The Founders Circle “includes graduating seniors and recent alumni who significantly contributed to building the Blackstone LaunchPad since it opened in April 2016. Founders Circle members serve as alumni role models for future student entrepreneurs who exemplify a passion for innovation and entrepreneurship.” I am so humbled to be part of a group with so many amazing people, and so honored to be considered a role model passionate about innovation.
It was energizing to be in a room of so many amazing student entrepreneurs. Returning alumni entrepreneurs, the first “Founders Circle” members, bestowed tassels for graduation and were finally gifted tassels of their own.
Upon my arrival at SU’s Newhouse School last summer, my program was introduced to the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars, a student entrepreneur incubator space. We received a presentation by Director Linda Dickerson-Hartsock, and knew I’d be working with her in the LaunchPad throughout my time at SU.
My time at the LaunchPad has been fundamental to my growth this year, and a large part of that is based on the community of the space. The space helps entrepreneurs get to know each other on a deeper level, because we’re all on the same page — working ourselves over-time, open and straightforward with our needs and what we have to offer, asking questions, exploring ways to improve ourselves and our ventures — vulnerable. I’ve heard the idea that “all entrepreneurs are each other’s competition,” but it doesn’t quite make sense. Sure, entrepreneurs all have a common goal to succeed, but we all work in different sectors, have different skills, and make varied connections. It’s like saying “if everyone has a college degree, they’re worthless.” Of course they aren’t worthless — people study and gain expertise in a variety of areas, making each degree-holder a unique and valuable resource. Well, that’s the same thing for entrepreneurs, and many help each other and jump into projects.
Ultimately, we should all be pulling each other up, helping other entrepreneurs succeed; we should share our experience with others so they may grow. This is exactly what I’ve experienced at the LaunchPad, and I’m so happy to give this back to others, too.