Entrepreneurship is so much more than just building startups. It is a way of thinking, a way of working, a way of being.
Entrepreneurial thinking helps you become flexible and adaptable. It encourages you to find opportunity in chaos. It helps you adopt a “move fast and break things” mentality to rapidly iterate your way to a great outcome. Entrepreneurial thinkers are everywhere – in startups, in big companies, in non profits, in educational institutes, even in the government.
We help you develop and apply this mindset and skillset via academic courses and co-curricular programs and activities. Read on to learn more.
We provide academic courses that offer practical, real-world entrepreneurial experiences and teaching to help prepare students to become active citizens and leaders across all disciplines and segments of society and to continuously change the world for the better. Students can either take our courses as electives or enroll in one of our two entrepreneurship minors.
CO-CURRICULAR PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES
1x1 coaching and mentorship
We offer regular 30-minute pop-up coaching hours for entrepreneurial students to chat with an experienced entrepreneur about issues related to their entrepreneurial journey and career choices, or to challenges they are encountering in the process of developing their ideas and building their ventures. Coaches are a mixture of faculty members and volunteer alumni with a wealth of experience building new ventures in different sectors, in both startup and corporate settings.
We also have a highly engaged community of alumni volunteers who provide episodic mentorship to students on an as-needed basis.
Educational Workshops: The Jumbo Cafes
The Jumbo Cafes are informal, intimate educational workshops designed to help you learn how to start and build a venture of any kind. Jumbo Cafes are held every Wednesday from 12-1pm, and is open to the entire Tufts Community. Jumbo Cafes are taught by faculty, board members, alumni and other experienced entrepreneurs in our community.
In AY 2020-2021 we will be offering themed workshop series. Each workshop is interesting in its own right, and each series is designed to make sense as a collection of workshops. Following are the two workshop series we are offering this year.
- Getting started series (5 workshops in support of the Ideas Competition in Fal 2020): Sept 30, Oct 7, 14, 21, 28
- Deep dive series (7 workshops in support of the $100K New Ventures Competition and beyond in Spring 2021): February 3, 10, 17, 24, March 3, 10, April 5
Meetups and speaker events
Entrepreneurial Speaker Series
The Entrepreneurial Speaker Series are events featuring guest speakers who are entrepreneurs, investors, industry experts and other thought leaders. Following are a few upcoming events in Fall 2020.
- The Politics Industry: Using Innovation to Save Our Democracy: Thursday, October 22 @ 12 PM ET. Co-sponsored by Tisch College, JumboVote, the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center, and the Political Science Department.
- VC/PE Series, Part 1: Venture Capitalist Panel: Tuesday October 10, 7:00-8:15pm, featuring Parul Singh, Principal, Founder Collective, and Reed Sturtevant, General Partner, MIT Engine.
- VC/PE Series, Part 2: Private Equity Panel: November 16th, 6:30 – 7:45 pm, featuring Chuck Auster, Partner, Runtide Capital, Peter Rothschild, Managing Member, Daroth Capital, and Ben Carson Jr., Co-Founder and Partner, Interprise Partners.
Founder’s Workshop: Learn from entrepreneurs
Our Founder’s Workshops are longer-format events featuring innovators and entrepreneurs who have built both large and small businesses and social enterprises. Successful entrepreneurs will tell the stories of how they got started and key lessons learned via keynote speeches, panel discussions, mini lectures, and Q&A sessions. Take advantage of the opportunity to network and connect with the experts following their presentations.
Virtual Founder’s Workshop: Entrepreneurship Through COVID-19
Our most recent Founder’s Workshop was focused on Entrepreneurship through COVID-19. It was held on Friday, October 9th, 2-4pm. This event’s keynote speaker was Trina Spear (A05), Co-Founder and Co-CEO of FIGS, a medical apparel company that is supporting medical professionals during COVID-19. Recently launched Tufts startups also shared how they are pivoting to success during the global crisis.
Social Impact Entrepreneurship Ideathon
In partnership with Tisch College of Civic Life, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, TEC will be hosting a two-day ideathon fromo February 5, 5pm to February 7, 5pm in 2021.
The purpose of this event is to inspire the broader Tufts community to meet and mingle with people they don’t normally work with and brainstorm to solve big problems with social impact via innovation and entrepreneurship. There is no coding involved – this is designed like an idea sprint.
The event will be open to students, alumni and others in the Tufts community. We will start with framing the scope of ideation within a few broad themes, such as rebuilding trust in America, rebuilding America’s relationship with the world, building equity in public health, addressing food insecurity and the like. We plan to have organizations present specific problem statements within those themes to help guide ideation. Teams will form on the first day, choose a problem area, and develop an idea that addresses this problem through innovation and entrepreneurship. Teams will present their ideas to their peers and to judges on the second day.
Venture Pitch Competitions
The Ideas Competition
The Ideas Competition is your first stop towards learning how to develop an idea into a new venture and to pitch for support. Eligible Tufts community members can take advantage of our flight of five “Getting started” Jumbo Cafe workshops as well as pop-up coaching and pitch practice to help them pick a problem they are passionate about, and learn the process of developing a venture idea that culminates in a 2-minute pitch included in the application. 6 finalists will be selected to present live in front of experienced judges. Winning teams are eligible to win cash prizes up to $1000.
In AY2020-2021, applications for the Ideas Competition are open between October 1 – October 30, 2020. Finalists will do virtual live pitches on November 13, 2020 from 2-4pm.
The $100k New Venture Competition
The annual $100k Venture Competition is the biggest entrepreneurship production on campus. It attracts the best innovators and entrepreneurs from students, alumni, faculty and staff from from all ten schools across the university. Teams compete for prizes and in-kind services totaling more than $100,000 in three tracks: General Technology, Social Impact, and Medical Devices & Life Science.
For AY 2020-2021, applications will be open between February 1 – February 28, 2021. Semi-finalists will pitch in a run-off in mid March. Finalists will compete live in three tracks on April 9, 2021.
Entrepreneurial prizes and awards
The Montle Prize
Paul Montle (Class of 1969) created the annual The Paul and Elizabeth Montle Prize for Entrepreneurial Achievement to commend Tufts undergraduate students who demonstrate outstanding entrepreneurial skills. The award helps kick-start future leaders in the business and nonprofit world. As a token of gratitude, the winners not only accept the monetary prize, but accept a future commitment to give back to Tufts University. Winners will be awarded a total of $35,000 which will be divided between multiple winners.
In AY 2020-2021, applications will be open between November 1 – 30, 2020. Winners will be notified by December 11, 2020. The award ceremony will be scheduled in Spring 2021.
The Ricci Prize
The Stephen and Geraldine Ricci Interdisciplinary Prize is awarded annually within the $100k New Ventures Competition. The purpose of the prize is to promote the advancement of research at Tufts through projects that assist in translation of research discoveries from the laboratory to applications that benefit society. To win the prize, you must demonstrate the commercial potential of the technology within your application. Winners are selected that best demonstrate interdisciplinary engineering design and entrepreneurial spirit in their venture.
Prize: A cash prize of $10,000, split evenly among the student team members.
The Friedman Prize
The Friedman Food & Nutrition Innovation $10k Prize, sponsored by the Tufts Food & Nutrition Innovation Institute, is a $10k prize awarded at the Tufts $100k Entrepreneurship Competition. For 2021, qualifying teams entering the Tufts $100k will be invited to also compete for the Friedman Food & Nutrition Innovation $10k Prize. This prize will be considered for any competing venture that focuses specifically on food and nutrition and creatively tackles the numerous opportunities and challenges related to the nutrition economy. We encourage diverse and creative submissions and interdisciplinary teams.
Prize: A cash prize of $10,000, split evenly among the student team members, in conjunction with additional in-kind design and legal services
Tufts Venture Accelerator
The Tufts Venture Accelerator is an 11-week-long venture accelerator that provides structure, accountability, educational experiences and more that helps entrepreneurs who are building a venture make rapid progress throughout the summer. Participants will be guided through all the key stages of venture creation, from defining their market and customer to developing and testing a solution with a go-to-market strategy and pricing architecture, to building out their financials and planning their next steps regarding financing, team and company building.