Sweetgreen founders kick off Startup Weekend, Startup Hoyas engage with student entrepreneurship

October 5, 2015

Photo: Startup Hoyas

Startup Hoyas, a student club designed to promote entrepreneurship on campus, held Georgetown Entrepreneurship Day on Oct. 2 to launch its Startup Weekend. Startup Weekend is the organization’s first event for the semester and serves as a kick off for their other programming throughout the rest of the year.

Two of the entrepreneurs who shared their stories were Nathaniel Ru (MSB ’07) and Nicolas Jammet (MSB ’07), co-founders of the salad restaurant Sweetgreen. The duo discussed their journeys as entrepreneurs and the lessons they learned as they developed their business.

Sharing some of the lessons from his story, Jammet said “I think that if you look at the most successful entrepreneurs, they’re the ones that understand that there is a journey and that your job will change as your business changes.”

The event started with a roundtable lunch in which groups of students conversed with experts in the field of entrepreneurship. Following lunch, a series of speakers including several alumni, entrepreneurs, and a professor, discussed their own personal experiences in entrepreneurship.

“I love learning people’s stories and kind of hearing where they came from and how they got there,” said Beatrice Fabris (COL ’16), co-president of Startup Hoyas. “I find that for me personally that that’s the best way to be inspired, and you’ll definitely find that at Entrepreneurship Day.”

According to Meredith Cheney (COL ’16), also co-president of Startup Hoyas, Georgetown is not a very entrepreneurship-minded campus, but Startup Hoyas, through their initiatives including Georgetown Entrepreneurship Day, seeks to change that by supporting students who may want to engage in entrepreneurship but feel lost in the process.

According to Jeff Reid, director of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative, Georgetown Entrepreneurship Day is several years old, but this year is only the second year in which organizers have combined the annual event with Startup Weekend.

Startup Weekend itself is a 54-hour long event that Fabris called a “hackathon for entrepreneurs” during which, according to Cheney, participants go through all the steps of creating their own companies.

“It’s been going on for a couple of years now, but the thing that’s really cool is that each year the speaker’s that come on board just get better and better,” said Fabris.

According to Reid, Startup Weekend gives students the opportunity to team up and go through all the steps in the entrepreneurial process.

“It’s a chance for students to form teams, to work on ideas, and within that very short timeframe, you learn a ton about the startup process and you come out with a new group of friends, a lot of new knowledge and skills, and maybe you even have a startup as well,” said Reid.

According to Cheney, Startup Weekend is just the first event of many for Startup Hoyas throughout the year. Some of the future programming includes pitch competitions and a speaker series on technology along with a summer incubator and Entrepreneurs-in-Residence who guide students through the startup process.

Reid is optimistic about the future of Startup Hoyas and of entrepreneurship on campus. Through possible additions, such as the creation of an incubator space on campus and the establishment of an entrepreneurship minor, Reid envisions a “huge opportunity” for the growth of entrepreneurship on campus.

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this is great