Seton Hall University students pitch a business idea with teammates at the ICSB Academy Cup.
Stillman School of Business student entrepreneurs recently sharpened their business startup skills at a unique global entrepreneurship academy sponsored by The International Council for Small Business (ICSB) and George Washington University (GWU). The seventh annual Academy Cup assembled 90 student entrepreneurs from the United States and nine foreign countries for an intensive boot camp style event held from July 3 through July 8 on the GWU campus in Washington, DC
“The week was one that I will never forget, and I cannot wait to apply what I’ve learned in both my personal and professional life,” said Peter Colon, a senior and member of the Buccino Leadership Institute. Also representing the Stillman School of Business and Seton Hall University at the academy were senior Ty Haas, junior Tsion Stevens and sophomore Kyara Syed. “I am looking forward to continuing my entrepreneurial pursuits with the new knowledge and connections I have made because of ICSB,” Haas added.
University Provost Katia Passerini, Ph.D., a leading member of ICSB, participated in the Academy Cup as both an event speaker and mentor. “I am delighted that our entrepreneurial students were able to join the ICSB Academy activities and work in teams from Universities across the globe,” Provost Passerini said. “Seton Hall is committed to expanding innovation, creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit across all our students and we are thrilled that our students have stories to share and will be able to act as mentors to other students.”
Susan Scherreik, MBA, director of the Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, also served as an Academy Cup mentor. “Our students were terrific representatives of the Stillman School of Business and Seton Hall University, and we are very proud of them,” she said. “It was an incredible opportunity to network with dynamic student entrepreneurs from all over the world.”
The students participated in a series of workshops, lectures and brainstorming sessions designed to challenge, stimulate and build their entrepreneurial skills. Event speakers stressed the importance of building new ventures that benefit the community and society. Students and mentors discussed how businesses can incorporate the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals into their planning, and the importance of measuring business success by the triple bottom line of profit, people and planet. Additionally, the students meet with social entrepreneurs who provide job training and job placement to Washington’s low-income residents, as well as work to improve impoverished neighborhoods.
Seton Hall University students Peter Colon and Kyara Syed are recognized with their teammates for winning the Academy Cup business competition.
During the week, the students worked in teams with their mentors to develop innovative social entrepreneurship business models. They tackled issues that included reducing carbon emissions, helping third-world hospitals, eliminating online sexual harassment, and boosting student volunteerism on campus. The highlight of the Academy was a business pitch competition evaluated by an independent judging panel. As members of the winning team, Cash Money Contractors, Stillman students Colon and Syed and their teammates were awarded a prestigious ICSB Cup at the final evening’s ICSB Gala.
The Academy Cup was not all work and no play. The students toured a textiles museum on the GWU campus, watched a play at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, viewed the annual fireworks display at the National Mall, and attended a Washington Nationals baseball game. “I would like to especially thank ICSB for organizing a fun filled week and for introducing me to entrepreneurs, future policy makers and leaders of the world,” Syed said. Her views were echoed by fellow Seton Hall student Stevens. “Everything was amazing, but I want to truly emphasize the connections that were made. It was inspiring to be around other world changers from many different walks of life,” he said.
In addition to the United States, students at this year’s event hailed from Argentina, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Switzerland, India, Indonesia and Malaysia. Each year the Academy Cup is hosted in a different country and draws students from around the world. Commented Provost Passerini: “Innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship are going global, and I look forward to next year’s ‘ICSB Academy Cup’ in South Korea — we will be ready!”