The Entrepreneurship Alliance at the Trulaske College of Business nurtures student entrepreneurs and provides a supportive network of alumni, stakeholders, mentors and community members. This program is designed to help these creative, entrepreneurial students build confidence, leadership skills and a go-getting mindset. Many of its members participate in the Columbia Startup Weekend each year, which brings the local entrepreneurial community together to pitch business ideas and launch ventures in just 54 hours.
Written by Brionna Pratt, a senior in political science and economics
Last semester, I got involved in the Entrepreneurship Alliance program, and it has since opened up so many opportunities for me and challenged me in so many ways. I love getting to network with entrepreneurs, and just hearing about their journeys is so inspiring.
I learned about Startup Weekend through the Entrepreneurship Alliance, and participating in it was one of the best learning experiences I’ve ever had. I got the chance to network and connect with so many amazing innovators and entrepreneurs, and it was incredible to see the products people created within just 48 hours. Things that usually take years to develop, some teams built in a weekend.
My teammates and I became great friends over the course of the weekend and we learned so much from one another. Our startup, Fashion Forward, is a subscription-based online thrifting company that collects unwanted items and repurposes them. We were able to create a company from scratch with everyone's ideas taken into consideration, and I think that was the greatest joy of the entire experience. I can’t wait until the next Startup Weekend!
Written by Nicholas Swoboda, a senior in finance - banking and real estate
I went into Startup Weekend thinking I would just join a team and help them develop their idea throughout the weekend. But after watching others pitch, my inner competitive drive started heating up. I pitched an idea of my own and an hour later I had 11 teammates ready to bring this lukewarm idea to life. “Stock Squad” became the official title of our venture, and it aimed to bring the competitive fantasy sports model to the stock market.
The whole weekend offered so much more than I could have ever imagined. After more than 20 hours of work, my team developed a business plan, a get-to-market strategy and live demo. In the end, we weren’t chosen for any awards, but I’ll never forget the experience.
I pitched a fledgling business idea and I’m really glad I did. Dr. Greg Bier, the director of the Entrepreneurship Alliance, taught me to be more comfortable in uncomfortable or nerve-racking situations, and my experience at Startup Weekend left me feeling prepared for future challenges that require me to think on my feet.