On Friday, October 3, Olin MBA students gathered for the Entrepreneurship Platform Summit. The summit was designed as an introduction for students interested in learning more about the thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem that has emerged in the St. Louis region.
Cliff Holekamp, Director of the Entrepreneurship Platform at the Olin Business School, commented that “the purpose of the Entrepreneurship Platform Summit is to showcase the various career paths for students who study entrepreneurship. Founding a startup is only one of the many possibilities.”
Throughout the day, students heard from representatives from business accelerators, founders of startups, venture capital investment professionals, and managers who employ an entrepreneurial mindset within larger companies. The keynote speaker was David Karandish, CEO of Answers.com, a St. Louis based company that began in a WashU dorm room.
The panelists, many of whom graduated from Washington University, shared their personal successes and struggles with an enthusiastic group of students. The energy in the room was palpable as entrepreneurship professionals offered advice for the many students hoping to follow in their footsteps.
The summit is one of many ways Olin MBA students engage in entrepreneurship activities. Students can take foundational Entrepreneurship courses, pursue either the Commercial Entrepreneurship or Social Entrepreneurship Platform, and gain experience consulting for young enterprises through the Olin Center for Experiential Learning’s Entrepreneurial Consulting Team. Students also have the opportunity to work closely with the Washington University Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, a cross-campus initiative which connects student entrepreneurs and innovators.
The next opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs is the Olin Entrepreneurship Trek on October 24. Students will spend the day in downtown St. Louis, visiting co-working spaces including Cortex, Cambridge Innovation Center, Nebula, and T-Rex. The day will culminate in a reception where students can connect with local entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.
Photo: Jennifer Ehlan, Vice President at Thompson Street Capital Partners, speaks about founding Prosper Women Entrepreneurs, a business accelerator created to address the entrepreneur gender gap in St. Louis.