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 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.