The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Summer 2014 Recap: Kicking it Off with The Startup Experience

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This week, the Rockefeller Center looks back at the events that defined Summer 2014.

In case you missed it, this summer kicked off with entrepreneurship at the new DEN Innovation Center @ 4Currier through The Startup Experience workshop.

On Friday June 21st and Saturday June 22nd, Dartmouth students, staff, and faculty as well as residents of the Upper Valley participated in The Startup Experience, an experiential crash course on high-impact entrepreneurship and social innovation led by serial entrepreneur Henrik Scheel. Participants sought to tackle difficult social issues in the areas of health, education, and poverty, and they generated ideas for social-oriented businesses to address these specific challenges. After creating ideas for products and/or services and a business model concept, teams entered into a pitch contest where a panel of judges determined winners based upon five criteria: understanding of the problem, understanding of the market, value proposition of the new idea, feasibility, and uniqueness of the idea.

Participants spent Friday evening learning the skills necessary to begin approaching problems. They created teams based upon a balance of entrepreneurial personality types that would serve to simulate startup companies. On Saturday, participants focused on developing their innovation and defining a business model that would potentially help their product achieve scale for broad social impact and sustainability.

Faced with limited time, teams had to scope the problem, market and feasibility ideate a solution, sort their different ideas, and produce a prototype for their product. To conduct need-finding and research the market, teams had the chance to reach out to potential customers by performing interviews of potential users. Coaches mentoring each team urged students to devise sustainable solutions and break out of established patterns to use new modes of problem solving. Teams used the Business Model Canvas, a tool that enabled them to define the business strategy and key components of their startup ideas.

After an energetic day of teamwork and brainstorming, teams pitched their startup ideas to a panel of judges including Jack O’Toole T’14 of FreshAir Sensor and Professor Lorie Loeb of the Dartmouth Computer Science Department and DALI Lab.

The three winners of the Startup Experience were ED.me, Foodbaby, and Dia-BeatIt.

First Place: ED.me
ED.me is a social network that connects elementary teachers across schools and academic fields, providing them with a platform to share resources and advice and socialize around their professional experiences. This network would allows educators to collaborate with their colleagues elsewhere, conduct virtual field trips with their students, and contact experts on specific subject content. Group members Karna Adam '16, Matthew Jin '17, Maya Wilcher '16, Sam Seder '16, Sarah Morgan, and Joseph (Jake) Bayer '16 won a chance to have dinner at the PINE Restaurant with Dartmouth President Phil Hanlon and his wife Gail Gentes.

Second Place: Foodbaby
Foodbaby is a subscription service that provides affordable farm-to-door delivery of pre-proportioned, nutritious recipes and ingredients for pregnant women in urban areas. The service would partner with healthcare companies, clinics, and markets to simplify prenatal nutrition, an area often overlooked due to a lack of knowledge and access to knowledge regarding proper pre-birth nutrition. Foodbaby group members Walker Sales '16, Tucker Oddleifson '16, Lauren Yeager '16, Claire Yao '16, and Sameer Bansal '16 won dinner at Molly’s Restaurant with the Dartmouth Office of Entrepreneurship & Technology Transfer, Lorie Loeb, and Jack O’Toole.

Third Place: Dia-BeatIt
Dia-BeatIt is an application intended to provide young working adults at high risk for diabetes with quick and accessible resources that assist in reducing their risk. The application would record blood sugar, calories, and physical activity. It would also would place users into teams that motivate them to be consistent with their healthy lifestyle choices. Focusing on young adults working on tight time schedules, the application would provide a directory for users of restaurants and markets with quickly accessible and affordable healthy foods. Group members Felicia Jia '16, Invo Chami '16, Gregory Ho GR, Patrick Lewis '16, and Zonia R. Moore '16 won Dartmouth sweatshirts.

Overall, the workshop was a great opportunity for members of the Dartmouth community to build creative confidence and obtain many of the tools necessary to identify the opportunities to solve real social problems and learn some of the key components of creating a working foundation for a viable company.

This workshop was co-sponsored by The Office of the President, Nelson A. Rockefeller Center, Collis Center for Student Involvement, Dartmouth Athletics, Hopkins Center for the Arts, Office of Entrepreneurship & Technology Transfer, and Office of Pluralism and Leadership

Related:
· “Using an Entrepreneurial Mindset to Make Social Impact” panel discussion at Rocky
· Startup workshop teaches business for social change in The Dartmouth
· The Rockefeller Center Launches New Social Entrepreneurship Course!

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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences