colgate.edu/2015/06/downtown-incubator-abuzz-as-colgate-entrepreneurs-fund-winners-go-to-work.html/ Wed, 10 Jun 2015 17:29:45 +0000 http://news.colgate.edu/?p=18765 Amanda Brown '15 (left) talks to a student at eWeekend. Brown is one of six eFund winners working in the Thought Into Action incubator space in Hamilton, N.Y. this summer.

Amanda Brown ’15 (left) talks with a student at  Entrepreneur Weekend in April. Brown is one of six eFund winners working in the Thought Into Action incubator space in Hamilton, N.Y., this summer.

Being selected for the Colgate Entrepreneurs Fund (eFund) can change everything for a fledgling start-up, especially when combined with incubator space and direct access to Thought Into Action alumni-mentor support for an entire summer in Hamilton, N.Y.

The $15,000 award that comes with selection opens doors for these new ventures. Some use the funding to hire product engineers, web developers, advertising buys, or just use the capital to allow for full-time work on an idea that otherwise would be attended to only after working another job.

The eFund, originally seeded by parent Dan Rosensweig, is now funded by numerous Colgate parents and alumni. Now in its third year, the eFund has awarded a total of $255,000 to 17 ventures since 2012. The mentoring and expertise that the entrepreneurs in the incubator space receive is just as valuable as the funding, they’ve said.  This summer, that mentorship includes advice from alumni including Jason Griswold ’97, Janice Ryan ’94, Amy Jurkowitz ’85, Joey Petracca ’13, TIA Co-Founders Andy Greenfield ’74, Bob Gold ’80, and Wills Hapworth ’07, and many more.

“For most of the eFund entrepreneurs, this is the first time they’ve had the opportunity to spend 100% of their time, focus, and creativity on their ventures. They get to stop moonlighting on their idea, and make a hard push at creating success, with capital and mentorship to accelerate their growth … and we’ve seen it work for many of the teams,” said Hapworth.

This year’s Entrepreneurs Fund winners are:

Children and Youth First USA
Amanda Brown ’15
This U.S. branch of a Nepalese nonprofit organization is dedicated to fundraising for support of marginalized youth and women across Nepal. Currently, Brown is focused on raising funds for the construction of an expanded, safer, and more sustainable Life Vision Academy for 200 students. “The mentorship has been really helpful, both for the logistics advice and their business knowledge,” Brown said. “This is something that really wouldn’t be possible without Colgate.”

Echo
Adam Buys ’17, Zy Mazza
Echo is a mobile app that uses geolocational data on your phone to highlight social events nearby. Only interested in free events? Echo can let you filter out any events that cost money. The duo, friends from high school, have submitted their first version to the Apple app store for approval, and they are now working on their first product update. “Being here makes everything easier,” Buys said.

Fair Harbor Clothing
Jake Danehy ’17, Caroline Danehy ’19, Sam Jacobson
One Fair Harbor swimsuit is made from 11 recycled bottles. Combined with donating 5 percent of their profits to clean-water charities, this ecologically minded active lifestyle brand was created by a brother and sister team now selling their products online and in surf boutiques.
“We used our winnings from Entrepreneur Weekend to put our deposit down on our first order, and we’re using our eFund award to pay for the remainder of the order, ” said Jake Danehy.

Brainstorm Technologies
David Myers ’14, Alex Drakos ’16
Drakos said studies have shown it’s possible to boost concentration through gentle electrical brain stimulation. This venture aims to make that concept available to the general public through the creation of a new headset designed to increase mental focus. Drakos and Myers are now working on building a Kickstarter campaign, and they’ve hired an engineer to build a prototype of the product.

Indify
Raffi Khatchadorian ’17, Keshav Garg ’15, Matthew Pavia, Connor Lawrence
Winners of a $10,000 Entrepreneur Weekend prize after presenting to an all star–entrepreneur panel, Indify is a platform for record labels to find emerging artists. The team is working this summer to refine the platform in preparation for a beta launch at the end of the year. “TIA has gotten us to a place where we’re comfortable working on this full time,” said Garg. “We’d probably be in my basement working on this without TIA. We might not even be around. Having this support system has made us confident, and it has given us the resources to make it happen.”

Platform Athletics
Alex Relph ’09, Sam Breslin ’09
Started by two former Colgate football players in 2013, Platform Athletics is a web-based training platform designed for high school coaches in the development of student athletes. The system includes online leaderboards, individualized workouts, and a coaching dashboard equipped with powerful tracking tools. Breslin and Relph are using this summer to finalize and launch their 2.0 while retooling their marketing message. “The TIA mentors have been invaluable in helping us look at our message and brand in a new light and develop a message that resonates with high school coaches,” Relph said.

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All-star Entrepreneur Weekend panel encourages Colgate students to think big http://news.colgate.edu/2015/04/all-star-entrepreneur-weekend-panel-encourages-colgate-students-to-think-big.html/ Sat, 11 Apr 2015 01:36:00 +0000 http://news.colgate.edu/?p=18335 Entrepreneur Weekend panel onstage in Cotterell Court

Colgate’s Entrepreneur Weekend 2015 all-star panel (Photo by Andrew Daddio)

Colgate’s entrepreneurial spirit soared tonight as the university welcomed five leading business builders to campus for Entrepreneur Weekend 2015.

The panel included Jessica Alba, founder of The Honest Company; Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker; Greg Coleman, president of Buzzfeed; serial entrepreneur and entertainer MC Hammer; and Rent the Runway co-founder and CEO Jennifer Hyman — all interviewed by Colgate trustee and Chegg! CEO Dan Rosensweig P’15’17.

In conversation before a packed Cotterell Court audience, the entrepreneurs talked about the passions that drove them to succeed and some of the surprises they encountered along the way. They also offered wise words, gained through hard experience, for Colgate students interested in going their own way after graduation.

Following the interview, Shark Tank’s own Mark Cuban appeared via video to introduce a competition between four members of Colgate’s Thought Into Action (TIA) student incubator program. As on the popular television show, founders had mere minutes to pitch their ventures in hopes of earning investment dollars, with the five panelists each distributing $5,000 from TIA to the startups they liked best.

One by one, students took to the stage, introducing their businesses before taking questions from the panel. The experts asked for specifics on marketing strategies, potential rivals, revenue projections, current fiscal needs, and more.

“The summaries were excellent, the presentations clear,” commented Coleman, a veteran of countless pitches. “You guys were well trained.”

When the lights came up, Indify, presented by Keshav Garg ’15, was the top choice. His company secured $10,000 to continue developing an algorithm that allows recording companies to identify hot new artists based on popular measures from across the Internet. Other TIA entrepreneurs included Daniel Mosko ’17, Jake Danehy ’16, Caroline Danehy ’19, and Tyler Sherper ’17.

Addressing every one of Colgate’s Shark Tank participants, Rosensweig summed up on behalf of the panel. “I would encourage you to think big,” he told them. “What you’ve heard from the people here is that they thought, ‘no obstacles,’ and they thought huge. That’s my advice to you.”

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Entrepreneur Weekend starts today with all-star panel; watch live at 5 p.m. http://news.colgate.edu/2015/04/entrepreneur-weekend-starts-today-with-all-star-panel-watch-live-at-5-p-m.html/ Fri, 10 Apr 2015 12:29:24 +0000 http://news.colgate.edu/?p=18309 eweekend_storyColgate kicks off Entrepreneur Weekend 2015 today with a panel conversation featuring five all-star entrepreneurs: Jessica Alba, founder of The Honest Company; Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and CEO of Warby Parker; Greg Coleman, president of Buzzfeed; serial entrepreneur and entertainer MC Hammer; and Rent the Runway co-founder and CEO Jennifer Hyman.

The event will be streamed live at colgate.edu.

Panelists will offer insights that they have gathered as they have built businesses across an array of industries. Colgate trustee and Chegg! CEO Dan Rosensweig P’15’17 will moderate the discussion.

After the keynote event, panelists will hand the microphones to a few Colgate students, who will pitch their own ventures in a Shark Tank-style competition.

“We wanted to spark the kind of conversation that undergraduates couldn’t hear anywhere else,” said Murray Decock ’80, vice president of institutional advancement. “Into this creative Colgate environment, we’re welcoming panelists who pursue big ideas for a living. They know — and can teach our students — that you have to think big and take risks if you’re going to change the world.”

Entrepreneur Weekend has become a signature program for Colgate. Between 2012 and 2013, some of the world’s most innovative business leaders — including Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg — traveled to Hamilton for solo engagements with Colgate students.

Last year, the university hosted a panel that included business founders Ashton Kutcher of Katalyst, and Brian Chesky of Airbnb, as well as established CEOs John Donahoe of eBay, Tony Bates of GoPro, and Rosensweig from Chegg. By purposeful contrast, founders who serve as chief executives of their own ventures make up the majority of this year’s panel.

The celebration will continue on Friday evening, when the Colgate University Alumni Council will award its Entrepreneur of the Year Award to Ello COO Pete Sheinbaum ’92 and Patagonia Sur CEO Warren Adams ’88. On Saturday, the university will host a luncheon program and venture demos, developed by undergraduates in the Thought Into Action Student Incubator program.

The complete schedule is at colgate.edu/eweekend.

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This week on campus: QueerFest, Konosioni, Entrepreneur Weekend http://news.colgate.edu/2015/04/this-week-on-campus-queerfest-konosioni-entrepreneur-weekend.html/ Mon, 06 Apr 2015 20:39:37 +0000 http://news.colgate.edu/?p=18271 Colgate’s annual QueerFest kicks off tonight, with a keynote speech by Mia McKenzie, a writer, blogger, speaker, and performer whose work touches on intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality. McKenzie’s blog, Black Girl Dangerous, has received national and international recognition. She takes the stage tonight at 7:00 p.m. in Love Auditorium.

The conversation continues tomorrow at the Body Shame and Pride Brownbag, during which Vermont-based activist and teacher Eli Clare will discuss body politics, identity, and the role of shame through his experience. The conversation starts at 11:30 a.m. in the Center for Women’s Studies.

At the end of this week, celebrate entrepreneurial spirit with the world’s most innovative business leaders during a panel discussion on Friday at 5:00 p.m. at Cotterell Court. The panel, moderated by Colgate trustee and Chegg! CEO Dan Rosensweig P’15’17, will feature: Jessica Alba, founder of The Honest Company; Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and CEO of Warby Parker; Greg Coleman, president of Buzzfeed; serial entrepreneur and entertainer MC Hammer; and Rent the Runway co-founder and CEO Jennifer Hyman.

After the keynote event, several Colgate students will pitch their ideas in a Shark Tank-style competition. The Colgate University Alumni Council will give out this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year award to Ello Chief Operating Officer Pete Sheinbaum ’92 and Patagonia Sur Chief Executive Officer Warren Adams ’88.

Also that night, there will be a Konosioni Senior Honor Society Charity Auction to raise funds for local not-for-profit organizations at 8:00 p.m. in the Hall of Presidents. The event will include a cocktail reception and a live auction. Bidding starts at 8:30 p.m., and live auction starts at 9:00 p.m.

On Saturday, Entrepreneur Weekend will continue with Thought Into Action (TIA) Student Venture Demos and Lunch, where student entrepreneurs showcase their ventures. The Entrepreneur Fund award will also be presented during a brief program.

From 3:00 p.m. onward, learn more about the TIA program during an open reception celebrating the achievements of the past year’s student entrepreneurs at the TIA Open House.

To see more events on campus and in the community, check out the Colgate calendar.

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Colgate community Hackathon in New York City supports student’s nonprofit venture http://news.colgate.edu/2015/03/colgate-community-hackathon-in-new-york-city-supports-students-nonprofit-venture.html/ Fri, 20 Mar 2015 12:30:28 +0000 http://news.colgate.edu/?p=18130 (Left to right) Thought Into Action founder Andy Greenfield ’74, P’12, digital technology network volunteer Jeff O'Connell ’94,  Amanda Brown ’15, and Thought Into Action Executive Director Wills Hapworth ’07 during Colgate's Hackathon on Saturday, March 14

(Left to right) Thought Into Action founder Andy Greenfield ’74, P’12, digital technology network volunteer Jeff O’Connell ’94, Amanda Brown ’15, and Thought Into Action Executive Director Wills Hapworth ’07 during Colgate’s Hackathon on Saturday, March 14

On a rainy Saturday in New York City, about 40 Colgate alumni and students gathered to spend eight hours together for Colgate’s first-ever off-campus Hackathon, powered by the Digital Media and Technology Professional Network, the Entrepreneur Network, and the Common Good Network. The hackathon was one of many Colgate Day of Impact events held around the country.

Hosted by Jeff O’Connell ’94 at his downtown Maker Studios offices, the Colgate Hackathon involved engineers, computer coders, and technicians who helped Amanda Brown ’15 enhance the web presence of her nonprofit venture, Children & Youth First. Maker Studios, with its casual, loft-style space and multiple conference rooms, provided the perfect backdrop for the Hackathon.

Amanda Brown ’15 discusses her venture with Colgate Hackathon participants

Amanda Brown ’15 discusses her venture with Colgate Hackathon participants

After a morning introduction, the group broke up into different teams to examine Brown’s project, which was inspired through her work with Thought Into Action.

“It was amazing to watch how quickly the groups actually moved from thought to action,” said Wills Hapworth ’07, director of the Thought Into Action Institute. Groups discussed funding strategies, marketing decisions, and internal coding functions that could improve her efforts. These discussions led to the first versions of a crowdfunding platform to assist with construction of a school in Nepal.

“I could not be more impressed and grateful to Colgate alumni,” said Brown. “This was such an incredible experience to witness … people creating on small teams, on their own time, just for me and my project.”

Vijay Ramachandran, professor of computer science, was on-hand to advise some of his students and participate. The reaction from all the participants “hacking” was universally positive. “In all, the event highlighted the tremendous energy that Colgate people have to be engaged intellectually even during their free time, collaborate on creative ideas, and then deliver real results,” said Hapworth.

To learn more about the Digital Media & Technology Network, the Thought into Action Entrepreneurship Institute, or Colgate Day of Impact, please visit colgate.edu/alumni.

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Superstar entrepreneur panel to headline Colgate’s 4th annual Entrepreneur Weekend, April 10–11 http://news.colgate.edu/2015/03/superstar-entrepreneur-panel-to-headline-colgates-4th-annual-entrepreneur-weekend-april-10-11.html/ Fri, 13 Mar 2015 19:10:49 +0000 http://news.colgate.edu/?p=18074 eweekend_story

Colgate University will kick off Entrepreneur Weekend 2015 on Friday, April 10, with a panel conversation featuring five all-star entrepreneurs: Jessica Alba, founder of The Honest Company; Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and CEO of Warby Parker; Greg Coleman, president of Buzzfeed; serial entrepreneur and entertainer MC Hammer; and Rent the Runway co-founder and CEO Jennifer Hyman.

Panelists will launch the university’s annual celebration of entrepreneurial spirit, offering insights that they have gathered as they have built businesses across an array of industries. Colgate trustee and Chegg! CEO Dan Rosensweig P’15’17 will moderate the discussion.

“We wanted to spark the kind of conversation that undergraduates couldn’t hear anywhere else,” said Murray Decock ’80, vice president of institutional advancement. “Into this creative Colgate environment, we’re welcoming panelists who pursue big ideas for a living. They know — and can teach our students — that you have to think big and take risks if you’re going to change the world.”

Entrepreneur Weekend has become a signature program for Colgate. Between 2012 and 2013, some of the world’s most innovative business leaders — including Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg — traveled to Hamilton for solo engagements with Colgate students.

Last year, the university hosted a panel that included business founders Ashton Kutcher of Katalyst and Brian Chesky of Airbnb as well as established CEOs John Donahoe of eBay, Tony Bates of GoPro, and Rosensweig from Chegg. By purposeful contrast, founders who serve as chief executives of their own ventures make up the majority of this year’s panel.

After the keynote event, panelists will hand the microphones to a few Colgate students, who will pitch their own ventures in a Shark Tank-style competition.

The celebration will continue on Friday evening, when the Colgate University Alumni Council will award its Entrepreneur of the Year Award to Ello COO Pete Sheinbaum ’92 and Patagonia Sur CEO Warren Adams ’88. On Saturday, the university will host a luncheon program and venture demos, developed by undergraduates in the Thought Into Action Student Incubator program.

Watch colgate.edu/eweekend for complete schedule and ticket information as it becomes available.

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Question of the day: How worried should higher education leaders be about the future? http://news.colgate.edu/2014/05/question-of-the-day-how-worried-should-higher-education-leaders-be-about-the-future.html/ http://news.colgate.edu/2014/05/question-of-the-day-how-worried-should-higher-education-leaders-be-about-the-future.html/#comments Mon, 05 May 2014 21:47:37 +0000 http://news.colgate.edu/?p=15129 Jeff Fager '77 (left), chairman of CBS News, moderates the panel discussion at The TimesCenter. (Photo by Lorenzo Ciniglio)

Jeff Fager ’77 (left), chairman of CBS News, moderates the panel discussion at The TimesCenter. (Photo by Lorenzo Ciniglio)

After Clayton Christensen predicted that half of higher education institutions will either be facing bankruptcy or in liquidation within 10 to 15 years, six liberal arts presidents expressed varying degrees of concern, ranging from “no­t worried” (Georgia Nugent, president emeritus of Kenyon College) to “only the paranoid survive” (Colgate President Jeffrey Herbst).

Christensen, author of The Innovator’s Dilemma and cofounder of the consulting firm Innosight, delivered the keynote address at the Innovation + Disruption in Higher Education symposium, hosted by Colgate University at the TimesCenter in New York City.

While moderator Jeff Fager ’77, chairman of CBS News, did his best to draw out opposing views, the panelists agreed more than they disagreed — especially with the idea that the relational experience of living on a liberal arts campus will never be replicated or bettered online.

Adam Falk, president of Williams College, is encouraged by the ways faculty can “use technology to deepen the social dimensions of the work they do with students.” He said that “location-based accidents,” such as a physics major who happens to room with an art major, can only happen in a physical community, and that it is necessary for students to engage with faculty and with each other for material to take hold.

“It is in the process of engaging with the thing that we are engaging, whether it is Stendahl, or whether it is chemistry, or whether it is Buddhism…that builds our minds.”

David Oxtoby, president of Pomona College, also pointed to students’ influences on each other and the formation of mentoring relationships. “Liberal arts colleges are  disruptive force in education,” he said. He predicted that by 2025 there will be more courses co-taught between disciplines, and more that keep alumni engaged throughout their careers.


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Joan Hinde Stewart, president of Hamilton College, sees passion and entrepreneurship in higher education. “I see us on this stage, seizing the initiative, shaping the dialogue…and I see collaboration,” she said. Yet, later she also supported Alexander Hamilton’s fundamentally conservative approach to decision making: to allow time for “cool and sedate reflection.”

On the subject of measurement, there was some disagreement.

Raynard Kington, who became president of Grinnell College after a first career in medicine and health policy, recognized the potential for greater measurement and use of performance-related data. “Until we get a culture that has incorporated in it a willingness to ask questions… I don’t think we will do very well. We need to build the infrastructure to understand what we do well, what we don’t do well, and how we can do better.”

Nugent took the opposite view: “It’s pretty easy to tell whether the patient lived or the patient died,” she said. “It’s not so easy to tell whether the student became a more cultivated, more fulfilled person. We need to still have a respect, a reverence, for many things that can’t be measured.”

The symposium was initiated by Colgate’s president Herbst, who hoped panelists would take the conversation about technology and disruption to a more nuanced place, between the polarities of “apocalypse and stasis,” he said.

“We are in the knowledge business at the time when knowledge is being created, transferred, and distributed at an unprecedented rate,” Herbst said. “Even companies that are doing well and are well led can still fail to respond appropriately to disruption.”

Christensen, who had told stories in his keynote of such failure — from the computer, automotive, and steel industries — appeared unconvinced that higher education would fare any better.

“You have…in a kind way disagreed with everything I have said,” noted Christensen, who is also the Kim B. Clark Professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School. Then he challenged the presidents to imagine what a panel comprised of leaders from very different institutions might have discussed and concluded.

While Herbst defended the cost-ROI formula of liberal arts colleges, he agreed with Christensen on one important point: “We are still talking about the technological threat of today rather than the technological threat of the future, that will diminish some of our attributes,” he said.

“These questions sometimes revolve around how much online education will impinge on what we are doing,” Herbst said. But rather than cede the digital landscape to current providers, Herbst hopes to inspire colleagues to “figure out what our place is.

“That’s one of the most exciting and important challenges facing us today.”

Clayton Christensen speaks Monday at the Innovation + Disruption symposium. (Photo by Lorenzo Ciniglio)

Clayton Christensen speaks Monday at the Innovation + Disruption symposium. (Photo by Lorenzo Ciniglio)

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Clayton Christensen delivers keynote at Colgate’s Innovation+Disruption symposium http://news.colgate.edu/2014/05/clayton-christensen-delivers-keynote-at-colgates-innovationdisruption-symposium.html/ http://news.colgate.edu/2014/05/clayton-christensen-delivers-keynote-at-colgates-innovationdisruption-symposium.html/#comments Mon, 05 May 2014 16:23:26 +0000 http://news.colgate.edu/?p=15113 Clayton Christensen and Colgate President Jeffrey Herbst following the Innovation + Disruption symposium keynote.

Clayton Christensen (left) and Colgate President Jeffrey Herbst talk at the symposium. (Photo by Lorenzo Ciniglio)

Clayton Christensen kicked off Colgate University’s Innovation + Disruption symposium today with cautionary tales of industry giants felled by technological disruption, and why higher education should pay attention to the growth of online universities.

Christensen, the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, and co-founder of Innosight, was invited to the symposium by Colgate President Jeffrey Herbst to lead a discussion about technological disruption for a crowd of higher education leaders at the TimesCenter in New York City.

“There’s much talk now about online education, as a fundamental — perhaps existential — threat to brick-and-mortar schools,” Herbst said. “Never has it been more clear that an education designed for a lifetime is critical.”


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Christensen’s talk, “The Innovative University,” explained why he is worried about the future of higher education in a world where online learning technologies are catering to entirely new populations of students on a scale of hundreds of thousands.

“In the industries where disruption has occurred, there has been a technological core of some sort,” Christensen said. “In computing, the technological core was the processor. In the steel industry, it was the furnace itself… That’s why higher education has historically not been disrupted. We haven’t had a technological driver.”

Much like how steel companies were disrupted by upstarts with new furnace technology and a laser focus on the most inexpensive segment of the steel market (rebar), online education has created an inexpensive alternative to brick- and-mortar schools in a market that is rarely a consideration for leading universities, he said.

Clayton Christensen speaks Monday at the Innovation + Disruption symposium. (Photo by Lorenzo Ciniglio)

Clayton Christensen speaks Monday at the Innovation + Disruption symposium. (Photo by Lorenzo Ciniglio)

“Disruption makes it so much more affordable and accessible that whole new populations have access to it,” Christensen said.

Christensen explained how online courses have the ability to offer lectures with slick editing, music, animations, and picturesque settings. They also have created networking opportunities with other participants, thanks to social media. But Christensen believes there may be one important aspect they have yet to attain.

“What’s the substance of conversation when our alumni come back? What was it that changed them? Almost inevitably, it was a professor that changed their lives,” Christensen said.

Visit colgate.edu/innovationdisruption to watch Christensen’s talk and a panel discussion with six university presidents, titled “Seizing the Initiative in the Digital Age,” moderated by Jeffrey Fager ’77, CBS News chairman. Also available are lectures by Karen Harpp, Colgate associate professor of geology, and Erland Stevens, professor and chair of chemistry, Davidson College.

Join the discussion on Twitter with the hashtag #innovationdisruption.

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Colgate hosts Innovation + Disruption symposium http://news.colgate.edu/2014/05/watch-live-colgate-hosts-innovation-disruption-symposium.html/ Mon, 05 May 2014 07:10:01 +0000 http://news.colgate.edu/?p=15085 innovation and disruption symposium
The stage is set for a robust discussion today, as nearly 400 leaders in business and higher education gather to attend Colgate University’s Innovation + Disruption symposium at the TimesCenter in New York City.  (The symposium begins at 8:30 a.m., and can be viewed live.)

The high-level crowd includes 15 college presidents, online education providers, career services professionals, high school counselors, and trustees and faculty members representing more than 20 higher ed institutions.

Clayton Christensen, Kim B. Clark professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School and co-founder of the innovation consulting firm Innosight, will deliver the keynote address titled “The Innovative University,” after which Jeffrey Fager ’77, executive producer of 60 Minutes and chairman of CBS News, will moderate a panel discussion called “Seizing the Initiative in the Digital Age,” with six college presidents.

Colgate President Jeffrey Herbst is hosting the event. Along with Adam Falk, Williams College; Raynard Kington, Grinnell College; Georgia Nugent (emerita), Kenyon College; David Oxtoby, Pomona College; and Joan Hinde Stewart, Hamilton College, Herbst hopes to explore not only the threats but also the opportunities the digital age presents for higher education.

Viewers are urged to join the discussion via Twitter by using the hashtag #innovationdisruption.

Jeffrey Herbst is president of Colgate University.

Jeffrey Herbst is president of Colgate University.

In addition to the panel of presidents, the Innovation + Disruption event features two presentations on the topic of the liberal arts classroom in the digital age.

Karen Harpp, associate professor of geology at Colgate, will discuss her course The Advent of the Atomic Bomb, which is currently being offered online to more than 350 alumni, along with 30 undergraduates on campus.

Erland Stevens, professor and chair of chemistry at Davidson College, will speak about his online course Medicinal Chemistry. Both Colgate and Davidson are affiliated with the edX platform.

In the afternoon, career center counselors, academic leaders, and human resources professionals will attend a set of presentations around the theme “Are liberal arts graduates ready for launch?”

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Colgate launches Entrepreneur Professional Network during Entrepreneur Weekend 2014 http://news.colgate.edu/2014/04/colgate-launches-entrepreneur-professional-network-during-entrepreneur-weekend-2014.html/ Fri, 18 Apr 2014 18:48:19 +0000 http://news.colgate.edu/?p=14850 Katie Finnegan '05

Katie Finnegan ’05, chair of the Entrepreneur Professional Network, at the group’s launch during Entrepreneur Weekend on April 11.

There are finals, and then there are finales.

Colgate launched its Entrepreneur Professional Network on April 11, the grand finale in a series of network launches that have taken place throughout the academic year.

The reception took place backstage after Colgate’s Entrepreneur Weekend all-star panel, and hundreds of alumni and guests were in attendance.

While previous network launches were held in cities across America, the entrepreneur network marked its beginnings on campus in Hamilton, where President Jeffrey Herbst has made entrepreneurship a strategic priority and the Thought Into Action Entrepreneurship Institute (TIA) has become the umbrella organization for all of the university’s entrepreneurial efforts.

President Herbst honored TIA’s founder, Andy Greenfield ’74, P’12 during the event, saying “Without Andy’s drive, without Andy’s energy, we would not be where we are today with entrepreneurship at Colgate.”

While TIA still provides an important avenue for alumni and parents to engage with the university and with students, the new network increases the number of potential connections. Developed by the Office of Alumni Relations and the Center for Career Services, the network is driven by its members and led by Katie Finnegan ’05.

Finnegan knows the power of Colgate connections. At the first Entrepreneur Weekend in 2011, university alumni provided the impetus she needed to leave her day job and work full time on Hukkster, a disruptive online shopping venture that now boasts 250,000 users.

“The support of the Colgate network, Colgate infrastructure, the Colgate faculty, is what helped get us there,” said Finnegan. “What I’m excited about with this network is bringing that infrastructure to alumni elsewhere.”

Like all of Colgate’s professional networks, the entrepreneur network will provide a forum in which alumni can connect around issues related to their particular industry. It will also help to highlight the Colgate community’s impact on the world, facilitate mentorships and internships for students, and remind alumni that their generosity can shape lives.

“Given what we know about the changing nature of the workplace, Colgate graduates are going to have to invent and reinvent their own career paths to be successful,” Career Services Director Michael Sciola said during a network panel conversation on Saturday morning. “Whether it’s called entrepreneurship or survival, we have a responsibility to make sure that students are ready.”

When it comes to survival, entrepreneurs rely heavily on their networks. “At Colgate, everybody knows somebody,” said Swagger New York founder Sian-Pierre Regis ’06. “So if you connect with one Colgate person, they can connect you with ten others who can help you solve the major problem within your business.”

Surmounting problems while doing what’s never been done before — that’s the entrepreneur’s calling card. Thanks to the new Entrepreneur Professional Network, hundreds of Colgate graduates are one step closer to the answers and connections they need.

“I’m so excited that this network has been formed,” said TIA member Joshua Lasker ’14. “I want to be an entrepreneur for life, and I want to be a part of the Colgate community for life. If we can blend those two together, that’s so powerful.”

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Watch: Julian Farrior ’93, Colgate’s Entrepreneur of the Year, discusses innovation http://news.colgate.edu/2014/04/watch-julian-farrior-93-colgates-entrepreneur-of-the-year-discusses-innovation.html/ Tue, 15 Apr 2014 19:30:19 +0000 http://news.colgate.edu/?p=14825

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