Hey everyone! My name is Celine Schwesinger and I’m a current sophomore at BC concentrating in Operations Management and Entrepreneurship with a minor in Computer Science. Growing up, my family moved 5 times and lived on 3 continents so I’ve been accustomed to having to make new friends and adapting to new environments. While at the time it was extremely hard for me to pick up my things and leave all the relationships I had built, looking back, I wouldn’t change it for the world. These experiences taught me the power of connection.
I’ve learned that connection serves us in two ways: the feeling of belonging and the challenge of differing perspectives. Moving to completely new places with new cultures forced me to rely on and learn from new people what ‘normal’ means. Before moving to Tokyo, Japan, I was told of the respectful and peaceful culture that the Japanese practice. However, that didn’t really set in until I was patiently waiting for 5 minutes with a group of people at a red walking sign with no cars in sight for at least a mile. No matter the circumstance no one would dare jaywalk as that would be disrespecting to the rules set in place for their safety.
Fast forward a few years to my arrival at Boston College last year as an excited freshman ready to learn the ins and outs of entrepreneurship (becoming a boss lady, you know), I knew I could not just limit my learning to what’s in the textbooks. I wanted to talk to entrepreneurs in the ‘real world’ and learn through their experiences.
At the start of the Spring 2023 semester, I launched my platform, Creating the Path: Entrepreneurial Mindset. Starting as a podcast and transitioning to a blog, the platform’s aim is to connect the BC entrepreneurial community and share individual knowledge with a broader community of learners. Anxious of failing my ambitious goal of posting every week, I set out to meet as many people as I could: often sending dozens of cold emails to accomplish this. To my surprise, I was welcomed with open arms. I thought to myself deciding to join this community might be the best decision I have ever made.
Creating the Path launched with an interview with Professor Amy LaCombe, who discussed how capitalism incentivizes entrepreneurship within our community something we had discussed in her Portico class. I’ve learned Boston College is filled with passionate professors who are willing to help and just talk through anything you may be interested in. After my initial interview with Professor LaCombe, I realized the importance of incorporating various perspectives on entrepreneurship, which can be offered by experts in their respective fields. This led to engaging conversations with:
→ Professor Rita Owens on Business Communications
→ Professor Powell on Business Ethics
→ Professor Emily Kaiser on Entrepreneurial Law
I wanted the primary focus of the platform to show the rollercoaster ride of founders as they navigate the highs and lows in pursuit of their passions. From these stories, we can learn from their mistakes and reveal what it really means to be an entrepreneur. I quickly became connected to the Shea Center which supports a growing community of current students pursuing their own ventures right here on campus. Currently, the platform features these remarkable BC and Shea Center students:
→ Trent Tully (Class of ’23) — Founder of Venu
→ Ted Wind (Class of ’25) — Founder of Socion
→ Jay Wadhwa (Class of ’24) and Jorge Dickens (BC Class of ’24) — Co-founders of Split
→ Zarah Lakhani (Class of ’24) — Co-founder of Vitaliti
→ Jack Russel (Class of ’23) — CEO of MCEE
Outside of our immediate campus community, there are many alumni founders excited about the rise of entrepreneurship education on campus. I met Arthur Charles B. (Class of ‘22), founder at Spotdrop and Matthew Giovanniello (Class of ‘18), CEO of Frenalytics, at the annual Shea Tech and Entrepreneurship Fair. Their enduring commitment to giving back to the BC community has led to impactful collaborations with Boston College, including internships at Frenalytics, which has now welcomed multiple student cohorts from across the US.
But the entrepreneurship community isn’t just about founders; it’s also about the investors who fuel their dreams. So far I have had the privilege of talking with Peter Bell (Class of ‘86), investor with Amity Ventures and general partner at SSC Venture, a venture fund, startup accelerator, and mentor network for Boston College startups. In the future, I plan to invite more venture capitalists to the platform to explore their outside perspectives on what it takes to excel as a founder and understand how to analyze a startup's potential.
Due to my upbringing, it has always been my dream to pursue entrepreneurship in an international way, and that is exactly what the reach of the BC entrepreneurship community provides. Over the summer, I got the opportunity to study abroad in the ‘Startup Nation’ of Israel. For 4 weeks, 16 BC students were invited into some of the most renowned incubators the country offers and were introduced to their current cohort of entrepreneurs. I even got hands-on experience working with an early-stage startup called Robbee Contech which is developing the first autonomous tiling robot.
Through all of these conversations and experiences, I’ve learned how strong the BC and entrepreneurial communities are. I’ve enjoyed connecting different edges of the sphere of these networks, and it’s helped me to better appreciate and learn from the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
My three biggest takeaways from the past year on this journey are:
- You don’t have to be a founder to be part of the startup ecosystem:
Quite frankly not everyone is meant to be a founder, and that’s okay. You can get involved in the startup world in many different professions.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions:
In the beginning, I got really nervous before every interview because I was so excited to meet these people that I looked up to, but I did not want to sound dumb in front of them, We are all still learning. I had to get comfortable with admitting that I did not know something and to ask for clarification instead of nodding and pretending to understand. Everyone remembers a time when they were first learning about something, so just ask!
3. You are not alone:
Quoted from Forbes, “…entrepreneurs can feel alone, with no support and no understanding from those around them.” Entrepreneurship has a tendency to be an extremely lonely journey as the odds are stacked against you and the journey you are embarking on is completely different than any other career path, especially as a solo founder. But at BC, the strength of the community creates a support system for entrepreneurs to support and share experiences with one another.
What is the entrepreneurial mindset? Click here to check out Creating the Path: Entrepreneurial Mindset to see answers from the BC community.
Thanks for reading! We are Start@Shea, the student executive team of the Edmund H. Shea Jr. Center for Entrepreneurship at Boston College.
If you want to learn more about who we are, what we do, and our upcoming events, please feel free to visit our website. You can also subscribe to our newsletter here, and if you have any further questions or comments, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!