Northeastern’s entrepreneurial community is growing rapidly. There is a lot of opportunity to network, get pointers from folks who know more than you, and meet some co-founders for your startup. By joining a few of the entrepreneurial clubs, chances are you’ll be on your way to bringing your dream business to life, but it still can’t hurt to make some friends in high places.
Here are nine faces in Northeastern entrepreneurship you must know:
Dennis Shaughnessy is an Executive Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Northeastern. He is also the founder of the Social Enterprise Institute and the recipient of the 2005-2006 College of Business Administration Professor of the Year Award. Professor Shaughnessy teaches a broad spectrum of classes including Business Planning, Small Business Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Social Enterprise. With one of his latest publications expected to appear in the International Review of Entrepreneurship, we can tell Shaughnessy knows what he’s talking about. If you want to be an entrepreneur, here’s one guy you must meet.
2. Gordon K. Adomdza
Gordon K. Adomdza is an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Northeastern. He is the Faculty Advisor of the Northeastern Entrepreneurs Club and he’s given an incredible amount of presentations; The Northeastern site cites 13, but only as “Selected Presentations,” meaning he’s probably given a lot more. In addition, he co-wrote an essay titled “Inventor Perseverance after Being Told to Quit: The Role of Cognitive Biases,” and we choose to believe this means someone in his life might have been dumb enough to tell him to quit. Little did they know, they were only aiding him in becoming an entrepreneurial superman.
Dan Gregory is the Director of the Digital Media I-cubator at NU and the co-founder of Turnstone Publishing Group. As the Director of the Online I-cubator (OIC), he basically runs the entire scene. If you were wondering, the OIC is a system meant to advance students’ understanding of entrepreneurship. It utilizes four different stages of business practices: “Opportunity assessment, project planning, product requirements and customer validation.” Students work in venture teams to develop their ideas, and they are expected to formally pitch programs at the end of the OIC. Sounds like quite a way to start a business!
4. Ashkan Afkhami
Ashkan Afkhami is literally who they are talking about when they say “Renaissance Man.” Although he has already graduated from NU, he spent his time as an undergraduate basically doing everything the school has to offer. He was actively involved in the College of Business Administration Alumni Advisory Committee, the Peer Mentoring program, ResLife, the Management Information System Club, the Finance and Accounting Club, the Entrepreneurs Club, the NU Men’s Club Soccer Team, and the NU Freshman Crew Team. Oh, and by the way, he founded IDEA, Northeastern’s Venture Accelerator. Afkami was named the 2009 Most Influential Senior for not only joining every club known to mankind, but for graduating with high honors at the top of his class. He recently graduated with a Masters in Technological Entrepreneurship at NU. If you need any advice about achieving, Ashkan seems like the guy to ask.
Michael Hans is the CEO of IDEA, the Northeastern Venture Accelerator, and has served as the Treasurer of the Entrepreneurs Club. He also took part in the creation of the Northeastern Entrepreneurship Expo (NEXPO) with the help of Jack Wallace from IDEA. We were lucky enough to speak with Michael about his involvement in IDEA and he told us, “My role is to be the glue that connects everybody else. We have about 15 coaches, 10 people on our management team, almost 60 different ventures that we’ve worked with over the course of the last year. There are a lot of pieces, so a lot of what I do is coordinate all those different pieces.” More to come about IDEA, but for now Michael is on our list of people to know!
6. Tom Moore
Once a Husky, always a Husky! Tom Moore is the Dean of the Northeastern College of Business Administration. He earned his MBA at Northeastern, and although he received his PhD from, and served as the Vice President of Executive Education and Corporate Programs at Babson, as well as the Dean of the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson, he eventually returned to the NU College of Business Administration. Moore is internationally recognized for restructuring the business program at Babson, and if that isn’t innovative, we don’t know what is. What’s cool is that he works to advance entrepreneurship in the Northeastern community by providing students with the resources they need to succeed. And they are definitely grateful! Michael Hans told us, “IDEA would never have been able to succeed without his support.”
7-8 Dynamic Duo Aaron Gerry and Stephanie Filipek
Aaron Gerry is the President of Northeastern’s Entrepreneurs Club, and he takes his club’s motto, “Live your passion,” to heart. By heading the club and working as a Coach of IDEA, he has established himself as a Northeastern entrepreneurial guru. He and Stephanie Filipek, the Vice President of the Entrepreneurs Club, took some time to talk to us about their involvement in the student organization this year. Aaron told us, “We really set out to create a community around the club. It started out as a small group of really dedicated students, but it’s grown. We wanted to create a very safe environment where students could discuss crazy ideas and not have to worry about what people would say.” Check out the Entrepreneurs Club and grab a few pointers from Aaron and Stephanie!
9. Greg Skloot
Greg Skloot is another outstanding Husky. Like Stephanie and Aaron, he devotes his time to the Entrepreneurs Club. As current President-elect as well as the previous Director of the Husky I+ Challenge (HIC) of the club, you
would think he wouldn’t have much time for anything else. However, he’s also been working as the CEO and Co-Founder of Armonk Web Solutions, an IT business he created in high school. Perhaps a little more advanced now, Armonk Web Solutions designs websites for companies across the nation with the tagline, “We focus on clean, sleek, and professional website designs.” Incredible? We think so. And so do the customers. Neil from Ariel Aviation is quoted on the Armonk Web Solutions site. “Working with Greg on our web site was and continues to be a pleasure. He is totally responsive to our needs and is able to grasp concepts and make them come to life. Our web site hits the tone, look and feel we were targeting.”
It’s great to see that the Northeastern entrepreneurial community has come a long way, and that it is still growing. If you have any interest in starting your own business, you’re surrounded by the right kind of people. These are nine folks you need to know, so get to it!
Who else is a leader in Northeastern entrepreneurship?