Summer Catalyst: Advice, Entrepreneur to Entrepreneur
If you were given an unique opportunity to accelerate your business, how would you take advantage of it?
To give the Summer Catalyst teams the benefit of perspective from fellow entrepreneurs, SC Director Bob Stringer led a conversation with Summer Venture Program alumni Alisson Amaral ’21, founder of CollegeSpot, and Jess Lynch ’13 MS’13 MBA’18, founder and CEO of Wishroute. They shared their SVP experiences and their best advice for the SC teams who are just starting out on their journey. Here are a few of our favorite takeaways:
Be open to feedback
Both Alisson and Jess encouraged the entrepreneurs to have hard conversations and to ask and listen for feedback. This feedback could potentially guide them in new and better directions during the summer – and beyond. Jess reflected on the advice and wisdom of SVP advisors and experts and how they helped her to decide upon a B2B business model. Alisson shared that receptivity and flexibility have stood him in good stead post-SVP as well. To navigate through challenges like the COVID-19 outbreak, he says, “Always be open to a new reality, a new possibility.”
Engage in community
During SVP, Jess set aside time to meet with each of the other teams one-on-one. She also took advantage of team update meetings to make “asks” of the community and to help others with their “asks.” These were two ways that she invested in the SVP community, which is such a critical part of the experience, and built relationships. Alisson seconded Jess, urging the SC entrepreneurs to get to know each other and “break down those barriers right in the beginning.”
During the summer, and more generally during the entrepreneurial journey, ups and downs are inevitable. Alisson and Jess offered meaningful advice, based on their own experiences, to help the SC entrepreneurs cope with this rollercoaster. When Alisson realized that it was important to share both victories and challenges with his fellow SVP entrepreneurs and began doing so, he tapped into so much support from the community. Jess summed it up: “The more vulnerable everyone can be with each other, the more progress you’ll make.”
We are so grateful to Alisson and Jess for reflecting on their experiences and sharing their advice, and we are excited to see how the Summer Catalyst teams progress this summer. To stay up to date, check out our Summer Catalyst blog posts and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.