People often ask, "Why should I get a degree to be an entrepreneur if I'll be my own boss?". It's a fair question that takes a couple steps to answer since many of us have different views of what college is and even larger differences in views of what being an entrepreneur is.
It happens often that startups, after the excitement of getting started begins to fade, startups begin quickly thinking of how much their company is worth. It's natural since most startups begin with very little money that finding investors is important, however too often startups see the money as the end and not just as the means to get to the end. If you're interested in startups because the money is the end, investors will likely smell it… and frankly, you'll probably tell them in your pitch. …
ABC's hit show, Shark Tank is holding a casting call about 2 hours from South Bend in Chicago on May 9th at the Shedd Aquarium, and it should be a great opportunity for all of our entrepreneurs at Notre Dame and specifically ESTEEM to try out to be the next contestant. Whether or not you are chosen, this opportunity is a great networking chance and a great place to test out your pitching skills. Here we have some tips we have gathered from watching our favorite entrepreneurship show!
This past weekend's Startup Weekend Notre Dame was incredible - nearly a hundred people brought their skills and entrepreneurial spirit to Innovation Park and pitched over 25 new startup ideas, the "Weekend Warriors" whittled it down to 11 and after three long days the judges chose the top three startups. So, now that it's over, what were the take aways?
Chris Godsoe is a father of four and, much to the liking of his wife, loves to clean. While he was cleaning he had found a group of ants under a chair and started vacuuming them up, but he didn't know if there were more - he couldn't see. So he grabbed a Maglight and taped it to the end of his vacuum tube and found the rest of the ants… but he knew there was a better way of doing this and that's Vaclight.
Lilly Kang was a cashier at Starbucks when she saw the sheer amount of waste. Customers and employees throwing away hundreds of cups every day. "People are so caught up in their own life that they don't realize what they are doing to the environment". So she thought there had to be a way to incentivize people to bring in a cup instead of wasting a paper cup every day. In addition, Kang is from Beijing China so english is not her first language so she also had a hard time understanding people's names and an even harder time spelling their names. This led her to wanting to develop a better customer experience to tie to this improved cup. This is where the Starbucks Gold Cup started.
Brian Shourd is a Notre Dame Mathematics Grad Student that wants to do something that few others in grad school want to do… do even more learning outside of the classroom. Brian says, "My wife tells me I have one hobby and that is learning about other hobbies." Brian has been wanting for years to be able to learn about hobbies and have a platform that truly helps experts on hobbies teach these hobbies in a comprehensive way to people who want to learn about those hobbies - particularly, Brian. This platform Brian calls "Classery".
Anhton Tran is an undergrad student at Notre Dame who is interested in giving people an outlet to express problems. After working with Participant Media around how to engage millennials civically and in a meaningful way, Anhton saw a lot of the problems, "our generation watches news but it's too big; we don't engage with it. We engage with social media so lets discuss societal issues there". That is where he came up with Fixit.
It's easy to think about the fantasy lives of startup entrepreneurs out in Silicon Valley or in the dorms at Stanford or Harvard but Startup Weekend proves that there are dozens of awesome ideas and great minds in your own backyard.
Dennis Boyle, general partner at Ideo, is not new to startups but, when he graduated from Notre Dame in 1978, there wasn't the same startup community that there is now. "We didn't have events like Startup Weekend", said Boyle when he got on stage at Notre Dame's startup weekend. However, there are things that he has learned over the years that he wanted to pass along one was the human element. Doyle reminded "Startup Weekend Warriors" that "while you're coming up with ideas, make sure you're designing for humans".
As Startup Weekend gets kicked off here at Notre Dame, it's a great time to think about what Startup Weekend is and how it has swept the world and changed the way people think about innovation and minimum viable products.