Rutgers Entrepreneurial Society connects aspiring business people with resources
Student entrepreneurs have a place to get together, share ideas and networks, build companies and form a community, with the Rutgers Entrepreneurial Society, a student-run organization.
Ian Bullard, vice president of the organization and a Rutgers Business School junior, said the club was established to provide the missing link between the entrepreneurs at Rutgers, to provide a cohesive link that will benefit the whole community.
Bullard and Adam Rubinstein, president of the organization and a Rutgers Business School junior, attended a meeting for the organization their freshman year, but it was inactive then, Bullard said.
“We met each other at the general meeting and when we heard no replies from the then board for our applications to become board members, we decided to form our own society for entrepreneurs,” Bullard said.
This group was not affiliated with the Rutgers Entrepreneurial Society at the time, Bullard said. They hosted their first event by creating a page and sending invites to everyone on Facebook.
The response was surprising, he said. The event received about 300 likes without marketing efforts.
The event, with the help of Rutgers Mobile App Development, was a general meeting with about 65 people, far more than the entire Rutgers Entrepreneurial Society had at that time.
"In the event we shared our vision and goal and asked the people the way they would want this society to go,” Bullard said. “After the meeting, the energy in the room was amazing and people were excited to see this organization flourish."
The former president stepped down and made Rubinstein and Bullard president and co-president respectively.
Word of mouth was how the organization became more popular, Rubinstein said.
“It is weird because this is not really how you get involved in a club," Rubinstein said. "There were a lot of things we had to learn, things we messed up in the beginning. It took us a while to learn to operate under the Rutgers system and make that environment really thrive for us."
The goal of the organization is to make Rutgers a thriving start up culture, where students from around the campus can collaborate to make great companies that last, Bullard said.
They also are working to increase the output of the community. They want to educate students who have great ideas, are interested in starting a business and wish to collaborate with other people, but are not sure how to start the procedure, he said,
“We are not (really) an education program, starting a business is a very tedious process and it is not possible to hold everyone’s hands and walk them through this complicated process,” Bullard said.
Ideally having an infrastructure set up within Rutgers, like some type of program or curriculum to help people along the path, would be very beneficial, he said.
“There’s so much talent here but it is not always put to use. We see other schools doing that and know it is possible and it can happen better here,” Rubinstein said.
Currently, the Rutgers Entrepreneurial Society is open to students from any major or demographic interested in entrepreneurship, he said.
“We have women as our members who are outspoken and share their ideas, but unfortunately it is highly skewed towards men. We would love to see more women who are interested in entrepreneurship become a part of this community,” Rubinstein said.
The organization now hosts workshops, educates students about entrepreneurship, boasts their entrepreneurship acumen and attempts to unite them, he said.
"We are really just community builders and that’s what we strive to be," Rubinstein said.
The groups meets at The Castle, a working space on Douglass Campus where student entrepreneurs can work on starting businesses together, collaborate and discuss ideas. Details about operating hours can be found on Rutgers Entrepreneurial Society’s Facebook group.
“Our workshops are usually held in partnership with other organizations on campus like libraries have great workshops and we bring their resources in to share with the (other) members to inform them about the information around,” Rubinstein said.
Every other Friday the club has speakers, who are usually talented students sharing their knowledge and ideas, Bullard said.
“Recently, my friend Jason spoke about internet marketing and gave everyone a crash course, while someone from the library came in and informed us about the different resources Rutgers offers to startups,” he said.
All of these resources are worth thousands of dollars and are available for Rutgers students to utilize, but their availability is not well publicized, he said.
Melissa Diep, Rutgers Business School senior, joined the Rutgers Entrepreneurial Society to connect with other students interested in entrepreneurship.
“(This) is one of my favorite organizations at Rutgers. It exposes members to entrepreneurial opportunities that prepare students to start-up their own business,” she said.
The organization is also supported by some of the best professors and faculty members at Rutgers, she said.
One of the favorite events was going on a field trip to the Illuminate Conference at Harvard last fall, she said.
“At the conference, we were connected with student leaders all across the country who were also passionate about innovation and some of the guest speakers included Mehmood Khan (Chief Scientific Officer of PepsiCo) and Tim Westergren (Founder of Pandora),” Diep said.
Chinmoyi Bhushan is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in computer science. She is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum. Follow her on Twitter @__ for more.