Students help design new program
"All Colby students are creative visionaries, we just need a program that will bring this out of people," said Roger Woolsey, director of the Career Center and leader of the project to create an Entrepreneurship Program here on the Hill.
Every day, students take advantage of the help, resources and guidance that the Career Center offers. And now, with a spike in student interest in entrepreneurship over the last few years, Woolsey is leading the effort to create a program that will better assist students looking to start their own business.
Helping to spearhead this new effort in the Career Center are Brandon Pollock '10 and Nick Friedman '10, two friends who have been working with Woolsey on the recent development of their own business, Blue Reserve.
Woolsey is hoping to have a concrete plan for the program by June. It will likely be heavily based in workshops like Colby Connect, although Pollock admitted, "I don't know exactly what form it is going to take."
Blue Reserve addresses some of the inefficiencies that come with using five-gallon water jugs. The company installs a home water purification system that filters directly from the sink. The business seeks to adjust the way that people think about purified water by essentially "eliminating the middle man" and "going green" through directly installing the filtering system in people's homes, Pollock said.
The duo first came up with the idea for their business last summer, but were unsure of how to proceed from there. However, after working to finalize their business plan and establishing some important connections with alumni, Pollock and Friedman applied for a $5,000 grant from the Libra Future Fund. They were successful and, after receiving the money, they were ready to start building their company.
Woolsey believed Pollock and Friedman's blossoming company has "provided visibility to the Colby community" and has encouraged both other students and alumni that "entrepreneurship is something to embrace and support" here at the College.
"What they've accomplished hasn't been accomplished by Colby students in awhile," Woolsey said. However, others are capable of getting just as far with their own entrepreneurial dreams. Pollock and Friedman were motivated and inspired to create something new, but needed help. "We had great ideas early on but didn't know what kind of help was available," Friedman said, so they looked to the Career Center to see what it had to offer.
"Woolsey helped us get in touch with staff members and alumni...he had faith in what we were doing...and consequently we realized that Colby offers a lot of support for people interested in entrepreneurship," Friedman said.
Now what Woolsey, Friedman and Pollock are hoping to do is to spread this knowledge that the College does indeed have "a lot to offer" in terms of help for students interested in creating their own businesses.
Although the program is still in the very early developmental stages, Woolsey said that he hopes to draft a strategic plan by June and that he has spoken with alumni and business people who want to support the program.
Woolsey also emphasized how he hopes that the Entrepreneurship Program will become a program that works to provide resources, connections and assistance to anyone who is interested.
"It's not just for business people or for those taking economics," Woolsey said. "It requires creativity and critical thinking across the board. For example, people studying theater might have some wonderful ideas."
Woolsey reported that he wants this program to be one that "takes experiences out of the classroom" and encourages students to take the critical thinking skills they have learned from being at a liberal arts college and apply them to their future.
"Hopefully, this will be a program where students can participate in workshops and get help writing business plans and formalizing their ideas like we did," Pollock said.
"Woolsey has a way of "putting programs in place that help creative people move forward with their ideas,"