Innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities are there for the taking if students dare.
As the recent Shoemaker Scholars’ Innovation Intersection demonstrated, daring has its rewards.
“We brought in the key players to answer all the questions students are interested in,” said Emmah Leu, an event organizer and a senior majoring in marketing, media, and creative advertising at the Kelley School of Business. “Things like how to get involved, the type of programming for entrepreneurship that’s available, and where they can begin in their startup. They got to see how all key players work together to facilitate their journey as an entrepreneur.”
The Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering event, held at the Shoemaker Innovation Center through the Luddy Innovation & Entrepreneurship Program, was designed to help students who are interested in innovation and entrepreneurship engage with service providers on campus and in the surrounding community.
It centered around StartupIU, a Shoemaker Scholars-managed initiative that seeks to grow Indiana University’s entrepreneurial and innovative community. Nineteen speakers from a variety of Bloomington and IU organizations used a panel format to answer questions, share information, and offer insights with students interested in starting or continuing their own startups.
The overall goal was clear: Be as inclusive as possible to ensure students from all IU Bloomington disciplines can participate in innovation and entrepreneurship.
“We want to make sure StartupIU is known as a one-stop shop for entrepreneurship,” Leu said. “We want to promote other clubs and bring everyone into one community. We hope to create an atmosphere for everybody to share ideas.”
The Shoemaker Scholars, a group made possible through the generosity of Donna and John Shoemaker, are at the forefront of that.
“They represent the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for resources on campus,” said Travis Brown, senior executive assistant dean of innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization.
“The Shoemaker Scholars help inform students, and it’s important that we ensure we’re giving the group a platform to effectively vet information on behalf of other students.”
Brown emphasized that the Shoemaker Scholars work for the student community and not the Shoemaker Innovation Center or for him.
“I guide them to ensure they’re being as fair as possible when sharing information from across campus,” he said.
Senior Shoemaker Scholar Katie Braun, another event organizer who is majoring in entrepreneurship and corporation innovation, as well as law ethics, said she wanted to make people aware of the resources at IU and around Bloomington.
“It’s hard to pull that information,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of new programs.
“This was also a chance for people to realize there are clubs and organizations they can be a part of outside of their individual schools. It’s a chance to broaden their perspectives.”
Shoemaker Scholar Sydney Schildiner, a sophomore majoring in finance and entrepreneurship, emphasized the different dynamics to entrepreneurship.
“It’s not for a specific group. It’s for everybody. We don’t want anyone to be intimidated. We want to get people excited about becoming part of this community.”
Leu said the event connected students with the entrepreneurship ecosystem at IU and in the surrounding community to “bridge on- and off-campus resources.”
Added Braun: “We are a strong, tight community. We hope others get involved in some way.”