So You Wanna Be an Entrepreneur?
By Jerome S. (MSB’19)
So you want to be an entrepreneur? Well, if you’re anything like me, then you are probably super savvy and highly passionate about making the world a better place. I think those are the two most important traits of any entrepreneur. You have to be ready to adapt and make something out of nothing, but you also need to have a true desire to make a product or service that contributes positively to the world around you.
If you do have these traits, then Georgetown is the perfect place for you to explore your passions, because our entrepreneurship initiative has become something really special on campus. In fact, it’s become one of the best in the country and it’s only getting better. That being said, as a student entrepreneur myself, here are the five ways I’ve been able to launch my own company, and how you can do the same!
1. Sign up for the Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community
If you are a prospective student, then I highly suggest you sign up to live in the Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community (E-ship LLC). But before I tell you what the floor is about, let me first explain what a Living Learning Community, or a LLC, is. Basically, LLCs are themed floors in dorm rooms across campus that allow students to live in close quarters with like minded students who share similar interests.
The E-ship LLC is a floor in Village C West (a freshman dorm on campus) that’s solely dedicated to first-year students who are curious about entrepreneurship! Yes, this LLC is only available to freshman, so if you’re a junior reading this right now, I’m sorry!
However, if you’re an incoming first-year, you can apply to live on this floor over the summer before you arrive. Some folks think that he E-ship floor is only for students with concrete business ideas, but that is not the case. This LLC is for anyone who has an entrepreneurial mindset. I lived on the E-ship LLC my freshman year and had a blast getting to connect with creative students who had all types of passions. And while on the floor, there were students who had a business already, who were in the process of starting one, and some (like me) with no clue of what they wanted to start! As a resident of the floor I got exposed to resources like Startup Hoyas, met incredible peers, and connected with amazing faculty!
2. Join the Entrepreneurship Fellowship
A few years back, the entrepreneurship initiative on campus began what they call the Entrepreneurship Fellowship. As Startup Hoyas worked to create more curriculum for students to partake in, the birth of this fellowship emerged.
The fellowship, much like the LLC, was a community of entrepreneurial students who wanted to utilize the resources available to student business owners and take courses that could add to their entrepreneurship knowledge. Students in the fellowship have to take three classes - Entrepreneurship, Launching the Venture, and Managing Entrepreneurial Ventures. After taking these classes, fellows receive an entrepreneurship certificate! Pretty cool right?!
3. Become an Entrepreneurship Minor
As of Fall 2018, Georgetown’s business school now offers an entrepreneurship minor! This was a huge step forward for the university’s entrepreneurship initiative, because we were able to move one step closer to solidifying the incredible role that entrepreneurship plays on campus and among students.
Much like the fellowship, if you take the specific classes offered through the McDonough School of Business, you can qualify for the minor. Students partaking in the fellowship and in the minor have a special advantage over their peers. Unlike your classmates, you are able to launch a startup with a lot of knowledge about how to navigate college life as a full-time business owner and full-time student. Additionally, the minor is allowing student startups to merge academics with practice. Truly an experience like no other!
4. Get involved with Startup Hoyas
By now you’re probably wondering what Startup Hoyas is. Essentially, it is the formal name of the entire entrepreneurship initiative on campus. And if you have any aspirations at all in becoming a student entrepreneur, then Startup Hoyas is the place for you.
Over the past few years, Startup Hoyas has grown to support more and more passionate Georgetown students launch their dreams. There’s a myth around campus that the resources they offer is only available to business school students, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, this initiative is funded through the McDonough School of Business, but it is open to all students (undergrad and graduate)!
Some of the resources with Startup Hoyas includes:
Chalk Talks: These are weekly round table discussions where students at ANY stage of their startup process can come and gain feedback from an array of highly successful entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurship Courses: Startup Hoyas created the fellowship and then the minor, so there are plenty of classes you can take to learn and explore.
Entrepreneurs-in-Residence: These are successful entrepreneurs from across DC who host office hours, coffee chats, and even mentor a lot of student entrepreneurs on campus.
Pitch Competition: Startup Hoyas hosts multiple pitch competitions throughout the year for student startups. In the fall there’s the Rocket Pitch Competition and the Bark Tank Competition. Then in the spring they host Entrepralooza and it’s a weekend full of pitch competitions! Prize money for all of these events ranges from $250 - $50,000.
5. Do the Summer Launch Program
Out of all of the opportunities that Startup Hoyas has to offer, their Summer Launch Program is by far one of the most in-depth opportunities you’ll ever get as a student here. This program is an 8-week, accelerated incubator that allows you to take a deeper dive into your business idea and get it off the ground.
Most students start their internships over the summer. But this program allows you to start (or grow) your business instead! They provide you with two direct mentors who you meet with every week. You are given a stipend to help support you over the summer. And there are weekly class discussions/ activities designed to help you think outside of the box about your business.
But the most exciting part of it all is… They give you an office! This past year, Startup Hoyas, thanks to the Leonsis Family, bought a huge space in WeWork to create the new Georgetown Venture Lab. This space is available for Georgetown affiliated entrepreneurs to have an office space at a discounted price, but when you do the Summer Launch Program it’s yours for free!
So, if you wanna be an entrepreneur, my suggestion is this… DO IT! You’ll be amazed by how much love (sometimes tough), support, and resources you can find to help make your dreams a reality here on campus.