By | Innovation, People, Rochester

Through the Lens of Innovation: Global Entrepreneurship Week

By Samuel Howard

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Network, Global Entrepreneurship Week is a week in November where thousands of entrepreneurship competitions happen in 170 countries. Luckily, I was able to reap the reward of the Ain Center’s newest competition: the Creative Collision Challenge.

Before I go into the details, I would like to talk about my experience with Doug Chambers (VP: Global Head of Client Solutions at WeWork, Founder & CEO of Fieldlens, which was bought by WeWork, and a ’98 alum of the University of Rochester). Doug came to give a lecture on his experience and wanted to meet with some students like me. That’s just what I did.

I had three things I wanted to talk about with Doug and he did not disappoint. My first objective was to talk about Flashi, a company I would like to start in outdoor advertising, focusing on using tourists as flash mobbers. He helped me realize that the technology to be able to accomplish this feat was already there and all I had to do was create intuitive processes for the customer. Still not easy, but easier (and cheaper) than finding developers to create and app and website.

My second objective was to chat about a disc golf cart idea I have. He gave me great advice to meet with a material sciences person to discover cheaper ways to produce the same item. Lastly, Doug and I talked about my goal of becoming a product manager. He gave me great advice for preparation and reached out to his product managers right then and there!

Doug was a great resource and for those that have not taken advantage of the Experts-in-Residence (EIR), you need to try it out. I was not sure of the help I would get at first, but it was so beneficial, I know I will be taking advantage more often! Thanks Doug!

Sam Howard and his teammates (listed below) conferring with mentors during the Creative Collision Challenge.

Now, onto the competition. The Creative Collision Challenge was fast-paced and focused on saving honey bees.

Bees are depleting and one-third of all of our food comes from bees, thus our survival largely depends on their survival. Many ideas were thrown around with regulations, government bodies, and consumer products, but the solution that won first place was a solar-powered bee hive. Unfortunately, I was in class when they presented, or I would tell you all about it, but here’s our idea…

Learning about hive setup and upkeep with mentors and beekeepers, Willa Powell (member of the RCSD Board) and Ward Graham (owner of Brighton Honey). 

Our solution was three-tiered:

  1. Get rid of neonicitinoids. A systemic (means it won’t go away for the plant’s life) nicotine-like agent that kills and confuses bees and impairs them from returning to the hive.
  2. Federal stipends for those interested in urban bee-keeping. We felt this was viable due to the lack of insecticides and gives greater biodiversity for the honey bees (as opposed to just one plant), and gives heightened awareness of the docile nature of bees when not disturbed.
  3. Education programs on the nature of bees, their survival, and how to get involved.

Though we were told our presentation was very well presented, we made third place and were beat by two teams. Am I happy with third place? Well, yeah, but I’d be happier with first!

Did I mention I got to meet some great people? On my team was Aman Tugnawat (’18 MS TEAM), Lennard Emanuel (’19 MS TEAM), and Gregory Scott (’20 MBA).

Sam and his team, the third place winners, with the four judges. From left: Jarmila Haseler, Liz Simmons, Samuel Howard, Aman Tugnawat, Lennard Emanuel, Gregory Scott, Michael Daley, and Carmala Garzione.

As with Experts-in-Residence, if you haven’t participated in a competition, you should. The free Chipotle lunch makes if all worth it (that is, if you don’t win). Happy innovating!

Samuel Howard ’19S (MBA) is originally a Michigander, but recently turned New Yorker. He is a past Mathematics teacher, Carpenter for the MET, and recruiter for hospitality assignments. He is currently pursuing an MBA at the Simon School of Business and has a goal of being a serial entrepreneur, selling his company and buying and operating a large theater with his wife Emma. 

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

Hult Prize @ UR 2018

By Sara Anis
“How would you create 10,000 meaningful jobs for unemployed youth within the next decade?”

This is the prompt posed to thousands of students worldwide vying for a $1,000,000 grand prize in this year’s Hult Prize Competition. The Hult Prize, which began ten years ago, is now the world’s largest student competition for social good.

Ahmad Ashkar, CEO and Founder of Hult Prize, attributes the success of the competition to the shift in the global economy and the millennial generation’s refusal to live in a world with inequality. Akshar adds, “We are giving entrepreneurs from around the world a platform to innovate and revolutionize the way we think about servicing the disadvantaged.”

Fall 2018 marks the third year that a local competition has been held on the University of Rochester River Campus. Thanks to the support of the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship, the College Dean’s Office, the Greene Career Center, Barbara J. Burger iZone, and OMSA, the on campus competition was a success.

Throughout the semester, preparatory workshops were held on the topics of team formation, ideation, presentation tips, rounded out by a final pitch clinic before the competition. Teams worked for weeks as the day approached, giving their all trying to get closer to the million dollar grand prize.

On November 3rd, fifteen teams (grad and undergrad students) participated in the on-campus competition at Simon Business School. That day, they presented a wide range of ideas, from providing jobs for ex-convicts to combating child sex slavery. A panel of six judges from around Rochester were faced with a tough decision, but they selected the winner for the UR competition and decided who would continue on to Hult’s regional round. In the end they chose BestBeing, a team that aims to provide “a one-stop-shop for all things wellbeing.”

Winning team, BestBeing, and the judging panel during the 2018 Hult Prize @ UR Competition in November.

As the winning team from the Hult Prize @ UR Event, BestBeing will automatically compete in one of Hult Prize’s Regional Finals, bypassing the general application which can receive over 20,000 applicants from more than 350 colleges and universities in over 150 countries.

These regional competitions will take place in March 2019. Following the regional finals, one winning team from each host city will attend a summer accelerator, where competitors receive mentorship as they create prototypes and continue to launch their new businesses. The final round of competition occurs in September; one team will be named the winner and will be awarded the $1,000,000 grand prize.

Thanks to the support from offices such as the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship students at the University of Rochester can have the opportunity to make their mark on the world and change it for the better.

Sara Anis ’20 is a University of Rochester student majoring in Biomedical Engineering in the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. She is also working toward a minor in Chemical Engineering. This fall, she served as the Campus Director for the Hult Prize Competition @ UR.

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

SASE National Conference and SASEtank

By Gazi Mahir Ahmed Naven

After going through a three-round, four-month long process, we finally made it to the finals of the SASEtank business competition (organized by the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers, or SASE). In the spring, we finished 2nd in the Forbes Entrepreneurial Competition at UR with the idea for our business. UPTICK was turning into a reality and we were finally ready to present our venture, a data-driven affordable marketplace for student essentials.

My team and I were fortunate to find that the University of Rochester’s SASE Chapter planned to attend the SASE National Conference in Chicago, where our pitch for the finals was going to take place. This was a great opportunity to attend the conference, which attracted over 2500 students (representing 130+ universities) and industry professionals. Not only was it a great opportunity to network with diverse individuals within the Asian community, but also to attend workshops led by professionals working in cutting-edge businesses.

UPTICK co-founders Sidhant Ahluwalia, Babaye Yahouza, and Gazi Naven.

One of my favorite workshops was led by Nyle Miyamoto, Additive Manufacturing Chief Engineer at The Boeing Company. His talk went over the importance of leadership in workplace. What I found most interesting was his formula for climbing up the ladder in a big firm: progression in workplace is a multiplication of how much experience, number of relationships, and the reputation one has. He emphasized that this simple concept can often explain why a lot of Asians –  despite their experience and work ethic – aren’t in managerial positions in big firms. He finds that Asians are not usually striving to build relationships or the reputation of the firm. Hence, he urged Asians to not only work hard at the job, but to also on break the cultural barrier that stops them from taking more initiative to build their reputation and relationships.

Nyle Miyamoto speaking of leadership potential and his formula for success.

Nyle’s words kept me inspired leading up to the SASEtank business competition. We were the last to go among the five finalists. I was prepared for it, but still a little nervous about being able to finish on time, since we only had 3 minutes to present. After our clear and concise presentation came the 7-minute-long session of questioning from the judges. While some were just clarification questions, I appreciated how many of their inquiries became discussions as we answered them. These discussions led to valuable comments and interesting ideas that we may begin to implement. While we did not end up winning, this opened space for advice and networking with the judges. One of my conversations led me to David Pan, who previously worked at P&G and Amazon, and now works as COO for MyIntent Project. From him I learned how you can create a demand in the market, a strategy MyIntent Project used. We talked about how UPTICK could benefit from doing something similar.

University of Rochester SASE Chapter members.

In addition to the delicious food that was served during the conference, I came to meet new people and learn about different perspectives. I was given feedback for my own professional development through resume reviews with Boeing and Leidos, and I was able to practice giving elevator pitches at the career fair. It was a breathtaking experience to take myself and our entrepreneurial venture out from the college bubble and into the real world.

Gazi Mahir Ahmed Naven ’19, originally from Bangladesh, is a senior at the University of Rochester, double majoring in Data Science and Economics. He is the CTO and Co-Founder of UPTICK, a student-only marketplace with advanced analytics. Naven is passionate about developing technology to create convenience and business value.

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

NYC Startup Trek

By Akshay Rajput

It was fascinating to see the vast amount of opportunities that a startup is surrounded with at WeWork and the spontaneity that comes along with it. Efficient workspace utilization, supreme community-building environment, constant employee feedback, and flexibility in scaling are all important factors that make WeWork successful.

Additionally, The Company’s aim to base the entire building around a tech-central theme and create proximity to the startup community by dedicating 250,000 square feet of space in midtown Manhattan was inspiring. Tyler Schrodt, CEO and Founder of Electronic Gaming Federation, apprised us about the changes he made in his business plan, improvements made in product quality, customer targeting, and economic models – along with his journey of gaining streaming rights and construction of their revenue policy.

Common area for members in WeWork Corporate Headquarters of Manhattan.

Erica Rosen, Director of Marketing at BioLite, enlightened us with their compelling mission to transform the way we cook, charge, and light our lives off the grid with their line-up of revolutionary products built on sustainable business practices that have the power to change the world. Their unique Parallel Innovation business model made them stand out from the rest of the companies on the trek.

In the Brooklyn Navy Yard, we were captivated to see what New Lab has achieved with the historic former machine shop by creating a breakthrough ecosystem of shared resources where startups, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and city officials can collaborate, iterate and prototype their innovative ideas quickly with the help of CNC and 3-D printing machines on-site.

Erica Rosen, Director of Marketing at BioLite, showing us their CampStove.

The interesting panel discussion with Swarnav Pujari (CEO of Touchlight Innovations) and Joel Cettina (CEO of Food Moves) gave us insight into their entrepreneurial journey, which highlighted the key learnings from their failures and successes.

Ke Cheng, Founder and CEO of Histowiz has staggeringly created the world’s first telepathology network that incorporates machine learning offering rapid turnaround times and unprecedented access to a wide range of pathology subspecialties.

Collaborative space at New Lab, a space in Brooklyn supports entrepreneurs working in advanced technology.

U of R’s Ain Center for Entrepreneurship and Gwen M. Greene Center for Career Exploration and Connections efforts enabled us to see the theoretical concepts taught in the Technical Entrepreneurship and Management program being implemented in real life which, in turn, immensely helped in broadening the scope of thinking.

Akshay Rajput ’19 (MS) has been working with multinational companies since his graduation. He holds expertise in field of business development, marketing, and resource management. Akshay’s latest experience stems from being a digital media & business development manager for a branding firm. He is currently a Masters candidate in the Technical Entrepreneurship and Management program, with a concentration in Energy & the Environment.

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

5 Tips for Customer Discovery

By Ain CFE Staff

“In a sense there’s just one mistake that kills startups: not making something users want,” argues Paul Graham of Y Combinator. “If you make something users want, you’ll probably be fine, whatever else you do or don’t do. And if you don’t make something users want, then you’re dead, whatever else you do or don’t do.”

The Ain Center’s Foundry Forum series (new for Fall 2018) is designed to supplement existing entrepreneurship classes and programming. These workshops explore the fundamentals of starting your own venture, including how to talk with potential customers to learn about their needs. Our second Forum – The Voice of a Customer: Shut Up and Listen – was held on October 22. Facilitators Matt Spielmann and Max Sims shared their experiences and tips – five of which are below!

Establish Market Need

According to a CB Insights study, 42% of startups fail because there is no market need for their innovation. Learning about your customer and asking questions that get to the heart of their problems can help ensure that there will be a fighting chance for your enterprise.

Ask Yourself: A Product May Be "Cool," But Will It Sell?

Startups face a number of challenges - why add to those by not doing your research? Your venture may be centered on a new high-tech product, but over-engineering can lead to obsolescence. There may be a pain point that your target customer is dealing with but, according to Max Sims, "there's a difference between pain and pain worth solving."

Use Hypothesis-Based Testing

Start with your assumptions: what do you think is the problem? Once you have these starting points, create "I believe _____" statements that can be proven true or false. For example, "I believe [my customer] has a problem [achieving a specific goal]." Use interviews to prove/disprove these statements and continue to refine your hypotheses. Ultimately, the goal is to determine whether or not you have a product-market fit. Asking the right questions, limiting your own bias, and keeping an open mind are key to customer discovery.

Customer Discovery Must Be Ongoing

When is the right time to talk to your customers about what they want? ALWAYS. This cannot be overstated. Entrepreneurs need to remain aware of market needs and consumer desires at every phase of their venture. Whether you have an idea that you want to build upon, or a large company launching a new product line, customer discovery should be constant.

Stick to a Few Basic Techniques

To summarize, our workshop facilitators put together a handy "how-to" guide. While there is extensive literature on performing customer discovery, these few basics will help get you started on the right path.

Chart of basic techniques created by Matt Spielmann and Max Sims for Voice of Customer Workshop in October 2018 (inspired by Talking to Humans, by Giff Constable and Frank Rimalovski).

If you have any questions about customer discovery, please contact the Ain Center at or make an appointment with Matt Spielmann. Interested in attending future Foundry Forums or workshops? Head over to our Events Calendar and register online!

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

Trekking NYC with

Startup Fever!

By Lani Chau

Swarnav Pujari, Founder of Touchlight Innovations, says “business ideas are hypotheses needing to be validated.” I felt in my element when I heard that and thought, “great! I’ve done plenty of that previously.”

But that’s only one piece.

My journey in the two days of October break participating in the NYC Entrepreneurship Road Trip, hosted by the Gwen M. Greene Center and the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship, opened my eyes to what it really takes to be your own boss.

Erica Rosen, Director of Marketing for Biolite Energy, showing us the stages of prototyping for their CampStove.


According to Pujari, New York City investors want to see metrics and results before they want to be your investors. It’s a different mentality in San Francisco, where passion and a big idea can win.

No need to fret if you just have an idea though; New Lab, a multi-disciplinary technology center housed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, has you covered with prototyping help (and a network of VCs, domain experts, and corporate partners included in membership). They welcome you whether you have a team or if you’re a one-person company. New Lab’s interior decorating is also on-point, they bring nature inside to you!

Now I can’t talk about interior decorating without talking about WeWork, a company that designs, builds and operates workspaces for companies from startups to large businesses. As we got off the elevator on their main floor, I was cheerfully greeted by vibrant walls with basketball hoops attached. After taking a few steps further in, we saw adorable furry friends freely roaming around the urban-chic, glass and aluminum office, mingling along with the bustling people.

(By the way – WeWork offers free beer on tap and a free latte/espresso bar for all. I didn’t think I could be any more impressed, until I learned about the way they are utilizing data to humanize work and transform the spaces we work in. Not to mention, WeWork Lab can also help if you are at the idea-seed stage.)

Besides being starstruck by the facilities and the nature of the entrepreneurial spirit there, I also got to learn valuable life lessons directly from the NYC entrepreneurs.

The New Lab building, a community that assists the city’s leading companies working in advanced technologies.


During our visit to the Company, Tyler Schrodt, Founder of Electronic Gaming Federation, detailed the humble story of how the failure of his original idea led him to revamp his whole business model by starting with the question, “what values does my venture add to an audience?”

Swarnav Pujari reinforced this theme when asked about the key to his success: “it’s all about adding value.” He then recalled a conversation he had with a real estate developer who did not care about how solar panels can save money, but how to generate more money. When he understood the values the client wanted, he modified his approach to marketing his business.

Vince Scafaria (Founder of DotAlign) advised us to “get [an investor] to feel that they can succeed when you succeed!”

Alexander Tabb, Founder of Roundit, praised the importance of hard work. I found it encouraging when he told us, “you also don’t need to be 25 to start a business. I’m in my 50s, and what I’ve learned until now has helped me tremendously for this moment.”

We all follow a different timeline – you don’t have to start your own business now (perhaps you just want to join a startup), but it’s important to know your opportunities! I feel that going on this trip is an instance of an opportunity I created for myself.

Have you thought about sustainable living recently? Lani Chau ’19 (MS) is investigating the design of renewable energy systems to enhance the portability and integration of green energy technology into the fabric of everyday living. She recently worked on an electrochemical engineering project at Brookhaven National Laboratory, studying solar water splitting. Lani is currently an MS Technical Entrepreneurship and Management candidate with a concentration in Energy & the Environment. 

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

Congratulations, Kate Cartini!

By Ain CFE Staff
One of our Experts-in-Residence, Kathryn Cartini, has been named one of The Business Journals’ “Influencers: Rising Stars” for 2018. 


The Business Journals consortium of over 40 business publications recently shared their list of 100 Influencers: Rising Stars. This list celebrates people in business throughout the country who are positively impacting their companies and communities at a relatively young age. These individuals are selected for their actions, as well as for their vision of business for the future.

From an initial pool of over 1,000 names, Kate Cartini and 99 of her peers were chosen for this honor. The Business Journals heavily relied upon the network’s 40 Under 40 profiles, but whittled those names down in order to find the top 100 candidates.

Kate Cartini, the UVC team, and Marc Randolph (Netflix founder) at the 2018 Upstate Unleashed Conference.

Kate began with the Ain Center as an EIR just over a year ago, but has been in the startup space for many years. In addition to her multiple volunteer roles throughout the community, she currently serves as the Chief Marketing Officer for Upstate Venture Connect, a Partner at Chloe Capital, and the CEO/Founder of Peacock Media, her own storytelling and marketing firm.

Upon graduation from Syracuse University, she worked as a journalist and moved around the east coast, simultaneously engaging with innovative communities and gaining interest in the field. Eventually, she moved back to upstate New York to help grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem and help the region flourish. Over the past few years, Kate has done her part – both through her professional and volunteer activities. We are proud to have Kate Cartini as part of our entrepreneurship team at the University and we send her the utmost congratulations on this honor!

The Chloe Capital team of Erica O’Brian, Elisa Miller-Out, and Kathryn Cartini.

Kate will be leading a storytelling/pitching workshop on River Campus in March 2019, so be on the lookout for those details!

Interested in talking with Kate or one of our other experienced entrepreneurs? Check out our Experts-in-Residence program and make an appointment today!

By | Event, Innovation, People, Rochester

An Awesome Opportunity: NSF I-Corps Programs @ UR

By Ain CFE Staff

The University of Rochester supports the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps Programs and, in honor of the upcoming short course, here’s an overview of what the Ain Center runs and how these programs can help launch your venture. 

Do you have a background in science, technology, or a related field? You may be a perfect candidate for the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps Programs. I-Corps is a partnership program that allows university entrepreneurs to identify valuable opportunities that can emerge from academic research and offers entrepreneurship training to participants. With emphasis on strategy, consumer research, and development, I-Corps provides a crash-course in entrepreneurial thinking. At the University of Rochester, we offer a few variations of the program:

NSF I-Corps Site Program

  • Local teams transition their ideas, devices, or processes into the marketplace
  • More than 50 hubs across the United States (including the University of Rochester)
  • Provides participants with advice, resources, training, and networking opportunities
  • Funding (up to $3,000 per team) to further their research or development processes
  • Site graduates can apply to I-Corps Teams National Program, which awards grants of up to $50,000

NSF I-Corps Node Program

  • Supports regional needs for innovation education, infrastructure, and research
  • Upstate New York (UNY) Node – University of Rochester, Cornell University, and Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Participants complete a two-week Short Course aimed at graduate students and post-docs
  • Graduates of the Short Course receive NSF lineage and can apply for other NSF grants
  • Short Courses are offered in Rochester at least twice a year

Though we do not host the NSF I-Corps Team Program (below), this is an option for those who have completed either of the programs listed above. The Teams Program is a large commitment, but participants gain access to significant resources and business know-how.

NSF I-Corps Team Program

  • Applicants must have NSF lineage (and prior completion of a Site or Node program is strongly recommended)
  • Participants complete an intensive 7-week program offered throughout the United States
  • Provides opportunities for NSF funding and other high-level resources, including an increased chance of receiving SBIR and STTR grant awards

The benefits of participating in these programs are long-lasting. To learn more about the University of Rochester’s participation in I-Corps programs and for more information regarding eligibility and the application process, please visit the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship’s website.

Who can help?

Natalie Antal

Associate Director
1-211C Carol Simon Hall
(585) 276-4511

Matthew Spielmann

Senior Program Manager
1-217 Dewey Hall
(585) 273-3967

By | Event, Innovation, People, Rochester

Meliora Weekend 2018

By Ain CFE Staff

“It’s incredible – the amount of human capital in the University, and all of the research. As an entrepreneur, your job is to bring it together creatively,” says UR student entrepreneur Daphne Pariser. During the 2018 Meliora Weekend, we celebrated 40 years of entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester.

On Thursday, October 4, the Ain Center was invited to present at the University’s Board of Trustees dinner. Two doctoral students, Daphne Pariser ‘17M (MS) and Joseph VanderStel ‘16E (MA), presented their ventures and shared their stories with members of the University community. Hailing from URMC and Eastman School of Music respectively, these two students have utilized the various resources that UR has to offer. We are proud to be a part of their entrepreneurial journeys.

The Ain Center – in partnership with Alumni Relations, the Simon School of Business, and the Barbara J. Burger iZone – hosted a student panel and entrepreneurship expo on Saturday, October 6. The panel, moderated by alumna and co-founder of Health Care Originals Inc., Sharon Samjitsingh ’13 (MS), featured:

Each student contributed their own unique perspective, including how to balance their curricular programs and pursue their entrepreneurial passions.

Eastman doctoral student Joseph VanderStel, Mark Ain ‘67S, Board of Trustees Chairman Danny Wegman, URMC doctoral student Daphne Pariser, University President Richard Feldman, and Vice Provost for Entrepreneurship Duncan Moore.

Saturday’s entrepreneurship panel featuring moderator Sharon Samjitsingh and panelists Daphne Pariser, Ian Manzi, Mike Alcazaren, Shelley Chen, and Vlad Cazacu.

Members of the University community during the Saturday panel.

A representative from Simon Entrepreneurs Association and visiting professor Lidia Alexa during the entrepreneurship expo.

Panelists Daphne Pariser and Mike Alcazaren with Vice Provost for Entrepreneurship Duncan Moore during the poster session.

We would like to thank the University’s Board of Trustees for inviting our students to speak and share their entrepreneurial journeys at UR. We would also like to thank our student panelists, moderator, and departmental partners for our Saturday event. Cheers to another 40 years of entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester!

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

Top 5 Team Building Tips

By Ain CFE Staff

“The world is so complex, no one person has the skills or knowledge to accomplish all that we want to accomplish,” writes Dr. Susan McDaniel, the 2016 American Psychological Association president and University of Rochester professor. “Interdisciplinary teams are the way to make that happen.”

The Ain Center’s Foundry Forum series (new for Fall 2018) is designed to supplement existing entrepreneurship classes and programming. These workshops explore the fundamentals of starting your own venture, including working with a team to accomplish an innovative goal. We held the first Forum on September 27 – Opposites Attract: Turning a Group of Strangers Into a Team. In addition to the usual search for appropriate job skills, awareness of personality can be a major benefit to your startup. Below are 5 key points gleaned from the event.

Know Yourself

Having a solid understanding of your own strengths, skills, and personality can put you on the right track for finding compatible teammates. Once you have a baseline of who you are and what you want, you will be better prepared for working with others who complement and balance your own style.

Embrace Diversity

Don't shy away from those who think differently than you - in fact, you should seek them out! Team leaders should be deliberate about who they assemble. If you have an inclusive, robust team, your company will have strengths in a variety of areas, which can help lead to new opportunities and better brainstorming sessions.

Reference a Typing Tool

There are countless personality assessments out there, each with their own merits and drawbacks. That said, there are plenty of popular ones that large companies and universities alike use to help their constituents learn more about themselves and others. One of our favorites is the MBTI, grounded in the concepts developed by psychologist Carl Jung. MBTI is based on eight basic tendencies that people can identify with. While the traits together may seem complicated, individuals can select just one trait to focus on - that alone can help you understand how others think!

Try a Sample Project

If you are feeling unsure about how you and another person will work together, use a small collaboration to see if your styles mesh well or not. This can be part of your larger goal, or something totally unrelated to your venture. The idea is to feel out the working relationship and see how your actions and thoughts meld. This can also help define the skills you want in a potential team member.

Understand the Importance of a Strong (and Happy!) Team

So much of our lives are spent at work (usually even more for the typical entrepreneur). For both your sake and your venture's, you want to be sure that people are able to work together and accomplish great things. You don't have to love everyone on your team, but fostering a culture of kindness and respect is fundamental to success.

If you have any questions about forming a team or finding possible collaborators, please contact the Ain Center at or use our Entrepreneur ConnectorInterested in attending future Foundry Forums or workshops? Head over to our Events Calendar and register online!