By Jonathan Qu, V Form
It is well known to St. Marker’s that clubs here usually meet once or twice a year and then die out. This is not to say that all clubs cease to meet, but maybe 77% of clubs are categorize by this stereotype. Luckily, the Entrepreneurship Club is part of the other 23%. Up till now, Logan Kelly and I have had the duty to plan at least two meetings per month. So far, our main goal, to meet regularly, has been achieved; the next step for us is to set up a Shark Tank simulation. In ABC’s series Shark Tank, aspiring entrepreneurs stand before a panel of astute businesspeople who then listen to the entrepreneurs’ solution to problems and decide whether or not they are worthy of getting investments. For our SM club, we plan on switching out the judges with our very own faculty. Although this milestone Shark Tank experience is still a ways off, we definitely look forward to incorporating this idea in the future.
What does it mean to be an entrepreneur? And how does one become a successful entrepreneur? These were the first things I asked the elite group of motivated students that were driven enough to attend the first meeting. To align with the technological theme of the Gray Colloquiums, we utilized a polling site to find the answers to these questions. These answers spread across the spectrum from someone who is “a leader” to someone “who starts and runs a business to make $$$$$.” The Entrepreneurship Club strives to widen the minds of St. Markers to think like a person who wants “to make $$$$$,” be it through the creation of a product or a service. Using these concepts, Logan Kelly and I decided to start this club in order not only to learn more about being entrepreneurs, but also to help others achieve their goals as well.
During the summer of 2013, I was inspired to attend an “Entrepreneurship Camp” in order to become a prospective CEO of a huge conglomerate corporation in the future. Though this camp was only a week long, I came home with a notebook full of new information that gave me guidelines to think like a CEO. We studied the works of corporate giants such as Walmart and Apple to look at things that gave them the upper edge. The camp not only taught me to think in quirky ways, but also taught me that networking is the key to success. The old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” speaks to the importance of networking.
So, what do we do in our Entrepreneurship Club meetings? For the first couple of meetings, we discussed ways in which we could make money or create solutions to problems. We came to the drawing board to write up problems that needed to be addressed locally and globally. We finally settled down upon local problems here at St. Mark’s. One problem we assessed dealt with creating some sort of electronic application that could connect St. Markers to other prep schools; this idea is currently being envisioned through Sarah Marino-Babcock and Abi Smith’s independent project. In the beginning, we had planned to emulate the Shark Tank set-up; however, due to the lack of participants, we were unable to continue with this plan. Simply meeting together and talking over situations was not going to help our cause. Yet, we did not give up! To further influence and educate our minds, we had Babson representatives come and talk to us about the processes of being an entrepreneur. Since Babson College is credited as the number one undergraduate college in entrepreneurship, it was more than fitting to have them inspire us in ideas and techniques about becoming successful entrepreneurs.
The Entrepreneurship Club is only just starting! In the near future, we have planned to invite additional speakers to inspire us to think more like CEOs. One of our main goals for the future is to be able to actually host a Shark Tank style panel where we have an assortment of faculty that are willing to listen and grade the ideas that students present. Next year, to further our theme of innovation, we have looked into inviting Ms. Madge Meyer, the former Executive VP of State Street. In her book The Innovator’s Path, she explains eight disciplines recommended to instill innovation. Among one of her many adages, she reminds us that, “the best is yet to come.” Hopefully, we may see new faces next year and crown a winner in the St. Mark’s Entrepreneurship Competition…I mean who wouldn’t want that accolade—it does sound pretty impressive!