Living Entrepreneurship Blog / Babson Entrepreneurs

Discovering the Entrepreneur Within: Babson Students & Startup Island

This is a guest blog post from Josh Gershon, Founder of Startup Island.

Startup Island is a personal and professional development program, designed to connect entrepreneurial-minded students through a travel experience.

Since the companies first trip in March 2016, Babson students have become an integral part of the Startup Island community, and have been largely impacted by their Startup Island experiences.

Here are a few reflections from fellow Babson students, and recent Startup Island alumni:

Hanson Grant: Founder, Think Board

Hanson Grant

SI: How would you describe your experience on Startup Island?
H: My experience on Startup was phenomenal. I was able to give a workshop, participate in workshops, connect with some incredible people, get inspired, and walk away with a new outlook on my personal life and business goals. 

SI: Has Startup Island helped you accomplish anything personally or professionally since your trip?
H: I have a new awareness of my actions and my goals. I have started to understand why I am doing what I’m doing, which plays a huge role in determining how and what I do. 

Lauren Mariano: E-Tower

Lauren Mariano

SI: In your opinion, what is the value/impact of the Startup Island community?

L: Accountability. We were extremely intentional from the start to the end of the week, not only with each other, with ourselves. To this day, I am in contact with Startup Islanders, supporting them in all their goals. Startup Island is valuable because the trip goes beyond that one week. It’s a network and a lifestyle. 

SI: How did SI change you?
L: Startup Island was the kind of thing that I needed, but didn’t realize I needed it. It changed me tremendously. Speaking with multiple coaches, mentors, and students provided new perspectives. The biggest change that I’ve implemented into my life is the concept of reframing. For example, rather than saying “I have to do work,” the reframe is “I get to do work.” Startup Island broadened my perspective and consciousness. 

SI: What was a major takeaway from your trip?
Never in my life have I experienced such accelerated personal growth. To this day, that continues with the help of the Startup Island community. Whether it be a solid morning routine, or a motivational mantra, I am constantly inspired to strive towards personal growth. 

Professionally, I have received guidance on ways to attack an idea I am passionate about.

Jonathan Marchetti: E-Tower

Jonathan Marchetti

SI: Why did you decide to go on Startup Island?
J: Because I decided to take a chance. I was stuck at a point in my professional and collegiate career where I wanted to do big things, but had no idea where to begin or how to achieve my dreams. I was scared to take the next step. There’s only so much you can learn in a classroom, and personal development of professional self is not one of them. I needed to learn how to focus, and self-motivate myself. Not let the world eat at me or get to me. I needed to truly find myself and learn what it takes to propel my momentum. Hearing about the SI experience from a friend, I took the chance (keep in mind this was also my first time traveling alone, and only my second out of country, which alone is a big leap). Believe me when I say it lived up to all I expected and I improved vastly as an entrepreneur afterwards. Refining my entrepreneurial mentality and the personal side of my business mind through SI was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.

SI: How would you describe your experience on Startup Island?
J: Enlightening. I came in afraid to take a leap and expand my network, and left with greater connections than before. I gained a new-found motivation to put myself in uncomfortable situations to further refine my entrepreneurial skills. We learned refocusing techniques, self-motivation techniques, and heard out the stories of other entrepreneurs that both succeeded and failed, but were relatable to us as individuals. This is often hard to come by in the entrepreneurial space, when you’re craning your neck to look at the Elon Musk’s and Peter Thiels’ of the world. 

SI: What was one, or a few, major takeaways from your trip?
J: Self-confidence over self-doubt. I came in convinced I had accomplished very little in my life and was messing something up. I was told to write down everything I’ve done, and in the end the list was surprisingly long. I was discrediting myself for writing business plans, creating financial sheets, and doing all of this business development work, because I hadn’t been able to monetize and create a revenue stream. But I did it, I did the work and had put a lot of effort into something I’m passionate about, and there is no reason to put myself down when I had done much more than so many others. 

To learn more about Startup Island and how you can join the upcoming spring break trips, visit