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Students Explore Startup Opportunities at Annual Fair

The Edmund H. Shea Jr. Center for Entrepreneurship hosted its annual Startup & Entrepreneurship Fair Tuesday, which was attended by more than 280 students.

The fair, which was located in the Heights Room, featured 40 up-and-coming businesses enthusiastic about expanding their company. Students who attended the fair cited the feeling of having a larger role in or influence on a company as being a motivator for their interest.

Ado Jean, MCAS ’21, a student who attended the event, appreciated the opportunity to look at smaller companies that are on the rise.

“Joining a startup will be more personal, and you’ll have more of an impact on the company,” Jean said.

Formerly student run and held every February, the event was taken over by the Shea Center when it was established in 2015. The Shea Center’s work with the event, done in collaboration with the Start@Shea student board and Career Center, increased the number of companies and student attendance, said Kelsey Kinton, the assistant director of the Shea Center for Entrepreneurship.

The timing of the fair and its existence as its own event for only startups is due to the fact that startups are on a different hiring and recruiting schedule than many larger companies, Kinton said. Recruiting for Investment Banking and Consulting, for example, can start as early as the fall for the following summer, and, at times, even earlier.

“Some startups don’t know if they will still be up and running in a year so when it comes to hiring interns for the upcoming summer, they start a few months before,” she said.

Kinton emphasized that this year was one of the best for the event, noting how the student-led startups of the Accelerator Program were invited to showcase their work in addition to the Boston-area companies.

“This gave these student startups the opportunity to showcase their business idea to other students to get feedback or meet someone who might be interested in joining the team and growing their business here on campus,” she said.

Jared Goodfriend, a representative of ResRescue—a student-led cleaning service on campus—considered the event a great opportunity to promote his business.

“We’re just starting out now, and we’re looking to expand our teamwork cleaning service, a for-student, by-student cleaning service,” he said.

Kinton attributed the success of the event to its lighthearted atmosphere.

“Students get the opportunity to meet passionate startup employees who love what they do,” she said. “We don’t have a dress code, we play music, and try to make the environment less intimidating than traditional career fairs so students can engage in meaningful conversations and learn about the opportunities each company offers.”

Other students in the Carroll School of Management were encouraged to come to the event because of entrepreneurship classes they were taking and were intrigued by the number of opportunities present. A number of students also joined the fair with the specific intention of getting an internship for the coming summer.

A representative from a startup called The Grommet, which aggregates products from smaller businesses and local makers, came to the fair to look for interns for the summer and fall semester next year.

“We’re here because we’ve come to this event in the past, and it’s been a success,” the representative said. “We got two awesome interns out of this last year, so we’re coming back because of the great success that we had.”

Kinton said she believed that events like this serve to expand students’ perspective on the career possibilities they can pursue moving forward.

“Bringing startups together opens up students’ eyes to other opportunities beyond the traditional career path they may have been thinking of,” Kinton said. “They learn about some cool companies, meet other people passionate about their work, and can explore the opportunity of making a valuable contribution to a small team.”

Featured Image by Maggie DiPatri / Heights Editor

February 25, 2019