Students show entrepreneurial spirit

Moving in a different direction from years past, Tech is experiencing a push for entrepreneurship unlike any seen before.

Start-ups like Swarm Books and Village Defense have been created by Tech students over the last few years. This has occurred in tandem with the rise of new campus programs.

Tech has experienced an increased interest in entrepreneurship amongst faculty, students and even Institute President G.P. “Bud” Peterson’s Strategic Plan identifies entrepreneurship as a key quality among students.

As a result of this interest, many new opportunities have arisen for budding business-starters, including organizations like Enterprise to Empower (En2Em), Inventure Prize competition, VentureLab, the Invention Studio and Flashpoint.

En2Em an on campus entity directed at students, provides incubation for ideas, consultation and networking through student and professional directories. En2Em connects entrepreneurs with similar interests and skill sets, and caters advice on advertising, legal information and future forecasts for companies.

The Inventure Prize, an annual competition amongst Tech students to create new products, is the largest invention competition in the U.S. It has been televised on PBS in past years. Around 400 participants contest to take the grand prize but each one receives guidance in areas like scheduling and risk assessment, which are invaluable to making ideas a reality.

Open to any student, the Invention Studio, located in the MRDC, can be very useful for start-up inventors because it provides the machinery and materials necessary to truly bring ideas to life at no cost.

There are also financial resources available to the would-be entrepreneur, such as Flashpoint, which gives ten teams $10,000 and any other resources they may need. Through these resources a number of start-ups have been created at Tech.

Tubing Operations for Humanitarian Logistics, started by Apoorv Sinha ChBE ‘10 and Benjamin Cohen, a fourth-year CEE major, converts tubing used for well drilling to provide water over long distances to areas in need, such as post-earthquake Haiti. Although this company is only in its infancy, it already shows some promise to make a positive impact on the world.

Another recent Tech start-up formed at the beginning of the school year and already successful, Swarm Books is a student-run alternative to Barnes & Noble which uses Facebook to connect students interested in buying and selling textbooks.

Another business was founded to meet Tech students’ needs. Village Defense, a security company founded by Nathan Black, EE ‘09, and Sharath Mekala, a Georgia State graduate in Risk Management, utilizes phone calls and text messages to alert residents of crime. The service aims to bring about awareness and decrease crime.

Behind each start-up company whether at Tech or around the world, lies a motivating factor that drove the founders to create their company.

Most start-ups, including the three profiled above, are based on social entrepreneurship or are conceptualized as a result of existing problems in the surrounding community.

Others are motivated by personal desires to impact the world while turning a profit, or by the desire to gain experience and the skills and network of communications.

Regardless of the motivation behind them, Tech is experiencing a renewed growth in start-ups and entrepreneurship that is here to stay. However time will tell how successful these entrepreneurs are.

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