By: Katherine Zmoda and co-authored by Tchuissi Mbu Nyamsi
Not every student that participates in the activities at the Entrepreneurship Lab will necessarily go on to create their own business. Many students, in fact, find that by developing an entrepreneurial mindset, they can be more successful in whatever career path they choose, and in any industry they work. The Entrepreneurship Lab aims to provide a solid foundation to hone your critical thinking, communication, creative problem-solving, and professional skills.
The Lab for Entrepreneurship and Transformative Leadership at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) was created to provide resources and mentorship to students, empower local entrepreneurs, and support emerging startups in Montgomery County.
To showcase how students at USG have benefitted from the Entrepreneurship Lab since its inception in 2020, we asked three students to share their own experiences with the activities offered by the lab:
Camelia participated in our Social Innovation Hackathon and is now enrolled in IDEA430: Creating Your Own Venture, a 3-credit course led by Lab Director Marc Steren.
“All the activities helped me to build a team spirit, as I typically like to work alone. I really enjoyed working in teams and I was able to collaborate and learn from others…I was able to further develop my communication skills through the final presentations during this [Social Innovation Hackathon] competition,” said Khansari.
As someone who often prefers to work alone, the Hackathon helped Khansari improve her collaboration and public speaking skills — both of which are very critical for any educational and professional setting.
Tim was a student in IDEA430 last year. During the class, he founded his non-profit organization called Malagasy in the U.S.A. (MUSA), which serves to promote the Malagasy culture, their talents and projects. Tim was later accepted to the Equity Incubator where he won $1,000.
“Before my connection with the lab I hadn’t really had any entrepreneurship experiences,” Andrianarison remarked. “When I took IDEA430 I was able to help co-found a non-profit called MUSA where our goal is to connect and empower Malagasy community here in the United States and all around the world.”
Andrianarison hopes that this entrepreneurial experience will prepare him for launching his own financial advising firm for underrepresented minorities in the future. “I really plan to use these entrepreneurial aspects for the rest of my life,” said Andrianarison.
Francisco participated in the Social Innovation Hackathon and has sought guidance from Marc Steren during the open office hours every Tuesday at the lab. His experience with the lab helped him gain a different perspective that proved to be beneficial in his current job.
“My participation at the lab changed how I approach problems and solutions. I was able to see things through a different lens and it really prepared me for my current job, where I’m an IT project manager. Having a business mentality is critical for thinking through how to improve business processes and knowing how to measure impacts that affect costs.” said Cartegena.
Entrepreneurial skills can be applied to any career path or field of study and are highly sought after by employers. Even if you do not plan to create your own business, developing your entrepreneurial mindset can set you apart from others in the job market.
Programs and activities at the Lab for Entrepreneurship and Transformative Leadership are open to students from any academic program. Please stop by to check out our space in the Biomedical Sciences and Engineering building (Building IV), Room 3137 and learn more about our offerings! You can also visit our webpage to learn more.