Today’s Health Sciences Entrepreneurs are full of ideas, passion, visions and dreams to help improve the world we collectively share.
As I witness the evolving entrepreneurial landscape first hand, and reflect on the resources young entrepreneurs have available to them now, there is one thing that remains constant. The constant is that successful entrepreneurs effectively leverage environments of continuing education, hard work and mentorship as they look to pave an efficient and successful path ahead.
In just a few years there will be an entire graduating class entering the workforce who know nothing other than a world that includes Google. Today’s entrepreneurs have an affinity for information & data and have access to infinite amounts of both that when leveraged correctly, and applied to their ideas, can result in some of the world’s greatest new ventures.
As an entrepreneur myself, and now a mentor to some of today’s budding entrepreneurs, I look back and see how entrepreneurship wasn’t something that was in the cards growing up, in fact, it was perceived to be an “alternative route” if we wanted to pursue the idea of starting a company.
Instead, we were focused on our careers and our professions.
10 years ago I founded Northeastern University’s Health Sciences Entrepreneurs Program for two main reasons. The first, as a way to give back to the Northeastern community that had given me many of the resources I needed to be in the position I am today. And the second, to provide entrepreneurs with an intimate setting to access valuable sources of continuing education, from like-minded individuals, who have already walked a million miles in their shoes.
Over the last 10 years the program has flourished, with more than 40 companies being successfully mentored. The success of our program, and our ability to withstand the test of time, is due in large part to the four pillars at the core our mission and our approach to entrepreneurial mentoring. These four pillars are agnostic of the generation in which your entrepreneurial journey is traveling through:
Our ability as a program to adapt to the evolving venture is also a testament to the contributions of our successful, dedicated and selfless mentors who are committed to the program’s pillars and also to the Northeastern University community.
Without our mentors selfless desire to give back, and in turn, pay forward the lessons of success each has gleaned through their own entrepreneurial journey, we wouldn’t be in the position we are today; A position that has been proven to withstand the test of time and continue to provide new entrepreneurs with the resources and education needed to become successful and efficient in their own entrepreneurial journeys.
As The Health Sciences Entrepreneurs Program looks to the future, and is mindful of the generation gap and the evolving entrepreneurial landscape, we need to remain true to our pillars.
As I see it though, there is one pillar in particular that will become more critical to focus on going forward as we “mind the gap” between when we were new entrepreneurs, and the entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow.
That pillar is funding.
There are more angel investment groups now than there have ever been before and there are also more ideas, and more prospective entrepreneurs, than ever before.
This paradigm shift in the entrepreneurial landscape has created a truly competitive market where no single producer and no single consumer can dictate how the market will operate.
The competition for investors’ dollars is fierce and we as mentors, friends and community members need to place a greater emphasis on funding and look for ways to expand opportunities in this area to the new entrepreneurs and the younger companies in our community.
Helping our communities’ entrepreneurs gain a leg up on their competition by providing exceptional education, resources and opportunities in this area of funding, to help differentiate them from the larger competitive market, is something that we need to insight action around.
In the same regard which I identified the need for education more than 10 years ago, and founded this group on the premise that education from like minded individuals was paramount to the success of new entrepreneurs, we must not forget the students of tomorrow and the differing education that they will need to leave their footprints on the world with their successful new ventures.
As mentors we must look to each other and work together to better understand the needs of the millennial generation and find new ways to impart our collective wisdom on tomorrow’s youth while still sharing the advice and guidance that has made each of us successful at the ventures we have guided through our journey.
If you’ve ever ridden the subway in London, or “the Tube” as they affectionately refer to it as, you will see that as you step from the landing platform onto the subway car, a sign that reads, “Mind the Gap.” The sign is not new, nor is the subway system, but yet the sign remains there to help those traveling avoid any missteps or stumbles as they go from point A to point B.
As mentors we must be the ones to mind the gap between the generation we became entrepreneurs in and the generation that is getting their start now. We must remember the four pillars that this group was founded on and help mentor our students so that they don’t stumble on their way from point A to point B.