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Social Entrepreneurship: How I turned my thought into action with TIA by Amanda Brown ’15

By Contributing Writer on June 30, 2015
Amanda Brown ’15 (left) talks with a student at  Entrepreneur Weekend in April.

Amanda Brown ’15 (left) talks with a student at Entrepreneur Weekend in April.

Ten minutes.

That’s all it took to raise more than $30,000 for my fledgling non-profit organization, a U.S. branch of Children and Youth First.

That works out to about $50 a second.


Listen to Amanda talk about Life Vision Academy


The money will go toward building a new boarding school for 200 underprivileged children at the Life Vision Academy in Nepal, and it’s the direct result of the powerful Thought Into Action Entrepreneurship Institute (TIA) at Colgate University.

Specifically, this was a result of this year’s annual Entrepreneur Weekend on campus. E-Weekend, as it is fondly known, started at Colgate in 2012 when I was a first-year student. That year, our president hosted a Q & A session with Sir Richard Branson. In 2013, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg delivered a speech based on her book Lean In, and last year some of my friends and fellow students presented their startup ideas to an all-star panel that included Ashton Kutcher.

I’ve been a student-entrepreneur in TIA for only eight months. Participants spend one Saturday every month in group and individual workshops, learning from dozens of alumni and parent mentors who travel to Hamilton, N.Y. specifically to help us improve our elevator pitches, pitch decks, and business plans. Between those special Saturdays, we hold conference calls with our mentors and do a whole lot of going back to our respective drawing boards.

I was given the opportunity to conclude this year’s E-Weekend by pitching my venture on stage at a closing reception in the TIA incubator. I presented the pitch deck I developed at TIA, and I also showed a short video I’d put together with some of the Nepali children sending their messages of hope and thanks to the Colgate community.

As the video concluded, many in the audience were in tears. One alum raised his hand and pledged $10,000 if others would match it. Immediately, hands went up all over the room, sparking an impromptu fundraising firestorm. From the oldest alumni to the youngest undergraduates, audience members dug into their pockets. There have been entire years when Life Vision Academy didn’t see that much money. Raising so much in such a short amount of time left me speechless.

“I don’t think this could have happened at another school,” said Wills Hapworth, TIA’s alumni executive director.

That was all I could say after the event as well; this could not have happened without Colgate. Our network of alumni, parents, students, and faculty is unlike what other institutions can offer, and I would have never had the platform – or the skills and confidence – to share Life Vision Academy’s story with them if it weren’t for TIA.

The Colgate community has truly taken one undergrad’s idea and turned it into collective action. I have two favorite schools in the world, and to see the one in Hamilton, N.Y. unite like this with the one in Bhaktapur, Nepal has been unbelievable.

It’s amazing how much can change in 10 minutes.

Amanda Brown graduated this past spring with a major in Peace and Conflict Studies and a minor in Religion. She was one of the Colgate Entrepreneurs Fund winners and was awarded a $15,000 grant for her non-profit. Amanda will continue working with CYFUSA while pursuing a Masters degree in either education policy or human rights.


2015 Colgate Entrepreneurs Fund Winners

By Mary Galvez on June 23, 2015
L to R: Dave Meyers, Alex Drakos, Caroline Danehy, Amanda Brown, Wills Hapworth, Shav Garg, Raffi Khatchadourian, Adam Buys, Alex Relph

L to R: Dave Meyers, Alex Drakos, Caroline Danehy, Amanda Brown, Wills Hapworth, Shav Garg, Raffi Khatchadourian, Adam Buys, Alex Relph

Congratulations to the six teams who were chosen as winners of the Colgate Entrepreneurs Fund announced at this years Entrepreneur Weekend. The fund was established in 2013 to grow and advance the ventures of Colgate student and alumni entrepreneurs who are solving problems and demonstrating an ability to execute. The winners are:

 

brainstorm

Brainstorm Technologies – a wearable headset to improve learning using tDCS (Transcranial direct-current stimulation).

David Myers ’14 and Alex Drakos ’16


 

CYFUSAChildren and Youth First USA – a non-profit that works to protect young Nepalis’ right to education.

Amanda Brown ’15


 

echoEcho App – helps you and your friends decide what to do on any given night.

Adam Buys ’17 and Julian Mazza


 

Fair Harbor Clothing – an active lifestyle brand for simple living.fair harbor

Jake Danehy ’16 and Caroline Danehy ’19

 


 

indify Indify – aggregates relevant artist statistics in on easy to find place.

Keshav Garg ’15 and Raffi Khatchadourian ’17


 

Alex Relph ’09 and Sam Breslin ’09

 

 

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TIA blog series: TIA – My Experience by Ariel Sherry ’15

By Contributing Writer on June 23, 2015

 

Jessica Alba and Jennifer Hyman meet with the Colgate Women in Business group on the opening day of Entrepreneur Weekend

Jessica Alba and Jennifer Hyman meet with the Colgate Women in Business group on the opening day of Entrepreneur Weekend

This is a story about the Colgate community, gerontology, entrepreneurship, Jessica Alba, and a job interview in California with the CEO of a new start up.

As a first year student, I joined the Adopt-a-Grandparent COVE group and discovered a passion for working with seniors. I took Professor Meika Loe’s Sociology of the Lifecourse class, which is all about aging and it inspired me to take what I was learning in the classroom and use it to better the lives of seniors. Despite my eagerness to help elders, I didn’t know how to go about doing something to make a difference. That’s when Professor Loe encouraged me to apply for the Thought Into Action Entrepreneurship Institute.

I was hesitant because I didn’t understand how creating a business was going to help me with my mission to help seniors. Also, I didn’t consider myself an entrepreneur.

Since I only had a rough idea of helping seniors, I was intimidated and shy at the start of TIA. But I stuck with it and began to gain confidence. One of the key lessons TIA taught me was how to effectively present or pitch my venture. Pitching required the ability to clearly and succinctly tell people about the problem I was solving, and how I planned to solve it.

I became good enough that in April 2014, I was selected to pitch my venture at the first-ever Shark Tank event on Entrepreneur Weekend. I was able to stand in front of more than 2,000 people, including a superstar panel, and pitch my idea. The experience made me a more assured public speaker and it gave me so much confidence.

At Entrepreneur Weekend 2014, Ariel Sherry ‘15 presents to an all-star panel in a Shark Tank

At Entrepreneur Weekend 2014, Ariel Sherry ‘15 presents to an all-star panel in a Shark Tank

Which brings me back to Jessica Alba.

Days before Entrepreneur Weekend, a TIA mentor alerted me to an amazing new startup trying to reinvent in-home senior care. Jessica Alba is one of their investors.

I made it my mission to ask her to connect me with the company. During a Q and A session with Jessica Alba and Jenn Hyman, founder of Rent The Runway, I seized the opportunity to ask Alba about the company and told her I wanted a job there. She agreed to connect me with the CEO and founder, a good friend of her husband’s.

A few days later I heard from the CEO and he asked when I could come to California to meet for an interview. We met this weekend. I don’t know what will come of it, but what I do know is that none of this would have been possible without the confidence I gained from TIA.

I can say with certainty that of all the things I’ve been a part of on campus, TIA has been the program that best represents what it was that drew me to Colgate in the first place. I came to Colgate because people here have a strong sense of community. At TIA, students, alumni, community members, and faculty and staff come together to make amazing things happen.

Congratulations to Ariel Sherry ’15 who was named Salutatorian for the Colgate class of 2015. Ariel was active in TIA for 2 years where she created her venture Age Together. She was chosen to pitch in last year’s eWeekend Shark Tank where she walked away with $5000 for her venture. Ariel was a double major in Psychology and Religion. In addition to TIA, Ariel was a team leader of Adopt-a-Grandparent, vice-president of finance for Delta Delta Delta sorority, member of the Konosioni Senior Honor Society, and Luminaria Chair for Colleges Against Cancer. Ariel graduated Summa Cum Laude, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and received numerous other honors and awards during her four years at Colgate. Congratulations and best of luck Ariel!  

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