From Blockchain to Babson GEIR: Joe Zhou’s Journey
All semester long, the Blank Center has presented How 2 Tuesday sessions, workshop style sessions meant to offer practical advice for entrepreneurs building their businesses. In honor of Global Entrepreneurship Week, a weeklong celebration of entrepreneurs and innovators, we hosted a special How 2 Tuesday: How 2 Become a Babson Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence (GEIR).
Ali Pincus-Jacobs from the Blank Center started off the session by explaining the GEIR program. The program is a unique path for international student entrepreneurs working on business ventures to apply for a cap exempt H1-B visa without going through the lottery. Those who are well underway in setting up a business in the US and can demonstrate that their company can pay them the prevailing wage can sponsor themselves for H-1B worker status. As part of the program, GEIRs headquarter their businesses at the Babson Boston campus and engage with Babson entrepreneurs through mentoring, working with faculty, and other volunteer opportunities.
Joe Zhou, Babson’s first ever Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence, spoke about his own experience in the program. Now the Founder and CEO of FirstBlood, the world’s first blockchain powered e-sports platform, Joe had graduated from the Questrom School of Business at Boston University with a B.S. in Finance and Entrepreneurship and was facing the end of his Optional Practical Training (OPT) visa. He knew that he risked losing what he had built here if he had to leave the US, so, in his own words, “I had to find a way to stay here.” The Babson GEIR allowed Joe to not only secure his visa and continue to work on his business, but also to immerse himself in the ecosystem of Babson entrepreneurs and to benefit from their knowledge and experience. It’s a two way street – we are lucky to have Joe as a GEIR, as he has mentored Babson startups and contributed his own expertise to our community.
Are you interested in learning more about the GEIR program? Ali suggests checking out the program requirements and contacting her with any questions. International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) at the Glavin Office can also offer resources and appointments with advisors.