Student Entrepreneurs: Unite!

Written By: Dharmesh Shah April 30, 2008

I'm going to be giving the keynote presentation at an upcoming event organized by and focused on student entrepreneurs being held on the MIT campus this Saturday (May 3, 2008) from 12:00 - 4:00 p.m.. Student entrepreneurs from MIT, Harvard, Babson, Olin and Boston University and other Boston area academic institutions will gather to talk about startups. I could not hope for a better group to interact with.

If you're in the Boston area, you can check out the event (and RSVP) at the Facebook event page for Underground 2008. It's free and open, but seating is limited so please RSVP on the Facebook page so the organizers can plan accordingly.

Having been a student entrepreneur myself, I'm a strong proponent of current students and recent grads starting companies. I wrote about this in an earlier article titled "Why Student Make Great Entrepreneurs".

One of my points in the earlier article was the value of the network students build (or have the opportunity to build). Personally, I'm not a particularly social guy and networking is one of my weaknesses, not my strengths. But even then, I've ended up working with over a dozen people that I met during my undergraduate days (University of Alabama, Birmingham) or my more recent graduate school program at MIT. If I could turn back the clock, I'd make a concerted effort to try and connect with even more of my academic peers -- regardless of how uncomfortable it might have been to hang out at "networking events".

The Boston area has some of the best academic institutions in the world. Even then, I don't think we're yet doing enough to encourage student entrepreneurs. Scott Kirsner, who writes for the Boston Globe, recently wrote about this on his blog in an article titled "How Do We Better Connect Students to Boston's Innovation Economy?" Scott's been doing a great job himself helping interconnect the Boston entrepreneurial community. He was even nice enough to post recently about the upcoming Underground 2008 student entrepreneur event mentioned above.

If you're a student entrepreneur, UNITE! Connect with your peers -- particularly those not in your immediate circle or discipline. You'll be thankful you did.

If you're going to be attending this Saturday's event, leave a comment and let me know (or grab me at the event). If you have topics you'd like me to cover during my presentation, let me know what's on your mind.

Also, if you're looking for online networking with fellow entrepreneurs, I encourage you to request access to the OnStartups Group on LinkedIn or join the OnStartups Facebook group.  It's a great way to find entrepreneurs in your area or at your school.


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