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Student entrepreneurs make global mark

Photo courtesy Dan McCarthy.

Northeastern University has one of the best student-run entrepreneurship clubs in the world, according to an online community that ranked the top 20 programs on college campuses around the globe.

The Northeastern Entrepreneurs Club was ranked sixth out of 20 by FledgeWing, a online network that provides aspiring student-entrepreneurs with the tools to develop, build and launch innovative companies. The Web Startup Group at Brigham Young University ranked No. 1.

Club president Greg Skloot attributed Northeastern’s high ranking to the students’ prominent role in each aspect of the group’s activities. “We’re entirely student run in every one of our activities,” he said. “At a lot of universities, there are these great programs, but there is a faculty member running them. With us, we do everything ourselves.”

That student-run element is what draws so many to the club, said faculty advisor Gordon Adomdza, an assistant professor of entrepreneurship and innovation. Students are naturally more excited in a program they have built from the ground up, just like the businesses they aspire to lead.

“What we are really celebrating here is the big way in which Northeastern students have embraced the concept of student-led extra-curricular entrepreneurship education being pioneered here at Northeastern,” Adomdza said. “Our student entrepreneurs across campus have shown that when they take responsibility for mentoring their peers, big things happen and they are able to generate a lot of excitement.

Harry Lane, acting dean of the College of Business Administration, praised the club for developing the next generation of business leaders on Northeastern’s campus. “The club helps to foster a culture of entrepreneurship within the College of Business Administration and across the entire University,” he said.

The Entrepreneurs Club runs several events and initiatives. The Entrepreneurship Immersion Program, for example, connects growing companies with an enthusiastic student panel through a semester-long partnership. The program enables students to develop business partnerships and cultivate potential job opportunities while providing businesses with contemporary knowledge and opinion through multifaceted student critique and analysis.

The group regularly hosts CEOs from around the country, such as Monster.com founder Jeff Taylor, who extolled Northeastern’s student-entrepreneurs. “My goal is to help push out the world’s best innovators,” Taylor said. “I’m proud to be engaged with the Northeastern Entrepreneurs Club and cannot wait to see what these outstanding student entrepreneurs can create.”

This year, the Northeastern Entrepreneurs Club will launch a new program in collaboration with BUILD, a California nonprofit organization that helps students in low-income and underperforming high schools prepare for college.

The Northeastern BUILD chapter will be the organization’s first university-based chapter. The members will plan and execute a series of entrepreneurship workshops for Boston-area high school students, develop curriculum and provide instruction and mentoring to help students build successful businesses. The program will run throughout the academic year.

“We are really all over the spectrum with exciting ideas,” said Skloot.

The club includes students from nearly every discipline in the University. A computer science major once offered a course on computer coding so other members of the club could use those skills in creating their own business.

“This was a member who thought, ‘This is a good idea and I want to run it,’ ” Skloot said. “When your members move with these ideas, there is so much more energy and enthusiasm and that really is the culture we are trying to foster.”

The club will next meet on today at 6 p.m. in 150 Dodge Hall where Jonathan Kay, the “ambassador of buzz” for the online phone system Grasshopper, will address the students.