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BCVC Hosts First Ever Entrepreneurship Week

For The Heights

Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

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Natalie Blardony / Heights Staff

Few would have expected the Sept. 17 kickoff event for Boston College’s first annual Entrepreneurship Week to involve the phrase “#unfollow your dream,” but that was, at one point during his presentation, exactly the proposal of Young Impact CEO Stephen Douglass, the keynote speaker invited by BC’s Entrepreneurial Society (BCES).

Wednesday’s speaker, Sean Lindsay of Tapjoy, was invited by the BC Computer Science Society, and began his talk by declaring that inviting individuals to work for a startup did not mean “telling them what you need,” but rather required the ability to show “what you can offer them.” He described having to spend less time on his beloved coding in order to be of more value on the business leadership side of his company’s operations.

The more startling fact, however, is that these remarks and others in a similar vein were not incongruous in juxtaposition with the goals of Entrepreneurship Week. When asked what they were looking for in the speakers invited, the students and faculty member involved in organizing E-Week responded with “the ability to inspire.” It is undeniable that, from freshmen with a concentration in finance to upperclassmen majoring in biology, all emerged from both events inspired, enlightened, and never disheartened, though the tales they heard were as often of failure as of success.

Though Lindsay’s talk highlighted the autonomy and the learning process that make startup companies attractive, he also stressed the importance of “vision” in the company’s leader.

Roger Larach, president of BCES, expressed his excitement on account of the Carroll School’s ongoing “transition from a traditional business school” to a more nourishing environment for entrepreneurship and innovation. His club aims at fostering potential and helping students realize their ideas through contests and venture capital.

John Gallaugher, the faculty advisor of the BC Venture Competition, is one of the forces quietly shaping BC into a hub for innovation. He asserts that students need resources that would “extend beyond the classroom” and allow them to take risks. Gallaugher has been featured as a “guru” in the October 2011 Entrepreneur magazine, for his work with graduates who went on to create their own successful companies.

Lindsay remarked that the major shortcoming of his experience after graduation was a lack of contacts who offered reliable professional advice. Fortunately for students at BC, according to BCVC co-president and E-Week initiator Karn Khunger, CSOM ’14, BC’s network of “tremendous faculty, student body, and alumni base” has served as a fantastic “ecosystem,” actively working to fill just that gap. Khunger says E-Week speakers “have had interesting career trajectories, and are contrarian in nature.”

Students who attend Entrepreneurship Week events can listen to firsthand accounts of successful entrepreneurs who are also enthusiastic alumni, and thereby learn about the mechanics and inspirations of starting a business. From there, students can proceed to take part in opportunities such as BCVC, to potentially win substantial funds to turn their ideas into reality.

The flagship event of the week, “Silicon Valley Comes to The Heights,” will be held on Thursday, Sept. 20, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., in the Fulton Honors Library, featuring local leaders in technology as well as a panel of Silicon Valley alums.

Friday is BC Young Entrepreneurship Day. Many of the highly successful speakers who will be presenting are former students of Gallaugher, who says “there is nothing more rewarding” than their willingness to help the new generation of aspiring entrepreneurs at BC.

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