Getting Involved with Entrepreneurship at Dartmouth
Even before coming to Dartmouth, I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. From having lemonade stands during the summers of my childhood to creating a start-up in high school, my passion for entrepreneurship only grew with age, and I was excited to dive deeper into this fascinating world of start-ups in college. Throughout the past three years, I have done just that, most notably by getting as involved with the DEN (The Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network). So, here are the top ways I have been able to explore my passion for entrepreneurship through the DEN.
Being the undergrad advisor for the DEN in Residence Living Learning Community has been one of my greatest experiences since coming to Dartmouth. I oversee about 45 students, many of whom are working on their own ventures that include things like a patented drone delivery start-up and a bio-med venture on its second round of investor funding. However, having your own business is not a prerequisite to living on the floor. Rather, we also have students who have never dabbled in the realm of start-ups and are hoping to learn from their peers as well as individuals who are well-versed in coding, design, or finance looking to team up with students who have already started their own businesses. Each week, all DEN in Residence students come together for Monday night "DEN dinners" where we are often joined by alumni entrepreneurs, investors, or professors who speak about their own entrepreneurial journeys. These dinners provide an opportunity for students to both catch up with one another and learn from some pretty accomplished and knowledgeable guests.
The DEN in Residence LLC is, in large part, a community of inspiring, ambitious individuals that fosters a sense of creativity, innovation, and excitement among residents. Students can choose to apply to live in the DEN in Residence LLC as early as the summer before their freshman year, making entrepreneurship in college very accessible to any interested student.
Though on-campus programming through the DEN has greatly heightened my understanding of what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur and what it's like to start a business from scratch, I knew that the best way to really internalize these lessons was to intern with a start-up during one of my off-terms. After speaking with my mentors in Women in Business, I was connected with a technology-travel start-up in Mexico City that aims to combat cultural commodification in Latin America. Although this start-up, like most other new businesses, was not able to offer me a stipend, I was awarded complete funding for this 10-week internship through the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network's Wily Initiative Grant.
The DEN Wily Initiative Grant is set up to fund a few students each term who plan to intern with businesses around the world that can be generally classified as tech start-ups. Thanks to the generosity of the DEN, I had a very formative and educational experience in Mexico City without having to worry about funding. To me, utilizing these funds to test out different job possibilities and learn what it's like to be a part of a company during its infancy has been essential to allowing me to realize what I wish to do with my future, and I am extremely grateful to the DEN for making that possible.
Twice a year, the DEN invites a select group of undergraduate students to engage in a week-long, off-campus trip to visit with start-ups and alumni in various cities around the United States, including San Francisco, New York, Seattle, and Washington, DC. Having participated in both the New York and Washington D.C. trips, I can say for certain that these treks have allowed me to see first-hand what it takes to turn a dorm room start-up into a profitable business, and meeting with alumni provided unprecedented access to some pretty accomplished alumni entrepreneurs and investors. Despite getting caught in a blizzard during our trek to Washington D.C. this past March, my peers and I had the opportunity to meet alumni and tour start-up companies that spanned the fields of education, fashion, fintech, bio-med, and social entrepreneurship!
So, that's how I got involved with entrepreneurship at Dartmouth. The DEN (soon to be renamed the "Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship") has some incredible opportunities that have allowed me to meet inspiring young entrepreneurs as well as learn from more experienced alums. While there are certainly other ways to get involved with entrepreneurship at Dartmouth -- i.e. through the Tuck School of Business and the Rockefeller Center -- the DEN is truly a resource like no other.