Pictured: Leah Lizarondo, Co-Founder & CEO of 412 Food Rescue. Courtesy of Laura Petrilla Photography When I was first pitching my nonprofit tech platform to funders, I was often met with skepticism about a key component of the model: “You’re really going to rely on volunteers to do all this?” The answer, even back then, was an unequivocal “yes.” Five years and an incredibly effective network of 25,000 volunteers later, I hope more nonprofit leaders and donors are seeing what I see.
Pictured: Gabriela (Gaby) Isturiz, Founder of eBillingHub & Aderant (formerly Bellefield), Partner at Fund XX, & Innovation Advisor at Bryce Catalyst, winning the "EY Entrepreneur of the Year" award. In 1996, I decided to move from Venezuela to the United States to pursue better opportunities, start a master’s degree, and, ultimately, get a good job in technology. Doing so meant leaving behind my family, friends, culture, and pretty much starting a life from scratch in a country where I couldn’t even speak the language well and knew no one. It was a journey full of challenges and sacrifices. I needed to study harder, go the extra mile, and work harder than anyone else to compensate for my handicaps.
The advice I give to all entrepreneurs is “that in all things in life, choose your partners wisely”. But what does that mean? It really applies at all levels.
Are you thinking about meeting with one of our entrepreneurs in residence (EIRs)? If so, you might be wondering if there’s anything you need to prepare ahead of your EIR 1-on-1. While each of our EIRs’ meetings take on an individualized approach, there are some steps that each of them have in common. In our newest blog post, our entrepreneurs in residence have created a helpful outline as to what students should generally expect when meeting with an EIR for the very first time.
In our newest blog post, we sat down with Babs Carryer, our newly retired Director, as she reflects on her time at Pitt and the Big Idea Center and shares her fondest Big Idea Center memories, how the Big Idea Center has changed over the years, what her hope is for the Center moving forward, and what she’s looking forward to during retirement!
Photo courtesy of James Knox, Pittsburgh Tribune Review Henne Jewelers was founded in 1887 by my great-grandfather Rudolf J. Henne, two years before Pitt formed its first collegiate football team. For 134 years the business has grown and evolved, led by three more generations of Henne children, including myself. While remaining in the East End of Pittsburgh, Henne Jewelers changed storefronts three times. It became known as the Pittsburgh destination for engagement rings and wedding bands, and in 1999 it became an Official Rolex Jeweler. Today it continues to be part of the fabric of Pittsburgh, having served tens of thousands of customers from across the region, the nation, and even internationally. Being the fourth-generation and current owner of Henne Jewelers, I believe that our customer care has been the key driver in Henne Jeweler’s legacy, and is the reason for our continued success. When it comes to creating a dazzling customer experience, here’s my advice:
There are a multitude of reasons why you should start a startup while you’re a student, but here are the top ones from my experience working with student innovators and entrepreneurs.
Pitt senior Heather Dillman (SCI '22) recently completed her experience as a Technology and Innovation intern for banking giant PNC Bank! Follow along as Heather reflects on her internship, what PNC has taught her about innovation, and what advice she has for those interested in pursuing innovation and entrepreneurship!
Big ideas come at the intersection of a problem that people want to have solved and an easy-to-implement solution. The solution is an equal, but often overlooked, element of this intersection. It is important for a solution to really work for the customer, and you need to spend just as much time testing your solution as you did validating your problem. If people want a problem solved, they will find their way to the best solution (and you want that to be yours!).
Lauren Townsend, Co-Founder of Millie's Homemade Ice Cream At Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream, we like to keep it real. Real relationships, real ingredients. Building partnerships is core to our mission to #spreadLove in our community through the simple joy of scratch-made ice cream. Whether we’re supporting a local purveyor, local non-profit, or a local brand collaboration, we’ve always strived to be an asset in our hometown (shoutout: Pittsburgh makes this really easy!).