StartUp Term Debuts; Students Launch Entrepreneurial Work
April 15, 2015
Sixteen Knox College students are pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams through the College's StartUp Term, an immersive learning experience where teams of students combine their technological and business talents to develop products and services.
StartUp Term, also known as Kickstart, was created by Knox faculty members John Dooley and Jaime Spacco from computer science and John Spittell from business and management.
While StartUp Term launched with the 2015 spring academic term in March, preparations began long before that. During Knox's fall and winter academic terms, the faculty members organized a series of "mixer" events to help students formulate ideas and put together teams. Each prospective team had to submit a project proposal and marketing plan before being accepted into the program.
Now that the spring term is under way, the three faculty members are teaching StartUp Term seminars on entrepreneurship and project management, and they also are available to help the students navigate problems.
Students, who are working out of an office building in downtown Galesburg, spend the bulk of their time collaborating within their teams to bring startup plans to life. That process involves numerous tasks, including building websites and researching potential markets for products and services.
At the end of the academic term, each Kickstart team will make a formal presentation to a team of judges, including members of the Galesburg business community.
StartUp Term students say they appreciate being able to concentrate on their projects in a professional office space away from campus.
"You're in a business environment," said Matt Klich ‘15 of the iNQUiSi team. "This is an incubator, so we spin ideas off each other."
Through StartUp Term, students are learning first-hand about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. Joe Miao ‘15, who manages the MDLX team, says he is gaining confidence as a leader. As a result, his team is working more efficiently, he says.
All four teams are keeping blogs about their StartUp Term experiences.
Below is a brief look at the KickStart teams and their projects:
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Farmet: Inez Pena '15, Marc Spehlmann '15, Matthew Timmerberg '15, and Angel Zuaznabal '15 are working to create a network between small farmers and businesses to increase awareness and availability of high-quality, organically produced food.
iNQUiSi: Mike Gerten '16, Matt Klich '15, Nate Moore '15, and Cody Sehl '15 are working on an application designed to engage students and increase retention of new material. The application will offer a simple platform for facilitators to ask questions, while allowing students to respond from any device.
MDLX: Jinglun Ding '17, Laura Lueninghoener '16, Joe Miao '15, and Anda Xu '15 are working to promote a sustainable, local sharing economy on college campuses through a web interface. It will connect people who have unwanted items with other people who might want those items.
Tetra Clock: Austin Finley '15, Michael Graf '15, Sam Hart '15, and Gayoung Moon '16 are building plug-ins designed to help new video game creators by shortening their learning curve. The plug-ins will enable new game developers to "get into the ‘fun' part of building a game" more quickly, the team says.