Networking Through Northeastern

You’ve heard it before: “It’s all about who you know.”

And whoever is telling you that, is right. Networking can help open doors, and even get your first foot inside. You just have to get your name out there and make yourself memorable.

The Northeastern Entrepreneurs Club is giving students a chance to shake hands and share ideas with leaders from entrepreneurial clubs and other individuals interested in entrepreneurship at “The Real Social Network,” tomorrow from 5-8 p.m. at the Venture Cafe in Cambridge.

Check out this article from BostInnovation to learn more about the event, and be sure to stop by if you can!

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NEXPO 2011: IDEAs All Around

Last Wednesday, Feb. 9 I had the privilege of attending the second annual Northeastern Entrepreneurship Expo (NEXPO), which I blogged about a few weeks ago. However, now I have created something more exciting: A video news segment exploring the event.

The second annual NEXPO event, held by the Inter-Disciplinary Entrepreneurial Accelerator (IDEA) student group on Northeastern’s campus is a celebration of the entrepreneurial ventures throughout the Boston and Northeastern communities. Startup companies and new businesses that work with IDEA (the group connects students and startup companies with resources, coaches and funding) were able to showcase their ventures, giving the founders an opportunity to network with one another as well as meet industry professionals.

In the video, I had the opportunity of speaking with Chris Wolfel, CFO of IDEA who helped run and organize the event, Chuck Svirk, co-founder of University Apparel LLC, Cory Bolotsky, a member of the Northeastern Entrepreneurship Club, Sean Castro, founder of Rummagers Group, LLC and Tyler Smith, founder of Brewspy.com. The companies, from Svirk’s apparel businesses to Castro and Smith’s online businesses, were all really interesting and showed an incredible amount of entrepreneurial spirit. I am very excited to see which businesses take off in the future!

Please take the time to check out the video, and feel free to follow the companies online!


Greenhorn Connect: Connecting Entrepreneurs, Not Enviromentalists

Upon reading the name Greenhorn Connect, many minds shift to the environmentally safe connotation many have come to associate the word “green” with. Yet Greenhorn Connect has nothing to do with being enviromentally safe–unless, of course, it’s featuring a “green” startup business or entrepreneurial venture.

Pardees Safizadeh from Greenhorn Connect at NEXPO 2011

Greenhorn Connect is actually a community website that helps to build connections within the Boston entrepreneur ecosystem. The site connects Boston startups and entrepreneur enthusiasts with the many resources, events and even open jobs available in the Boston area. It’s mission is “to deliver relevant content to entrepreneurs and help channel the energy and enthusiasm of ‘greenhorns,'” which are newcomers–or in other words, entrepreneurs.

I first came across the name of Greenhorn Connect when attending Northeastern Entrepreneurship Expo that I blogged about a few weeks ago. I saw their booth showcasing their business and went over to talk to Pardees Safizadeh. The most interesting thing, it turns out, is that Greenhorn Connect is actually a website for entrepreneurs, made by entrepreneurs. The founding “Team” consists of two Northeastern graduates and Safizadeh, a graduate of Boston College. They created the website in order to serve the challenges faced by young entrepreneurs trying to learn from and connect with the resources, organizations and events available in the city of Boston.

The website contains a journalistic element with its Blog feed that contains relevant articles summarizing event recaps, interviews with startup founders and advice articles. The site also has a “news and announcements” element where site visitors can check up on what events are going on as well as enter various contests to win free tickets and access to events, and prizes that may help with their entrepreneurial endeavors. The site also allows community members to comment on posts and submit their own content, making it a real collaborative product.

In addition to the journalistic elements, Greenhorn Connect includes an event calendar so visitors can easily see what is happening throughout the week, get a brief summary of the event, and go to the event page right from the site to sign up. The site has tons of resources, providing learning guides, how-to articles, and lists organizations and companies that may be places of interest to entrepreneurs, such as 406 Ventures.

For the entrepreneur in us all, the site also has a job board where visitors and members can look for available jobs with startup companies and entrepreneurial ventures, or put up a posting for their own business.

I love the fact that the website is local and specifically for Boston-based entrepreneurs. I also love the combination of the journalistic elements along with learning elements, and that it is a community site, so anyone can contribute.

However, there are some things I would also improve. Members of the site have the opportunity to post feedback, yet from looking at the site, I did not see much feedback. This could be due to the fact that I myself am not a member, so I cannot see the comments. Another thing I thought that the site could improve was its visual appearance–pictures from events would be a great contribution, and having journalists cover all of the events they post would be extremely helpful. Perhaps a rating system of these events for community members to comment on different events would help other site members know if they should attend a weekly meeting from the reviews from the previous week.

Websites that can be compared to Greenhorn are BostInnovation, a website that also features articles about local entrepreneurs and new businesses in the Boston area. However, BostInnovation also features “What’s New in Boston,” so it is not specifically focused on entrepreneurs, making Greenhorn Connect unique.


Northeastern Collegiettes Get Published

Every Sunday evening I go to the Curry Student Center and meet with several other female students at Northeastern. There, we discuss what is going on around campus and pitch ideas for stories to one another, trying to figure out what it is that the female population of Northeastern wants, or needs, to know. Once we come up with these ideas for stories and write them up, we can then post them online to the Northeastern branch of Her Campus, a national online magazine for college women.

From left: Karlee Stewart (Campus Secretary) and Rachel Kossman (Campus Coordinator)

Her Campus has a national home page, which serves as a hub for information, news and updates relevant to the interests of college women. With content on style, health, love, life and careers, the national site is supplemented by campus-specific content. The site individualizes its content college-by-college by establishing My Campus branches at schools across the country.

Created by three undergraduate Harvard students, Her Campus is the definition of an entrepreneurial venture. The founders, Stephanie Kaplan, Annie Wang and Windsor Hanger collaborated to create Her Campus and their idea was a winner in Harvard College’s business plan competition, the i3 Innovation Challenge, in March 2009. Since Her Campus’s launch in September 2009, the website has proven to be largely successful and now has campus branches

The founders (now graduates, except for Annie Wang, who has taken a leave of absence from Harvard) currently work in their office in Cambridge near Harvard University that was provided to them after winning the i3 Innovation Challenge. They have formed partnerships with Seventeen Magazine and The Huffington Post, and have been featured in The New York Times and The Boston Globe.

Northeastern's Her Campus Branch Website

100+ college across the country now have Her Campus branches, with new branches popping up every week. Readers of the site can enjoy new articles daily, and monthly giveaways. Kaplan has been featured on Fox25 News to talk about various subjects, including last week when she went to talk about the pros and cons of joining Greek Life. The women have been featured in Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30 Coolest Young EntrepreneursGlamour Magazine’s 20 Amazing Young Women, and The Boston Globe’s 25 Most Stylish Bostonians.

The group of women writing for Northeastern’s Her Campus branch (including myself) are also exhibiting a sense of entrepreneurialism. We meet each week to discuss our ideas and ways to make the website better, without any one authority member telling us what to do. We direct ourselves, without pay, to generate relevant and interesting content for the Northeastern community, and simultaneously create writing clips for ourselves. We strive to make our branch website better each week, gaining more website views inch-by-inch each month. By being a part of this particular venture, we are all adopting the spirit of entrepreneurialism, and learning more about what it takes to create a successful business: A good idea, knowledge of online content and a group of hard working individuals ready to make a difference.

 

From left: Sarah Moomaw and Jen Gorden (Campus Contributors) Peer Edit Articles


Mass Company Chosen for Obama Initiative

“We’re a nation that says, I might not have a lot of money, but I have this great idea for a new company …. We do big things.”

The above statement is excerpted from President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address, in which he referenced America’s history and future as a global leader in both innovation and entrepreneurship.

More big things are happening in the world of entrepreneurship (and Massachusetts) with the announcement that the White House has named MassChallenge Startup Competition and Accelerator as one of the most promising initiatives for supporting and encouraging entrepreneurs in the U.S. The White House also announced MassChallenge as a partner in the new Startup America Partnership, a White House initiative to reward and inspire entrepreneurship across the nation.

The United States does big things, indeed. And surprisingly, Obama is actually doing something to support entrepreneurs, rather than just saying he will.

The Startup American Partnership is an independent entity, co-funded by the Kauffman Foundation and the Case Foundation, focused on reviving America’s small business climate by promoting entrepreneurship and small business growth, leveling barriers to success for entrepreneurs and small businesses and investing in green technology. The partnership was jump-started on Monday with a week-long series of events encouraging U.S. businesses to invest in smaller firms. Leading corporations like Facebook, Intel, HP and IBM pledged to increase their investments within startup companies.

MassChallenge, located in Boston, tries to connect entrepreneurs with resources they need in order to launch and succeed by running an annual global startup competition, compiling key resources and organizing networking and training events.

As a partner of the Startup American Partnership, MassChallenge will continue to engage in a coordinated effort attempting to bring together and promote entrepreneurs, organizations, universities and other leaders throughout the country, while working with federal agencies to increase the presence and success of American entrepreneurs.

MassChallenge will occur this year on March 8, 2011.

Photo Credit to ceslava.com via Creative Commons. Some rights reserved.


Entrepreneurial Resources on the Web

While many young entrepreneurs may be limited to the amount of resources they have due to financial restrictions, there is always the saving grace of the Internet to help them pursue their dreams. The Internet is home to infinite amounts of websites devoted to the success of entrepreneurs, including websites that share business strategies and marketing tips as well as websites detailing what other entrepreneurs are doing with their independent businesses.

Some sites even allow the entrepreneurs themselves to divvy out and take in each other’s advice by establishing forums where people can log in and interact, creating a network or community of aspiring entrepreneurs that want to help each other succeed. By clicking through several websites I have listed below, I hope to provide readers with up-to-date news about people who are creating their own careers, and the strategies, applications and Internet capabilities that allow them to do so.

Want entrepreneurial tips and news surrounding new techniques and strategies that can make your comp any flourish? Visit Entrepreneur Daily Dose, an informative website that features successful entrepreneurs and persuades them to share some of their business strategies and ideas. The writers also spotlight up-and-coming techniques and applications available to entrepreneurs through the Internet, such as “using QR code to promote your business” — if you know what that means.

The NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation‘s website profiles the nation’s top young entrepreneurs and shares their success stories with the world. Hey, if it worked for them, it could work for you too, right? It also shares some “scary” stories from entrepreneurs, aiming to help readers avoid certain new-business mishaps.

Under30CEO is another website that encompasses both insight from entrepreneurs themselves and “how-to” tips from experts that aid others throughout the entire process of starting and maintaining their business. The website incorporates information about new inexpensive applications and tools that can be useful for companies, and their article titled “Permission to Make Mistakes Usually Leads to Fewer of Them” makes us want to browse it right away.

If you’re interested in how “Gen-Y” does business, check out Unstrapp’d. The website is a breeding ground for new insight into social media, and shares with readers the “brutal facts and real life stories from experts and peers right there with them in the trenches”. Unstrapp’d reveals facts, opinions and figures about productivity, time management, college business, internet marketing, social media, branding, and bootstrapping. Unsure of what “bootstrapping” is? Check out the website.

The last website I chose to feature embraces both blogging and entrepreneurship, cleverly titled Blogtrepeneur. Founded by three men in their early 20s, the site recognizes the relationship between online  businesses and blogging and features interviews from those who have had success with the two. Featuring an article about Scott Gerber’s book, “Never Get a Real Job” the site help explains the surge of young entrepreneurs hoping to make it big in their new business.