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StartupX at Colgate

By Mary Galvez on January 29, 2013

On October 21 and 22, 2012, 25 Colgate students along with eight students from Hamilton College participated in a workshop called StartupX, a two-day crash course on high growth entrepreneurship and social innovation. The workshop was sponsored by Thought Into Action (TIA), the Center for Outreach, Volunteerism and Education (COVE), and the Robert A. Fox ’59 Leadership Institute. Danish entrepreneur and founder of the StartupExperience, Henrik Scheel, has hosted several dozen of these workshops across the world, educating hundreds of teachers, professionals, and students from Ireland to India. Have a look at this video of the event.


Shav and Mentos – Colgate University TIA project

By Mary Galvez on January 21, 2013

Fate – the cause, force, principle, or divine will that predetermines events. In that case, fate is what brought Keshav Garg and Aaron Mentos together in the fall of 2011. Like most first-years at Colgate, they were randomly selected as roommates, assigned to Room 411, Curtis Hall. They soon discovered that not only did they both play multiple instruments, but were also vocalists. At that very first meeting, they formed their band, Shav & Mentos, and started creating music. That night they co-wrote Carelessly over an acoustic guitar. With a lot of hard work since then, Shav & Mentos have created a 5 song album titled The Circus Room. The duo have taken responsibility for every aspect of the music presented in Circus Room, including the writing, instrumental performances, lyrics, production, even the mixing of the music. According to a review by Dante Scott of Wat’s Nex.com, “On The Circus Room EP, Shav and Mentos have managed to fuse live instruments, hip hop, smooth vocals and excellent lyrical flow to create a surprisingly good preview of their talents. This is a solid release by this college duo. If they continue at this level, college may soon become an afterthought for this twosome.”Cover of Circus Room

While some may not see creating a band and making music as an entrepreneurial activity, Aaron and Keshav saw participation in the Thought Into Action Institute as an opportunity to help them promote themselves and their music. According to Keshav, “The mentors of TIA have been helpful in guiding the ideas we have for our project. They are also working on putting us in touch with people that can help us get the resources we need to maintain a high level of quality with our music. Going forward we hope to work on gaining more exposure and media for the music that we put out.” A few of the mentors who have worked with Shav & Mentos are Tim O’Neill, Jason Finder, and John Nozell and they have all helped them in finding their brand and furthering their understanding of their project. So far, the biggest challenge they face “is getting the resources to produce music at the quality we want. We write, produce, and perform all of our own music and it takes time for us to go through all these processes. At the same time, this challenge has brought us the reward of having full control of the creativity of our music and has allowed us to create music that truly encompasses who we are.”

The duo plans on releasing their 10 song album this semester. They will work on media (music videos and pictures) as well as the music side of things in order to gain more exposure. Their hope is to make ‘Shav and Mentos’ a full time job in the future. Hopefully, that will be after their graduation from Colgate!

Check us out at Facebook.com/shavandmentos!

Shav (Keshav Garg) was born in New Delhi, India, and has lived in India, Malaysia, and Singapore, and now lives in Scarsdale, New York. His plan is to major in Economics at Colgate going forward. Shav plays the guitar and sings in the group, “Shav and Mentos,” while co-writing and co-producing the music with Mentos.

Mentos (Aaron Mentos) is a dual citizen of the United States and St. Kitts. On top of music and school, Aaron is a member of the Colgate Division 1 soccer team and has played soccer his entire life. He plays bass and is the rapper of ”Shav and Mentos” and co-writes and co-produces the music.

Entrepreneurs and the liberal arts education

By Contributing Writer on January 21, 2013
Bob Chamberlain '74

Bob Chamberlain ’74

I am a Colgate graduate and currently a successful entrepreneur, and participate as a mentor in Colgate’s Thought Into Action (TIA) Institute. The TIA program at Colgate captured my imagination as a potential approach for someone with a long history of both success and failure in entrepreneurial activities to get engaged with students at the grass roots level and actually help to make a difference in their lives.

TIA is the kind of grass roots program that will allow those of us with experience, who would like to help, to go hands-on with students and open up a new vista of possibilities, while providing real world work perspective the students will not get from their normal classes, and helping TIA student participants to avoid the mistakes we made as entrepreneurs. I believe that TIA is a terrific opportunity for learning.

TIA recently posed the question to me – did the liberal arts education I received at Colgate contribute to my success as a business entrepreneur? Unfortunately, there is no easy, straightforward answer to this question. Reflecting on my Colgate experience, I was a horrible student. That might be too strong, but between all of my jobs and the fact that I had no idea what I might want to major in, getting motivated to study was a challenge for me.

I majored in Economics, because I couldn’t think of anything else I was particularly interested in. I then took as many courses outside of my major as I could manage, including the likes of geology, astronomy, physics, geography, calculus, and a few others. Probably the course that had the most impact on me was our freshman core course, Philosophy, Religion, and Drama, as it taught me to think, expand my horizons a bit, and perhaps most importantly, to write well. Professor Jerry Balmouth is one of the very few professors that I remember from my Colgate experience.

So, with that as background, did my Colgate liberal arts education provide me any advantages in becoming a successful entrepreneur? Perhaps. After graduation, I took the road less traveled, and in May of 1974, with the Vietnam war still going, I applied for, and was accepted into the Naval Aviation program, and was designated as a Naval Aviator in 1975. 3400 flight hours, and 327 carrier arrested landings later, I completed my aviation career. After my active duty period in the Navy, I worked for several years for the Lockheed Corporation, a very large company that bore many bureaucratic similarities to working for a large federal government organization. My first entrepreneurial experience was working for a small company based in Atlanta called Flight International.

I went on to try a series of start-up activities in defense consulting, the medical equipment business, tele-radiology, and ended up with my current company, Monterey Technologies, Inc. (MTI) doing human factors engineering, where most of my staff are Masters or Ph.D. level experimental psychologists, and we do things like functional requirements analysis, and user interface design for a variety of products and systems. Who would have guessed this is where I would end up upon graduating from Colgate?

This is a long way of saying that the Colgate liberal arts experience certainly did contribute to me becoming a successful entrepreneur. The Colgate experience makes you think, teaches you to write, and gives you the opportunity to try a wide variety of different courses and activities, and this helps you (hopefully) to begin to sort out what your interests are, and where you might like to go. Being an entrepreneur is not for everybody, but for those with the entrepreneurial personality, it is almost unthinkable to do anything else.

My encounter with the current TIA student participants indicates to me that Colgate has a rich crop of potential entrepreneurs. Colgate could have the next Steve Jobs, or the next Facebook business concept lurking within the student TIA participants. The TIA program has the potential to make that path to success easier for these students who just may have the next great idea.

Bob graduated from Colgate in 1974 and entered the US Navy, as a Naval Aviator flying off the USS John F. Kennedy. Bob did seven years of active duty, and 23 years as a Navy Reserve Officer, retiring as a Navy Captain. Bob has participated in a number of start-up companies, some successful, and some not. Bob merged a startup company with Monterey Technologies, Inc. in 1997. He is currently President of Monterey Technologies, Inc., a Human Factors Engineering Company, headquartered in Monterey, CA. Bob works in the local education community and participates in the Monterey County Business Council, assisting small businesses and entrepreneurs with turning good ideas into new businesses.