3Qs: NEXPO highlights emerging entrepreneurs

Each semester IDEA, Northeastern’s student-run venture accelerator, hosts NEXPO, which highlights up-and-coming ventures and connects budding entrepreneurs with seasoned industry professionals and members of the university community. We asked IDEA CEO Chris Wolfel, a senior in the D’Amore-McKim School of Business, to preview the event, which takes place on Wednesday from 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the Cabot Cage.

What will attendees learn about entrepreneurship at Northeastern?

Right now when people think of Northeastern, the first things that come to mind are the university’s co-op program and its global initiatives. But within the next few years, we’ll undoubtedly become just as famous for entrepreneurship and innovation.

NEXPO will let attendees see that anyone, regardless of age or industry of interest, can become an entrepreneur. It will also reveal to anyone who doesn’t know yet that Northeastern is a global leader when it comes to producing entrepreneurs, leaders, and great companies.

People who come to NEXPO will be able to meet like-minded people, whether they’re looking to found a company or join a startup. More than anything, NEXPO offers an opportunity to see what entrepreneurship at Northeastern is all about.

How does NEXPO fit into Northeastern’s growing culture of entrepreneurship?

NEXPO showcases some of the best entrepreneurial activities Northeastern has to offer, including campus organizations like the Entrepreneurs Club, the Social Enterprise Institute, and the Health Science Entrepreneurs. But the main draw is the 35 ventures from IDEA, which include spin-outs from research labs, and comprise students and alumni from every college at Northeastern.

Northeastern’s momentum in entrepreneurship is becoming more and more apparent: The E-Club is one of the largest student groups on campus; IDEA works with more than 125 ventures and awards more than $200,000 in funding each year; and the Center for Entrepreneurship Education is continuing to advance all of these initiatives and more. NEXPO is an opportunity to see firsthand the whole range of programs that make Northeastern one of the top entrepreneurship programs in the world.

The ventures showcasing their businesses at this year’s NEXPO represent some of IDEA’s most successful startups. What opportunities does NEXPO present for them to get to the next level?

All the ventures at NEXPO, each of which is formally enrolled in IDEA, get the opportunity to receive early feedback on their business plans and develop relationships with potential customers. For more advanced ventures, NEXPO also provides the opportunity to meet students who may be interested in joining their team as an intern or even a co-op. NEXPO also attracts investors and general business enthusiasts, all of whom can serve as valuable connections, provide critical feedback, and sometimes even set up a meeting that leads to a capital investment.