Category Archives: Innovation Thought Leadership

Thought leaders share insights and perspectives on innovation.

Cricket Flour Power Wins 2013 Hult Prize

President Bill Clinton

President Bill Clinton

The Hult Prize competition is a challenge to business school students from around the world to develop a feasible plan to solve a global problem while creating a viable, scalable business at the same time.  Endorsed by President Clinton’s Global Initiative, the program is founded on an endowment for an annual million-dollar prize, which is used by the winning team to launch their new social enterprise.  Equally important, all of the finalists receive a full one-year membership into the Clinton Global Initiative and support from its members to continue to develop their social business ideas.

Hult Prize CGI Award Dinner

Hult Prize CGI Award Dinner

The Hult competition has taken on huge social issues – education, housing and the water crisis. Through crowdsourcing, training, mentorship, and funding, the competition seeks to launch the next wave of social entrepreneurs. This year, student teams were selected from over 11,000 applicants representing 350 colleges and universities to pitch their innovative social ventures for solving the Global Food Crisis at one of five Regional Final events. Teams were then selected to participate in regional finals held in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai, Shanghai, and online. Six of these teams then won the right to attend the Hult Prize Accelerator for startups and then pitch their social business ideas to President Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in New York City.

The world’s largest student competition for social good chose the global food crisis because while the world produces enough food to feed everyone, more than 1/3 is lost or wasted.  While this is not a new problem and is believed to be the world’s most solvable challenge, still today 25% of the children in the world are hungry.   

Hult Founder and CEO of the Hult, Prize Ahmad Ashkar

Hult Founder and CEO of the Hult, Prize Ahmad Ashkar

CEO and Founder of the Hult, Prize Ahmad Ashkar, explained why feeding the world was slected as the this year’s issue in his FOX News interview.  “Food is the easiest challenge to solve in the world. It is really a concept of distribution.” According to Ashkar, the world produces enough food to feed all of its inhabitants and the key is to figure out how to shorten supply chains, make food more efficient, bring costs down and make it accessible to those living in the urban slum.   Listen to the full interview on Fox News.

Students Hult Prize Boston Finals

Students Hult Prize Boston Finals

As a judge in the Boston Finals, I was fortunate to be interviewed by Living on Earth’s Managing Producer, Helen Palmer.  We met at the reception, where Helen said “ There were no crickets to eat – but I did find one of the judges. Sheryl Chamberlain works for the EMC Corporation, and she said it had been hard to choose a winner.”  Here is an excerpt from that interview that was played on NPR this summer.

CHAMBERLAIN: That was the hardest part. It was listening to these amazing young people that have creative ideas and new ways of solving this problem that we’re looking at, making sure we can feed the world. It’s so hard to decide who should come first and make a decision.

PALMER: In the end, Chamberlain said, all the judges agreed on the McGill team and their small cricket farms in the slums.

CHAMBERLAIN: So the idea of taking crickets and using them for a food source going forward, farming those crickets, eating them whole, looking at different ways to use them, because they give protein in a different way that we have not considered before. So it’s really innovative and watch out – there’ll be crickets flying around your town, and we’ll be grabbing them and using them for sustainable food.  Listen to Helen Palmer’s entire interview

Peter R. Russell, Director of Corporate Relations, Hult Business School, Akanksha Hazari 2011 Hult Prize Winner & Phillip Hult Co-CEO, EF Education First

Peter R. Russell, Director of Corporate Relations, Hult Business School, Akanksha Hazari 2011 Hult Prize Winner & Phillip Hult Co-CEO, EF Education First

Impressed by my role as a judge at the Boston Regionals, Peter R. Russell, Director of Corporate Relations, Hult Business School, North America invited me to attend the Hult Prize Global Finals and Awards Dinner on September 23, 2013, where President Bill Clinton was the host at the opening event of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in New York. The six finalists teams pitched their start-ups, in front of a world-class audience of political leaders, philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, and media luminaries. President Clinton and Muhammad Yunus along with Steve Andrews, CEO of Solar Aid, Erathrin Cousin, CEO of the World Food Program, Peter Sands, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, Desh Deshpande, Chairman of the Deshpande Foundation, Kathy Calvin, CEO of the United Nations Foundation, and Premal Shah, Paypal co-founder and President and co-founder of Kiva, judged and selected the winner of the 2013 Hult Prize.  The award of 1 Million  USD to be used by the winning team as start-up funding, was donated by Swedish entrepreneur Bertil Hult and his family. The winning team was from Canada’s McGill  University, a Boston Regional Final, who was featured in the following day’s plenary session.

Muhammad Yunkus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner and 2013 Hult Prize Finals Judge

Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner and 2013 Hult Prize Finals Judge

Here is an overview of the winning solution in the team’s own words:

Apsire learned through research during the summer that food insecurity is not an issue of lack of food. The vast majority in urban slums do not go hungry. But they lack access to affordable nutrition. Many suffer from malnourishment and nutrient deficiencies despite being overweight or obese. Therefore, the problem of food security in urban slums is not one of food being expensive per se, but of nutritious food being unavailable or overpriced compared to cheaper, less nutritious offerings. While insects might not seem a common meal for Westerners, a new plan is being proposed by students from Montreal’s McGill University wherein edible insects can be produced at an industrial scale to provide nourishment for folks

Aspire, Hult Prize 2013 winning team from Canada's McGill University with President Clinton

Aspire, Hult Prize 2013 winning team from Canada’s McGill University with President Bill Clinton

Our disruptive social enterprise, Aspire, aims to improve access to edible insects worldwide. We develop and distribute affordable and sustainable insect farming technologies for countries with established histories of entomophagy, or insect-consumption. Our farming solutions stabilize the supply of edible insects year-round, drastically improving and expanding the economic ecosystem surrounding insect consumption in the regions serviced. Not only do our durable farming units create income stability for rural farmers, they have a wider social impact by lowering the price of edible insects. This is central to our mission of increasing access to highly nutritious edible insects amongst the poorest, and therefore neediest, members of society.

Hélène  Barnekow EMC Senior Vice President, Worldwide Field & Partner Marketing and Sheryl Chamberlain

Hélène Barnekow EMC Senior Vice President, Worldwide Field & Partner Marketing and Sheryl Chamberlain

For next year’s challenge, President Bill Clinton asks teams to build sustainable and scalable social enterprises to address non-communicable disease in slums.  I can only hope I will once again be asked to join my fellow esteemed judges at the 2014 Boston Regionals.  I would look forward to witnessing the innovative proposals for addressing President Clinton’s challenge.

Learn more:  Bugs as an edible food source. Winner’s Blog, Clinton’s Global Initiative CGI and 2014 Hult Prize Challengeprize/2014-challenge/

President Bill Clinton and Sheryl Chamberlain at 2011RSA Conference

President Bill Clinton and Sheryl Chamberlain at 2011RSA Conference

 

Women Leaders of Impact

I believe that women represent a tremendous, untapped resource that has produced and will continue to yield huge returns for organizations and the communities they support.  Through the power of women’s entrepreneurial activity, we create growth and prosperity while driving solutions for business and social problems. I am empowered and excited that now, today, the power of women’s entrepreneurship has hit a media tipping point – we, in partnership with men, are now a driving force of entrepreneurial growth and leading real, fundamental economic change that is reshaping the world.

GWLN Sisters

Global Women Leadership Network Sisters

Nowhere was this more visible than at EMC last week.  In partnership with EMC’s West Coast Women’s Leadership Forum we hosted The Leader of Impact Award 2013, which honors a Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN) graduate for her outstanding contributions. This, the second annual award program also recognizes their entire graduate community, a group of women who have committed their lives to changing the world while creating new opportunities for women and girls around the world. The contest celebrates the dedicated work of all GWLN graduates who are making a difference in over 40 countries. The judges including Linda Alepin, Jeff Chow, Keren Pavese, Sandya Puchalapalli and Michelle Swensen who are leaders in their own right and are to be thanked for their demanding, yet fulfilling job of selecting the five finalists with the support of GWLN graduates, friends, family and colleagues.

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EMC Diversity Leaders and LOL Award Recipient Smarita Sengupta

This year’s LOL award recipient is Smarita Sengupta, (GWLN 2010) founded the Destiny Foundation in India. Her vision is Liberation of the Sold Soul.  Her mission is to end sex trafficking and slavery through the economic empowerment of women.  The foundation employs women who are at high risk of being trafficked while living in brothels, red light areas and shelter homes. They provide them with vocational training in sewing and textiles. When girls master the skills of sewing and textiles, they are offered a position at Destiny Reflection. Through this employment, women are able to become economically self-sufficient under dignified working conditions.

Smarita Sengupta, LOI 2013

Smarita Sengupta, LOI 2013 Award Recipient

Equally empowered visionaries included the four other finalists. 1) Diti Mookherjee (GWLN 2011) – her vision is Youth Nuture Nature.  While in the U.S. as a Fulbright-Nehru Environmental Leadership Fellow, Diti attended the GWLN leadership program and conceived of the Green Rhinos Program, a global transformational youth nature leadership program.  One year later, there are more than 600 youth nature leaders known as “Green Rhinos”, including 300 girls.    2) Isha Darmy (GWLN 2011) – her vision is reducing Maternal and Infant Mortality Rates in Sierra Leone.  Supporting the community of Magbil and surrounding villages, she helped build a Health Centre and trained 42 Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) to care for women during their ante-natal, labor and post-natal periods.Ishma Darmey LOI Finalist

Ishma Darmey LOI Finalist

3) Mariana Faerron-Gutierrez (GWLN 2011) – her vision is Making Social Impact One Cup At A Time and is accomplished by helping the coffee bean farmer buying beans at double the Fair Trade price and thereby improving the lives of their families and communities.

Mariana Faerron-Gutierrez LOI Finalist

Mariana Faerron-Gutierrez LOI Finalist

4) Martine Bolsens-Peeterman (GWLN 2012 ) is living her dream through her vision, Scaling Impact through Connectivity.  Today she is GWLN Global Ambassador.  She is the bridge-builder connecting the passion of her peers with resources to accomplish their dreams. I have become an advocate for all of their projects by raising awareness for the work to which they have committed their time, talents, and resources.

Martine Bolsens-Peeterman GWLN Global Ambassador & LOI Finalist

Martine Bolsens-Peeterman GWLN Global Ambassador & LOI Finalist

Whether GWLN alumni are building schools, improving healthcare, eliminating poverty or creating new jobs, each leader is committed to improving the lives of individuals and communities. It is the dedicated work of all GWLN graduates who are making a difference in over 40 countries.  You can learn more about these visionary leaders and about my vision (GWLN 2006), Using Influence and Vision to Inspire the Next Generation of Leaders and Innovators, by going to this link. Profiles of Leaders of Impact

The Power of the GWLN Community

The Power of the GWLN Community

Whether GWLN alumni are building schools, improving healthcare, eliminating poverty or creating new jobs, each leader is committed to improving the lives of individuals and communities. It is the dedicated work of all GWLN graduates who are making a difference in over 40 countries.  You can learn more about these visionary leaders and about my vision (GWLN 2006), Using Influence and Vision to Inspire the Next Generation of Leaders and Innovators, by going to this link. Profiles of Women Of Impact

Celebrating

Celebrating

We are not alone in our quest, joining these great women who are committed to making the world a better place are civic, community, and businesses leaders. Please join us as we find new opportunities to reshape the world for all mankind, one day at a time, one person at a time. We are better together as a community of leaders committed to an enriched, united world for generations to come.

Listening

VMworld 2013 – The Journey Begins

The energy is high as we start the trek to VMworld.  New and old VMworld team members spring up ready for action, jumping on planes, kicking out blogs, posting on Facebook, tweeting their plans (and speaking slots)  and gearing up for another vOdgeball  match.   And, most important, the EMC VMworld Party moved from a local restaurant to Ghirardelli Square.  Woo – Hoo!

EMC Party at Ghirardelli Square

EMC Party at Ghirardelli Square

It seems like yesterday when Chad Sakac began the journey to build an army of vSpecialists, evangelists in their own right, focused on delivering the message of “Why EMC for VMware”.  As Chad’s partners, we worked hand in hand with Rod Gilbert, John Theberge, Wade O’Harrow, Matt Conway, Kara Banosian, Travis Grant, and a host of global leaders to build a best in class, technology alliance, reporting to Frank Hauck, then EMC EVP and VMware executive sponsor.     Years later many of us have moved on to new leadership roles, Chad leading EMC’s WW Systems Engineering organization, me EMC’s open source strategy and Frank Hauck becoming President of VCE.   But our roots are strong as we start the journey this weekend to VMworld, some of us as vSpecialists Alumni.

EMC is #1 for VMware

EMC is #1 for VMware

This year, I have a new partner, Ed Walsh a former vSpecialist who recently joined EMC’s Office of the CTO.  Consider the possibilities when you put two vSpecialists in the CTO office.  With a shared passion for doing something completely different, delivering measurable results, and building new communities of partnership we are getting ready to launch the first ever VMworld CTO Roundtable.

Our guest speaker will be John Roese, EMC CTO.  Additionally I will moderate a panel of experts featuring Scott Lowe VMware and former vSpecialist,  Robin Ren, CTO EMC XtremeIO  and Andrew Aitken,  Founder Open Source Think Tank,  and GM Olliance Consulting, a division Black Duck, who will talk about Storage defined networking trends,  the experiences of a serial entrepreneur  and Open Source strategy, respectively.

VMworld Panel

VMworld Panel

Join us as we get on the road to VMworld and join me as we look for vSpecialists, and my next blog exploring where they are now in their leadership journey.  See you at VMWorld and on the trolley car to Ghirardelli Square.

vSpecialists

vSpecialists

Burnish Your Brand, Using Your Best Talents More Often

Wherever you go, whatever you do, the most effective tool you bring with you is the brand called “You.”  My brand, cultivated over time, reflects my vision and passion of being an agent of change leading innovation in the corporate world.  For me, this involves helping others find their unique gifts and then orchestrating the sharing of those talents to innovate new ways to contribute to the organization’s success. These collaborative efforts provide personal growth, development, and meaningfulness for us as individuals as well. Truly, this is a winning combination in a competitive global world.

Women of World

Many leaders from different industries have tied their brand to ground-breaking innovations. I personally admire, and strive to emulate, those who have paid it forward, setting the stage for the next generation of leaders and innovators. When preparing for a recent keynote at USENIX, I took the opportunity to showcase women leaders who transformed their respective industries. Part of my message was highlighting how, in this increasingly connected world, we still need to depend on others to achieve success and meaning in life.

Kay Koplovitz

Kay Koplovitz

Kay Koplovitz, founder of USA Network, was the visionary who conceptualized satellite-based networks. She also created the business model for cable networks by introducing the concept of two revenue streams—licensing and advertising. When she founded USA Network under the banner of Madison Square Garden Sports in 1977, she was the first woman to head a television network. But she didn’t stop there. Understanding that access to startup capital has consistently been cited as the biggest pain point for female entrepreneurs, she founded venture-catalyst Springboard Enterprises to help women build ”big businesses starting small.”  Over 500 women-led companies have participated in Springboard’s accelerator programs, raising nearly $6 billion. Of note, more than 80% of Springboard companies are still in business as independent or merged entities, including 10 IPOs, and many are the technology engines of publicly traded companies.

Mae Jamison

Mae Jamison

Astronaut Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, also founded Sally Ride Science and Sally Ride Camps to encourage girls’ interest in science and technology. The girls, who are at the middle-school level, participate in innovative, hands-on science learning activities in an environment that designed to be supportive, enriching, and—most importantly—fun!

Following Dr. Ride’s footsteps, Dr. Mae Jemison became the first African-American woman to travel in space in 1992. She resigned from NASA in 1993 to form a company researching the application of technology to daily life: 100 Year Starship. The organization designs and implements independent, collaborative, and open-source projects to advance and promote the public engagement, research, development, and capabilities needed for humans to reach another star.

Another woman who has had an impact on an entire country and the global startup community is Dr. Orna Berry. Prior to joining EMC as the first Corporate VP and GM of the Israel Center of Excellence, Dr. Berry was the Chief Scientist in Israel’s Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor. One of her strengths is bringing together communities of leaders and innovators to identify a gap in a market, and then racing to identify a solution.

Joe Tucci and Dr. Orna Berry

Joe Tucci and Dr. Orna Berry

Combining technology and social entrepreneurship, Juliana Rotich founded “Ushahidi” , which means “testimony” in Swahili. This platform was initially developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout at the beginning of 2008. Since then, the name “Ushahidi” has come to represent the people behind the “Ushahidi Platform” web tools for crowdsourcing crisis information and reporting on topics related to the environment.

Juliana Rotich

Juliana Rotich

Each of these women was a pioneer in her own field, and each used her success to help others. All have a global perspective and consistently reach outside their normal sphere of influence. In taking these leadership lessons to heart, you should note that it’s important to first figure out what you care about most, tie your brand to your vision, and remember that success is not only about the body of work you deliver, but the impact you can have on your community and beyond. Reach for your true dreams and goals and don’t be afraid to innovate. Goals are the starting point to taking action, building a plan, realizing your brand, and using your best talents more often.

Edwina Mays, Jackie Gleen, Gail Deegan, Sheryl Chamberlain and Stacy Schaeffer

Edwina Mays, Jackie Gleen, Gail Deegan, Sheryl Chamberlain and Stacy Schaeffer

See more at: EMC Reflections EMC Executives Report From the Road

Smashing the Box – EMC Innovation Tours at MassChallenge

The official starting point of the Boston Marathon, the oldest Marathon in the world is Hopkinton, MA where EMC’s corporate headquarters sits less than 26 miles from the center of Boston.  The area’s many colleges and universities make Boston an international center of higher education and medicine, leading many to dub the city “The Athens of America” and a world leader in innovation. It is no wonder MassChallenge the largest-ever startup accelerator, and the first to support high impact, early-stage entrepreneurs with no strings attached was established here.

International Day

MassChallenge International Finalists Day

On March 4, 2013, MassChallenge joined forces with Founding Gold Sponsors EMC Corporation and The Kraft Group to extend its reach and launch its Israel program, which will connect Israel’s most promising early-stage companies with the resources and networks at the heart of MassChallenge’s Boston accelerator.  In the announcement John Harthorne, Founder & CEO, MassChallenge stated “MassChallenge Israel features a deep infrastructure of supporters and resources within Israel, strong connections between Israel and Boston, and exclusive opportunities for Israeli startups in Boston. “Boston and Israel have had a special relationship for a long time that has generated close collaboration on the business and technological fronts. MassChallenge selected Israel for our first international location because Israel is at the cutting edge of technology and entrepreneurial activities globally, and because we are eager to leverage the historic ties between our two communities to enable top Israeli startups to scale quickly and effectively.”  Chris Goode, Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs & Public Policy, EMC Corporation said, “Through collaboration, developing solutions for some of the world’s most intractable problems becomes a reality. EMC is honored to be a part of the MassChallenge program and is committed to helping the most profoundly innovative businesses around the world access the resources they need to succeed. MassChallenge Israel will strengthen the already critical bridge between our two innovative regions, and we look forward to supporting the bright new ideas this partnership generates. “

Technology Directions

Technology Directions

Understanding the power of our partnership sponsored by Joel Schwartz, EMC SVP and General Manager, Global New Business Development and EMC Chris Goode, Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs & Public Policy, EMC Corporation I collaborated with Scott Bailey MassChallenge Director of Partnerships and Kara Shurmantine, Manager Partnerships to create new business opportunities between our shared community.  Initially I drove EMC‘s global participation in the MassChallenge’s judging process and inspired local EMC leaders to mentor this year’s 128 finalists.  From there I established and hosted a new CTO Office program called “Technology Directions:  Keeping it Real”.  Our first event held in May was “Open Source Software – What’s the Buzz All About”?  Speakers included leaders from Rackspace and two MassChallenge start-ups Appsembler and Profit Bricks.   On October 16th, 2013 I will host and moderate The New England Diversity Council Inaugural Greater Boston Women in Leadership Symposium, “A Day in Excellence through Leadership”. Please join us if you are in the Boston area.

AIG, Sheryl Chamberlain, Jennifer Rivet

AIG, Sheryl Chamberlain, Jennifer Rivet

But I am not the only one thinking outside the box while extending and growing our partnership with MassChallenge and driving a global community of innovation.   EMC’s EBC Senior Director Bernie Baker and his team Lisa Letts and Jennifer Rivet partnered with Steve Todd, EMC VP and Fellow to develop an EBC customer innovation tour at MassChallenge’ s corporate headquarters.   As the self-appointed MassChallenge Alliance Director I will work with Bernie’s team and Steve Todd to expand this program while building the spirit of innovation from the walls of EMC to our customers, partners and into our global community of EMC leaders and innovators.   Stay tuned as we share results of this amazing program and our continued partnership with MassChallenge where we are committed to living outside the box.

Inspiring the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

Global Entrepreneurship: The Israeli Phenomenon

Imagine the possibilities when you immerse students in a global entrepreneurship graduate program that takes students outside the classroom to solve problems, work collaboratively and get closer to industry while driving new levels of innovation. “At Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts, a university with a heavy bent toward engineering entrepreneurship plays a part in nearly every course that students encounter,” said Bloomberg Businessweek. Not a surprise, considering it’s the main focus of the university’s mission statement: “Developing innovative and entrepreneurial leaders for a global technological world.“ “Our goal is to introduce as many students as possible—particularly non-business students—to innovation and entrepreneurship,” says Mark Rice, dean of the business school. As a result, WPI inspires the next generation of entrepreneurs working hand in hand with industry taking leadership and innovation to the next level for generations to come.

Joel Schwartz and Students

Joel Schwartz and WPI Students at EMC Israel Center of Excellence (COE)

Understanding the impact of entrepreneurship programs, Joel Schwartz, EMC SVP and General Manager, Global New Business Development, collaborated with WPI professors, Arthur Gerstenfeld and Susan Vernon-Gerstenfeld, to develop a graduate-level course in WPI’s MBA program called “Global Entrepreneurship: The Israeli Phenomenon.”   The course immersed students in the entrepreneurial Israeli-Massachusetts high-tech world through a series of lectures and on-site visits delivered by successful entrepreneurs and business leaders from Israel and the United States.  Critical to understanding their field trip experience in Israel and Israel’s  entrepreneurial success, was an in-depth study of the unique historical, social, cultural, and political factors that created the State of Israel and that allow innovation to flourish.  The academic side of the course addressed those topics through a variety of readings and papers that the students wrote, which set the context for the field trip.  These visits were quite literally on-site as Joel accompanied the WPI class on a weeklong trip to Israel for a series of face-to-face meetings with Israeli CEO’s, venture capitalists, and senior government officials of the international Israeli academic community.  During the field trip, EMC’s Israel COE hosted several panel discussions with entrepreneurs, military personnel, and venture capitalists.

Israel

On-site in Israel

As a guest instructor I had the opportunity to kick off the program sharing key insights into “Israel The Start-up Nation” thus establishing the framework for a discussion between Joel Schwartz and the students.  Other guest lecturers included David Goodtree  (TEDxBoston) who led 2012 Massachusetts’ water mission to Israel,  Akhil Nigam (Co-developer of MassChallange) lead a class with on start-ups while Susan Hunt Stevens from Pratically Green collaborated with Kathrin Winkler EMC’s Chief Sustainability Officer to deliver another powerful lecture on sustainability.  Check out Kathrin’s blog:  Interconnected World.  When the students returned from Israel Kevin Perkins, EMC’s IP Attorney presented the value of IP for entrepreneurs along with Paolo Gaudiano, Founder and President of Infomous, President and CTO of Icosystem, a serial entrepreneur who discussed how he uses IP as a competitive advantage.   A timely discussion in this day and age considering the nature and frequency of IP law suits as detailed on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and other financial and legal publications.

Kevin Perkins and Paolo Gaudiano

Kevin Perkins and Paolo Gaudiano

The students, mostly graduate students had diverse backgrounds, with many from China, some from Latin America and about half from New England.   Here is a video that I took after they returned from Israel. From left to right the students are Jiaqi (Nick) Lu, Joaquin Serrano, Kathryn Remillard, and Weihan Gao.

During the last seven weeks of the program the students were assigned a group project to develop an innovative startup idea including market research, technical feasibility study, financial analysis, and, most importantly, a brief investors’ pitch.  The students presented their startup ideas at the end of the course to “compete” for the investment to a panel of judges including me, Mark Rice (Dean of WPI Business School), and Steve Rubin (then Chairman and now Emeritus of the WPI Board of Trustees).  Four ideas were presented to us but only one could win and that was CrowdSpot. Their idea was based on an existing offering in Amsterdam, where a mobile application helps you find crowds.  Their version of CrowdSpot offered new capabilities which included where the crowd was and wasn’t helping you to find parking, tickets to concerts, sports games etc.  But the other ideas were equaling inspiring and included:  Azimo social entrepreneurship (People2People (P2P) mobile microloans), Precision Threads (custom suits using Israeli 3D camera technology) and True Candidate (enhancing the admissions process using web based social media tools).

With WPI’s business school offering a minor in entrepreneurship, as well as activities like the Entrepreneurship Club on campus, and a business course catalog that includes classes like “Engineering Entrepreneurship,” “Entrepreneurial Selling,” and “Growing and Managing New Ventures” it is no wonder Business Week rated WPI School No. 1 in the Nation for Entrepreneurship.  I look forward to working with WPI and inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Sheryl Chamberlain

Sheryl Chamberlain