From Stanford University in California to Florida State University on the East Coast, colleges and universities across the United States are increasingly creating courses, majors, and departments that teach students how to become more entrepreneurial.
Jeff Reid and Alyssa Lovegrove are leading this effort at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
Reid is the founding director of the Georgetown University Entrepreneurship Initiative, an entrepreneurial program he runs alongside Lovegrove, its associate director. Operating under the banner of Startup Hoyas, the initiative provides support to student entrepreneurs, offering classes, mentoring, and networking opportunities both on campus and off campus through partners like 1776, Washington, D.C.’s premier startup and co-working space.
This past summer, nearly 30 budding student entrepreneurs participated in the Startup Hoyas Summer Launch Program, a highly selective, 2-month incubator organized by the Entrepreneurship Initiative.
Open to current Georgetown students and recent graduates, the Summer Launch Program provides on-campus working space and offers mentorship and focused networking opportunities for promising startups.
At the conclusion of this year’s program, the student entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to pitch their business ideas—which ranged from ice cream made with liquid nitrogen to a professional network specifically geared toward veterans and employers seeking to hire them—to notable members of the startup and business communities at 1776.
With Startup Hoyas attracting more and more interest from undergraduate and graduate students alike, Reid and Lovegrove are continuing to hone the program to ensure students gain actual insight into what it’s really like to start and grow a business. They’re also working, Reid says, to debunk many of the myths that still persist about entrepreneurs—that, for instance, you’re either born an entrepreneur or you’re not.
“I believe it’s not an either-or,” he says, “that somebody is born an entrepreneur or they’re not. I think it’s more like athletic talent or musical ability: There’s a continuum, and people lie somewhere on that continuum.”