If you want to continue the momentum of the attract and retain conversation around college entrepreneurs, you need students to be a part of it.
That’s why last fall a group of aspiring undergrad entrepreneurs from Drexel and Penn came together to form nvigor, an organization dedicated to connecting Philadelphia students to the technology community to help them gain roots here.
After partnering on a healthcare focused hackathon earlier this month, Nvigor hosted its first annual Philly Student Startup Summit 1.0 at University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science as part of Philly Tech Week 2013 this weekend. The eight-hour day included a full breakfast, speakers, a discussion panel, lunch, afternoon discussions, two workshops and a closing keynote from Wharton alumnus Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital.
The summit welcomed young entrepreneurs and students from all over the city, and including students from Drexel, Penn, Temple and more, some 150 reserved a spot and nearly that many cycled through the day-long event
Startup Discussion Quotables:
“If cities are serious about open data, we need to put the full force of law behind it.” -Mark Headd, Chief Data Officer
“I wanted to become a VC because I thought it was entrepreneurship without the hard work.” – Jake Stein, RJ Metrics
“The rise of entrepreneurship [in recent years] has meant people want to do startups for the wrong reasons.” – Apu Gupta, Curalate
“I want to be a successful tech company, not a successful Philly tech company.” -Stein
On the chalkboard of the auditorium was written a message that has become something of a calling card for the young organizers — “There has never been a better time to be a doer in the city of Philadelphia” — which, agree or not, speaks to what is motivating the group.
Dias Gotama, an information technologies system student at Drexel University and cofounder of nvigor explained why the summit was important for young entrepreneurs to understand the growth of Philadelphia’s entrepreneurial scene.
“We just want to highlight what we have in Philadelphia right now because a lot of students are unaware of it,” Gotama said. “We’re hoping those who signed up for the summit today will see how many successful and great startups there are here and how many of us are same-minded.”
Gotama said that between the major universities in the city and other colleges in Pennsylvania, there are many young and successful entrepreneurs and this is the best time to pursue ventures and ideas.
Not all who were interested in entrepreneurship at the event were of business background. The summit welcomed students from multiple fields of study.
Kevin Lu, 19, a nursing student at Drexel, showed interest in attending the summit to receive more entrepreneurial insight.
“I want to own my own nursing company in the future,” Lu said. “I thought the summit was a perfect opportunity to come meet people, listen to people who have gone through beginning entrepreneurial stages. I want to further improve myself and improve my understanding and just gain a lot of experience.”
Among the sessions was one focused on student startup efforts.
Attendees took part in an open discussion panel with Dan Shipper and Patrick Leahy, the co-founders of Firefly, Alex Rattray of Emerald Exam, Isaac Sukin from the Dorm Room Fund team, Pratham Mittal and Randy Rayess of VenturePact and Deepa Ghandi, co-founder of Dagne Dover Handbags. The panel provided the audience with brief backgrounds and then they opened the floor to questions. They talked about successes, failures and the drive necessary to achieve their ventures and startups as young entrepreneurs. It was a student-run conversation.
The afternoon continued with talks from other successful Philadelphia entrepreneurs and breakout workshops. The purpose of the summit was not for attendees to learn everything about entrepreneurship. It was for attendees to understand that Philadelphia is churning with ideas and ventures and that those with ideas should become involved.
Gotama plans to make Philly Student Startup Summit 1.0 an annual event so young entrepreneurs can continually connect, share ideas and build relationships within the growing tech and business community.