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Fostering a new generation of entrepreneurs

Photo by Heratch Ekmekjian.

Networking with entrepreneurs and alumni, fourth-year chemical engineering major Ravi Patel said, has transformed his education and opened his eyes to endless opportunities.

Attending the Health Sciences Entrepreneurs annual student-mentoring event as a freshman laid a foundation for his success. Since then, Patel has sparked an interest in entrepreneurship and completed a co-op this spring with GE Water and Process Technologies in Burlington, Mass.

“These interactions have given me exposure to new ideas,” Patel said. “It’s very valuable hearing the stories alumni tell. I won’t be starting a company tomorrow, but they will be there to help mentor me when I get to that stage.”

Patel was one of nearly 100 people who attended the Health Sciences Entrepreneurs Seventh Annual Mentoring event, which was held last month in the Curry Student Center ballroom and cosponsored by the Bouvé College of Health Sciences and the Woburn, Mass.-based laboratory services firm United Esoterics.

Students networked with entrepreneurs and alumni and listened to a panel of speakers discuss the diverse range of venture opportunities in the health sciences sector.

Christopher Ford, BA’73, chairman and cofounder of American Renal Associates, Inc., moderated the panel. Ford, who worked for 25 years before starting his own company, encouraged students to turn their interests into new and exciting business opportunities.

“You all have it in you to become a successful entrepreneur,” he said. “You just need to believe in yourself and go for it.”

Panelist Cristina Csimma, PharmD, MHP’91, formerly the vice president of drug development at Virdante Pharmaceuticals and principal at Clarus Ventures, challenged students to embrace the constantly changing business landscape.

“Look at the economy over the last few years. Look at the changes in health care in the last three to five years,” Csimma said. “There’s going to be more of that. So all these might be challenges, but they’re also opportunities for you.”

Visit www.alumni.neu.edu/healthsciences for more details on HSE and to view the recording from the event.