Throughout 2016, we worked hard to build upon offerings from previous years and focussed on providing more support to student ventures, diversifying programming to cater to the entire Brown community, and collaborating with universities beyond of College Hill. We are proud to share with you a brief recap of some events and updates from the past year.
We organized our second iteration of the wildly successful Startup@Brown conference in October. This year, we also emphasized student ventures and matched 12 student startups with industry leaders for 1:1 meetings. Over 300 students came to learn about startups and their stories, and left with a new
perspective and their next summer internship or full-time job. The companies in attendance included Casper, Pinterest, Coursera, Andreesseen Horowitz, and Techstars. Last year 37% of students who attended got job offers at companies and we expect similar results this year.
This year, we launched our new Startup Resources team that is focused on doing bottom up research by meeting with all of Brown’s students startups in order to tailor resources and events for these ventures. The team has met with over 30 student startups, and organizes a series of office hours that advise students on everything from legal matters to marketing. One of our mentors helped Xperii, Brown startup, get a partnership with CVS! This spring we will be hosting a Student Startup Event where students can get job opportunities on campus.
This year, our Community team began "The Parlor"- a weekly gathering of entrepreneurs and intellectuals dedicated to developing ideas and workshopping startups of any level. It is a space devoted to promoting academic crossover to allow students from different backgrounds and disciplines to learn from one another and build together.
This semester the tech team built the following to revamp the current Innovate on the Hill website. The team is also working on finishing up a website that aggregates different educational resources for entrepreneurs. You can see the demo for this in the video. Next semester they will be building a bot to help guide students to resources and a job board for entrepreneurial opportunities and to foster collaboration.
Over the past three years, many of Brown's most interesting student-driven initiatives were conceived and/or refined in the Innovation Dojo — EP’s semester long introduction to entrepreneurship for underclassmen. From social enterprises (Tink Knit) to entrepreneurial experiments (the Faunce Underground) to actual physical products (a reimagined fitted sheet), the students in Dojo work to solve problems on College Hill and beyond.
This year, Dojo has continued to be one of our most successful and most coveted programs — we usually get around 80 applications for 16 spots. They have begun to expand their programming and opened some of their sessions to the public. One such event was their chat with Co-founder of Venmo focussed on the creative process that lay the groundwork for a successful business model- which drew a crowd that over-filled the auditorium.
In April, we collaborated with 7 other Rhode Island universities to organize the first ChangeFest — a one-day social “changeathon” focused on solving campus climate issues. The projects students worked on ranged
from a free speech-facilitating website, an accessibility app, to an innovative recycling system. We are planning to organize this successful event again in Spring 2018.
Over this past year, Lady Launchers- our team focussed on empowering female entrepreneurs- has expanded their programming. Throughout the year they have organized dinners with female entrepreneurs, and a screening of the documentary She Started It.
WE@Brown- a conference centered around women in entrepreneurship. The intercollegiate conference will take place on March 4th with alumna Melanie Whelan, CEO of Soulcycle as the headline speaker and 10 other female entrepreneurs lined up to lead workshops.
MARKETING AND DESIGN
Our marketing team worked on a video series to showcase student startups and the experiences of student founders on Brown’s campus. Check out one of the videos here. We’ve also continued our newsletter- The Weekly Fix- meant to give the Brown community their weekly updates about entrepreneurial opportunities and events on campus and to share interesting startup news and videos.
Our Synapse trips are provide the opportunity for Brown and RISD students to learn about the startup scene in different cities and provide a platform for students to form a community surrounding entrepreneurship. This year, we’ve run iterations of our Synapse trips in San Francisco, Boston, New York, and Providence. We’ve been hosted by alumni at companies such as MongoDB, Squarespace, GoPro, Google, Venture For America, Bessemer Venture Partners, and many more.