MLP Travels to

Social E’ship Conference

By Sidhant Ahluwalia and Angela Zou

From February 10th to 11th, Meliora Launchpad (MLP) – one of the University’s undergraduate entrepreneurship organizations – attended the Harvard Social Enterprise Conference at Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School. Six of MLP’s eight executive board members (Sidhant Ahluwalia ’18, Sharfuz Shifat ’19, Sara Anis ’19, Marc Haddad ’21, Cherine Ghazouani ’21, and Angela Zou ’18) had the pleasure of attending this conference that garnered entrepreneurs from across America. The conference’s mission “to educate participants about Social Enterprise’s potential in solving the world’s most pressing problems and to inspire meaningful discussion around the key challenges with the field” focused on four pillars – build, scale, fund, and innovate.

Altogether, Meliora Launchpad members attended over twelve workshops and receptions with speakers from Google, McKinsey & Company, and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Workshops included Early-Stage Startup Funding: How to Land Your First Investment; Pitch Competition; Innovating Solutions in Emerging Markets; and Universal Basic Income: What Is It Good For? Marc Haddad, Public Relations Chair, stated, “I am someone who has a lot of ideas about what to do and how to be entrepreneurial, but I don’t know how to execute them. They told us the methods of how to successfully market the idea, how to go on with it and actually start executing.” He went on to say that at the University of Rochester, everyone has a vague idea about what entrepreneurship is, however they are not familiar with the right way to execute; this conference tackled all aspects of this. MLP’s Vice President, Sharfuz Shifat exclaimed, “It was an inspiring atmosphere, out of my usual bubble, in which I was able to dedicate my whole weekend for entrepreneurship. It opened my horizons to explore the various aspects of entrepreneurship.”

The members of Meliora Launchpad didn’t hold back on networking with panel speakers. During the conference, they also met with University of Rochester alums, Max Goodman ’12 and Alysha Alani ‘15 , who claimed that it was great to see the University and the Meliore Launchpad take such initiatives. MLP’s Marketing Chair Angela Zou said, “Even though the conference was themed for social enterprises, there was a takeaway for everyone”. Ahluwalia, who also serves as a campus ambassador for Venture Capital firm GroundUP ventures, claimed that he picked up on great tips for reviewing pitches and hopes to encourage students to learn more about public speaking and presenting ideas.

Moving forward, Meliora Launchpad would like to bring this spirit to campus and focus on developing social entrepreneurship learning for students. Because of the gap mentioned by Haddad (of students having the idea of entrepreneurship but not being able to go forward with these ideas), Meliora Launchpad will strive to be the platform to equip students, relay what was learned at the conference, work with them and put their ideas out there on the market. Shifat declared, “I believe Launchpad will be able to apply the learning from the conference, and build the entrepreneurial potential of undergraduate students here at the University of Rochester.”

Sidhant Ahluwalia is a member of University of Rochester’s Class of 2018. He is working toward a Bachelors of Arts degree in Computer Science, track in HCI. A student in the Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, Ahluwalia is also a campus partner for GroundUP Ventures and co-founder of Meliora LaunchPad, an entrepreneurship club for innovative students.

Angela Zou is a member of the University of Rochester’s Class of 2018. She is working toward a Bachelor of Science degree in Business, with a focus in Marketing. With experience in advertising and marketing, Zou strives to promote entrepreneurship across campus, through Meliora LaunchPad.