DePaul’s Coleman Entrepreneurship Center is a partner to the university’s nationally ranked academic entrepreneurship program in the Driehaus College of Business. The Center serves as an entrepreneurial hub for DePaul students, faculty and alumni, as well as the broader Chicago business community.
Startup Intern Profile: Sharon Lavin – Sharon Lavin is a Public Relations and Advertising & IO Psychology student interning with Evolve, a member organization that helps entrepreneurs transition from business owners to their next phase.
Sharon has been working on email campaigns for Evolve’s late summer and fall events, and learning the ropes of Salesforce as a customer relationship management tool.
When asked about her favorite part of the ongoing internship, Sharon said “I appreciate getting the one-on-one experience of guidance and mentorship.
I have found that I get to know more about how the company was started, why it is important to the industry, and where my roll is in assisting.”…
Launch DePaul Awards Night 2014 – At the Launch DePaul Awards Event on May 21, six final teams pitched their new, creative ventures to a judging panel comprised of four distinguished entrepreneurs from the Chicago business community.
They were competing for a prize pool of $10,000. Audience members also contributed to the final team scores by casting their votes with blue chips in the respective teams’ boxes.
Joining us as VIP judges were Michael Arndt, Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business; John Hoesley, Managing Director of Silicon Valley Bank;
Suzanne Reade, President of Chicago ArchAngels; and Shawn Riegsecker, Founder and CEO of Centro. Jason Jacobsohn, Chicago Director of Founder Institute, served as our Honorary Emcee.
The winners of the competition placed as follows:
First Place ($5,000): PlanMatcher (online healthcare exchange), Christian Wells Second Place ($2,500): Making Connections (autism therapy toolkits), Elizabeth Ames Third Place ($1,000): Bbands (non-slip headband production), Bianca Perry
Honorable Mentions ($500 each): Felicks, (student-to-student online exchange), Shaza Loutfi Hashtagr (hashtag search engine), Khoa Nguyen Jam City, (online platform for musical instruction and collaboration), Ian Stellmach
All winners also received Elance credits to hire freelance talent for their new companies.
Click here to see photos from the Launch DePaul Awards Night 2014. (Photos taken by Kathy Hillegonds.)
We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the many individuals and organizations who have made Launch DePaul 2014 possible.
From those who contributed their time and efforts in the months leading up to the competition, to those who played active roles in the Awards Night event, our efforts would not have been possible without their support.
Launch DePaul Sponsors
Kutchins, Robbins & Diamond, Ltd. and Allen Kutchins QUEsocial and Greg Silich Elance and Kyle Joseph
CaliVista Wines and David Kalainoff
Launch DePaul Judges
Our thanks to these individuals who served as our first-round judges for Launch DePaul 2014. They reviewed dozens of submissions, and offered valuable feedback to every team that entered the competition.
Bob Achettu Brian Bauer G. Deon Bradley Mason Cole Tim Cole Neil Feuling Glenn Gottfried Bill Griffin Aksh Gupta Marc Grens Lori Igleski Jason Jacobsohn Greg Jaros Kyle Joseph Teddy Kekstadt Ron Kirschner April Lane John Lump Tricia Meyer Tony Mirchandani RJ Pahura Mona Pearl Matt Ragas Brian Rosen Greg Silich Jared Steffes Kevin Turner Alex White Drew Whiting
Launch DePaul Coaching Workshop Leaders
Rania El-Sorrogy, Executive Director, Hatch Valley Leo Friedman, CEO & Founder, iPromo Scott Issen, President and CEO, Future Founders Foundation Brian Bauer, Startup Leadership Program Chicago Sion Owen, PitchCircus Libo (Bob) Hou, School of Accountancy, DePaul University
DePaul Entrepreneurship Faculty
Raman Chadha Daniel Gillespie, JD Lisa Gundry, PhD Laurie LaMantia Terri Lonier, PhD John Lump Javier Monllor, PhD Patrick J. Murphy, PhD Edward Papabathini Remo Picchietti Sondra Simpson, EdD Harold Welsch, PhD…
Helping Our Clients Achieve Financial Success Through Sound Financial Advice
Kutchins, Robbins & Diamond, Ltd. (KRD) is a Chicago-based public accounting firm. We have been servicing clients for over two decades. We take a proactive approach to the accounting and financial services we offer, which includes accounting, auditing, taxes, consulting and financial planning. We focus on creating long-term relationships, emphasizing integrity and personal service. www.krdcpas.com
QUEsocial is a premier social talent acquisition solution for recruiters and employee ambassadors to reach, engage and convert quality talent in the social media channel. Our social solution uniquely blends content distribution to employee fingertips for one-touch sharing, gamification, and powerful analytics into a scalable, easy-to-use SaaS platform. www.quesocial.com…
New Startup Lab to Grow Student Businesses – As we look to the future of entrepreneurship at DePaul, the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center is pleased to announce a fundraising effort to support the creation of a highly visible suite of offices and open workspaces on the seventh floor of the DePaul Center on Depaul’s Loop Campus.
This 4,038-sq.ft. space will serve as a physical hub of entrepreneurial activity for the university, and will include a Startup Lab for students to work on new business ventures.
Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, the space will bring together co-working space, the Center’s administrative offices, advisors and training to support student entrepreneurs, recent alumni, faculty and staff.
The Startup Lab will also host dynamic programs with members of the greater Chicago business community, many of whom will serve as advisors, mentors and entrepreneurs-in-residence.
The Startup Lab’s flexible structure — with movable worktables and chairs — will allow the space to be easily transformed from a co-working environment into an event space for workshops, seminars and other gatherings.
An 18-person training room, 10-person conference room and private advising room will also be housed in the space.…
Alumni Profile: Bob Achettu – Most entrepreneurial journeys follow a winding path, and Bob Achettu’s route to Founder and Managing Partner of Accelerated Growth Advisors is no different.
After spending the first decade of his career at some of the largest organizations in the world, a role in the world of private equity transformed his view of what he wanted to do with his life.
Bob and his team now spend their days on the front lines of Chicago’s vibrant entrepreneurial scene, working to help companies manage through various stages of growth.
A graduate of DePaul’s College of Commerce (now known as the Driehaus College of Business), he is a true believer in the servant leadership philosophy espoused by the University.
Can you explain what your business does?
Accelerated Growth Advisors (AGA) helps entrepreneurial companies build strategic, financial, and operational infrastructure to scale.
We’ve found that early on (the first several million in revenue) startups often focus heavily on building products and driving sales.
They often don’t spend the time and resources needed to build a strong foundation in other parts of their business.
AGA works with companies as they move into their second stage of growth (typically $3-$100 million in revenue).
We ensure that these organizations have the right foundation for long-term success.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship means different things to different people.
For me, it means freedom of thought. I have the ability to think through and execute any idea, and the flexibility to allow my team to do the same.
I don’t believe you need to be the founder of a company to be entrepreneurial.
It’s about having the courage to think freely, and to be OK with, and in fact embrace, failure.
Having worked in organizations of many sizes, my perspective is that professional development tends to occur faster and deeper at smaller companies.
You are constantly put in situations where you are challenged and must think creatively. You spend most of your time outside your comfort zone.
I know, because I do every day. Having worked for several global “blue-chip” advisory firms in the past, it gives me great pride knowing AGA provides a better learning environment for my team than companies a thousand times our size.
That’s a good feeling as an entrepreneur.
How did your DePaul experience impact your career?
Like many DePaul students, I was a commuter and worked quite a bit during my years at the University.
At the time, it was frustrating that I was not able to have the “typical” college experience.
I look back now, and am grateful for the path I took.
The core relationships I built during my time at DePaul still last to this day.
The time management skills I learned juggling priorities became a crucial component of managing both my professional and personal life.
Interestingly, my relationship with DePaul actually got stronger after starting my company five years ago.
I began connecting with the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center and have built many great, new DePaul connections along the way.
What advice do you have for student entrepreneurs?
At AGA, we partner with some of the most accomplished entrepreneurs and investors in Chicago.
We are also a high-growth company ourselves.
There is a lot of learning that happens in between, so it’s hard to crystalize those experiences into one piece of advice.
That being said, I’ll try for two: 1) Things move fast in entrepreneurial environment and there are many highs and lows.
You shouldn’t bask too much in your successes, or harp too much on your failures. Learn, adapt, and move on quickly.
2) No matter what your service or product, all organizations big and small are about people.
Focus first and foremost on selecting and developing the right people. If you’ve got that component right, everything else will fall into place.…