Last Thursday, we held a panel discussion called Student Entrepreneurs: Balancing Books and Business (BTW, I love that title; our Marketing Intern, Amanda Hansen, came up with it). We featured five DePaul student-entrepreneurs:
- Chris Campbell, GreenWerks Construction
- Brian Fritton, Titan Hotspots
- Alla Ioffe, Pallandrome LLC
- Michael Sullivan, Lakeshore Branding
- Quinn Wilson, Crystal Falls Productions
All are post-revenue companies, a few of which have been around for over a year and are doing quite well. The students include a freshman, junior, and three seniors, representing DePaul’s schools of Communication, Computing & Digital Media, and Commerce.
Now, this might sound odd given that I’ve been at DePaul for six and a half years and full-time for over five, all the while teaching/supporting entrepreneurship.
Thursday night was the first time that the pride factor really came out for me, with regards to our student-entrepreneurs. The entire evening, as I was moderating the discussion, I was amazed at the maturity, ambition, modesty, and confidence of these young people.
So why was it the first time? Well, I can only chalk it up to the fact that this was the first time that a group of students that have been involved with the Coleman Center were all together and featured in this manner.
Mind you, we have dozens of student-entrepreneurs at DePaul, many of whom don’t know about the Center or don’t have time to get involved. But each of these five have been clients, event attendees, or recruits. We’ve seen, or are seeing, their businesses develop in front of our own eyes. And in some cases, we’ve seen the students develop.
In other words, since the Center has only been around for five years, we’re now starting to see the cycle of kids who get involved for a couple/few years when they’re underclassmen, and remain involved. All of a sudden, they have real businesses with real customers and real employees.
What I’m excited about is that this is only the beginning.