As the need for entrepreneurial education has grown over the past few years, Georgetown has remained at the forefront of the movement with its Entrepreneurship Initiative, under the banner of Startup Hoyas.
Founded by Jeff Reid, an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship in the McDonough School of Business, Startup Hoyas offers a plethora of opportunities for students to engage in entrepreneurship on campus and in the greater Washington, D.C. area. With the Entrepreneurship Fellows, the Entrepreneurs in Residence and Startup Hoyas Summer Launch programs, the initiative aims to inspire, teach, connect and launch students into the world of startups.
Although many believe entrepreneurship is an enigmatic skill that is assumed to be innate and cannot be learned, Reid disagrees.
“We offer a set of courses and extracurricular activities with a practical slant to entrepreneurship. Students play the role of an entrepreneur, practice pitching ideas and intern at local startups through our Fellows Program,” Reid said. “Entrepreneurship is a process that can be taught, it is not a magical black box. Through customer discovery and experiments to test assumptions, we teach students that entrepreneurship is less about the idea and more about the execution.”
The program gives aspiring entrepreneurs space from the typical Georgetown bustle to focus on their goal and how to successfully approach it.
Cindy Gao (SFS ’17), one of Reid’s assistants for the Initiative’s Startup Weekend, explained the benefits of the Entrepreneurship Fellows Program:
“One of my friends in the program recently made her own startup called Misfit Juicery,” Gao said. “After reflecting about her idea in the Fellows Program she used the resources at hand to get it off the ground.”
The initiative’s cornerstone ideas of inspire, teach, connect and launch are directly tied to the Georgetown community and the opportunities that it provides. Capitalizing on the university’s Jesuit heritage and global perspective, the initiative inspires and encourages students to use entrepreneurship as a drive for economic prosperity and sustainable social change.
Offering courses in the McDonough School of Business, the Walsh School of Foreign Service and the Georgetown University Law Center, Startup Hoyas offers students a world-class entrepreneurial education in the classroom and out. The Entrepreneurs in Residence program allows students to meet and network with accomplished entrepreneurs through weekly “chalk talks,” where students can talk about entrepreneurship, monthly “Pitch Jack” expert panels, guest speakers and entrepreneurial competitions.
Benefitting from Georgetown’s prime location and D.C.’s vibrant entrepreneurial community, the Entrepreneurship Initiative connects students to opportunities across all sectors, including private corporations, nonprofits, NGOs and new startups.
The Initiative launches entrepreneurially educated Hoyas into the world who are ready to serve as agents of change as they launch startups, advance large corporations and generate innovations. Recent alumni, who have been successful in their ventures, offer feedback in order to adapt the program for the next group of students.
“Georgetown students are bright and they want to change the world, and that is the recipe for entrepreneurship. We take these smart, ambitious young people and give them the tools to change the world,” Reid said.
Startup Hoyas will be hosting a variety of events beginning Sept. 19, including Startup Weekend, Georgetown Entrepreneurship Day and TechBUZZ Georgetown. The next speaker event will be on Sept. 26 featuring John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and the weekly “chalk talks” occur every Wednesday at 5 p.m. in room 310 of the Hariri building.