Kayli Hertel – 1851 Staff
On Thursday, May 2, de Witt Hall housed students and local entrepreneurs for an evening sponsored by the Small Business Institute (SBI) and the Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce.
The SBI was created in order to encourage student entrepreneurs and support them through the creation of their businesses as well as inspire students to accept challenges as they come. The event consisted of keynote speakers Dr. Paul Levy and Darryl Settles as well as student entrepreneurs who presented different examples of Connected Learning.
President Michael Alexander led the event with a story about the success, failure and opportunity that presents itself when it comes to being an entrepreneur. Alexander also noted that the relationship between Lasell and the Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce is crucial for both local businesses and students. “It is important for Lasell to have as many connections to local businesses as possible to support internship, project and employment opportunities for our students,” said Alexander.
Levy, who in the past served as President and CEO of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston as well as many other titles, discussed the challenges that are faced today when running a sole proprietorship. Levy took this opportunity to market his two latest books: Goal Play!: Leadership Lessons From the Soccer Field and How a Blog Held Off the Most Powerful Union in America.
“Never miss an opportunity to market,” said Levy as he marketed his books to the diverse audience. In Goal Play!: Leadership Lessons From the Soccer Field, Levy examines a variety of leadership experiences with his experiences coaching girls’ soccer. How a Blog Held Off the Most Powerful Union in America, however, focused on the use of social media in the business world.
Following Levy’s speech regarding marketing techniques, students were given the opportunity to present their own business plans in front of the audience. Jillian Riches, Bridget O’Halloran, and Amy Sleeper presented as business owners of Dream Girl Brewery and Pub. The girls created a business plan complete with a thought-out menu, retail options and marketing strategy.
Riches, who acts as the CEO of the company, stressed that the opportunity to promote the business to local entrepreneurs and business professionals was an example of Connected Learning. “The opportunity to learn from business professionals and then be able to showcase [what] the students have created is priceless,” said Riches.
As the new Newton Economic Development Commission chair, Settles offered a variety of advice to students, specifically noting that the point of business was fulfill the needs of the company’s customer base. “It’s your business. You are there to serve a need,” said Settles.
Events such as this exemplify the Connected Learning mantra due to the personal experience that students can gain. At the end of the event there was a chance for students and business owners to network and gain contacts. Kevin Lilly, who participated in the poster session of the event, felt that this chance to network was an advantage for students. “I walked away knowing that resources do exist to help me out both on and off campus,” said Lilly.