Exploring Entrepreneurship

By Ain CFE Staff
Wondering if entrepreneurship is your thing?
Curious about the innovation process?
Interested in learning more, but hesitant to jump head-first into an Ain Center event?

No worries.
We are here to help you try activities outside your comfort zone and to introduce you to a new community that can challenge your perspective and encourage creative thinking. Here we have pulled together a list of ten articles about entrepreneurship and innovation, all hand-picked to inspire interest and excitement. As you read through the pieces, you will learn about the characteristics and facets of entrepreneurship. The first four showcase recent University of Rochester entrepreneurs, while the rest put them in context of the broader enterprising community. Select just one that stands out, or take them all in – we simply want to give you a glimpse of how awesome entrepreneurship can be.

Team Meliora: Turning Trash Into Homes

UR Admissions Team (U of R)

Read Time: 3 minutes

Class of 2017 members Edgar Alaniz, Carlos “Yuki” Gonzalez, Ibrahim Mohammad, and Omar Soufan are featured in this U of R publication. This team’s goal to aid refugees across the globe inspired their business plan: build homes for displaced peoples, using LEGO-style bricks made from recycled plastic. After tying for the top prize in the 2017 Mark Ain Business Model Competition, they competed for $1M in the Hult Prize Competition – finishing among the top eight out of 50,000 entries worldwide.

From left: Ibrahim Mohammad ’17, Omar Soufan ’17, lecturer Michael Wohl, Carlos (Yuki) Gonzalez ’17, and Edgar Alaniz ’17. (University photo / Steve Dow)


Anis Kallel: “I want to make a difference” 

Jim Mandelaro (U of R)

Read Time: 2 minutes (plus a 1.5-minute video!)

Here, a recent alum discusses the ventures he worked on during his time at U of R. Kallel, who won the 2017 Charles and Janet Forbes Entrepreneurial Competition in May, is participating in the current e5 (formerly KEY) year – an extra tuition-free year that allows students to pursue an entrepreneurial project.


Oasis Foods: Not Your Average Startup 

Sarah Spoto (The Gibbson Girl)

Read Time: 4 minutes

Social entrepreneurship is growing, as evidenced by the variety of culture-conscious projects coming out of U of R. This one, Oasis Foods (formed by ’17 MBA grads Kat Cook, Fahria Omar, and Sarah Spoto), provides healthy meals to communities in need. Created during a course at the University, Oasis shows how projects can take on new life outside of the classroom.


This virtual reality company just moved to Seattle because it’s the ‘center of everything gaming and VR’

Nat Levy (GeekWire)

Read Time: 3 minutes

Alums Morgan Sinko ’16, Jordan Brooks ’16, and Lucian Copeland ’16 founded NullSpace VR (now Hardlight VR) during their time at the University of Rochester. Their passion for virtual reality recently led them to Seattle – this article explains their journey to the west coast from the U of R and provides an overview of their feature product.


Free Yourself of Your Harshest Critic, and Plow Ahead

Carl Richards (New York Times)

Read Time: 4 minutes

Carl Richards begins this piece by firing you as your own worst critic. Sounds a little funny, right? As he goes on, he argues how important trusting your work is, as well as allowing others the opportunity to decide what works and what doesn’t. Try your best and be a little fearless – in entrepreneurship, this advice is key.


Meet the World’s First Radically Generous Communities

Vicki Saunders (SheEO)

Read Time: 4 minutes

Celebrating and encouraging female entrepreneurs is as important as ever. In this article, Vicki Saunders explains the “Act of Radical Generosity,” created to assist women innovators with financial support. Already taking place on the west coast of the US, the leaders of this initiative plan to expand around the globe.

A peek inside the Student Incubator at High Tech Rochester, a space where students gain resources and training to run a successful venture.


How to turn small talk into smart conversation

Chris Colin and Rob Baedeker (TED Ideas)

Read Time: 3 minutes

Not focused on “entrepreneurship,” exactly, but these tips can help anyone become a better conversationalist. Entrepreneurs have to be able to share their ideas with a variety of audiences – this article is sort of a cheat sheet for engaging with others, even in usually-awkward situations.


 Top 5 Trends for Marketers and Entrepreneurs in 2018

Billee Howard (Forbes)

Read Time: 5 minutes

2017 was certainly a year of change. Looking to the year ahead, author Billee Howard lays out a few things that entrepreneurs should keep in mind as we move forward. Given top priority on the list? Embracing self-reflection and harnessing the ability to ask the tough questions, even when you may just want to plow ahead. Innovative ideas are wonderful, but they need serious thought to make an impact.


10 Tough-but-Essential Questions That Will Set You Up for Success in 2018 

Jessica Stillman (Inc.)

Read Time: 6 minutes

The article above stresses thoughtfulness. In this piece, Jessica Stillman offers a list of ten heavy, but insightful questions for anyone looking to make a change in 2018. Though these may seem a bit far-off if you are still a student, long-term thinking can guide you down the right path.


15 Signs You’re an Entrepreneur

Marcia Layton Turner (Entrepreneur)

Read Time: 8 minutes

For many years, critics have wondered if entrepreneurship can be taught. The author uses this list of traits to point out that, while some of these characteristics are innate, most are teachable and can become habits over time.

Ready to get to work? Find our information below!

Now that your interest is piqued, come visit us in the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship (1-211 Carol Simon Hall), send us an email (AinCFE@rochester.edu), or give us a call (585-276-3500). We offer a variety of services that help with each stage of interest: envisioning your project, exploring options, building solid framework, and launching your venture. We can’t wait to help you move forward.