Last night we celebrated the 8th Annual DC Area Entrepreneurial Alumni Networking Event. The Georgetown University Alumni Association, Entrepreneurship Alliance, Entrepreneurship Initiative, and Alumni Career Services joined forces to bring together alumni entrepreneurs. This year approximately 100 Hoyas descended upon 1776, the hub of entrepreneurship and start ups in the DC area, founded in January of this year. 1776 serves as a global hub for startups tackling major challenges in education, energy, health care, government, and other critical industries. We heard from 1776 co-founder Evan Burfield who stepped in for Donna Harris, his co-founder and GU Entrepreneur In Residence. Brittany Heyd (L’13 , MPP’13), also involved with 1776, shared her experience, noting Georgetown’s ability to open her eyes to entrepreneurship and the world beyond big firms. James Li (B’13) also discussed his business, Encore, and the impact of GU on his choice to pursue the start up world as opposed to big accounting firms. “Something,” he said, “just makes Georgetown entrepreneurs different.”
The venue of 1776 could not have been more perfect for our event. Sarah, Whitney, and I arrived early to set up and were greeted by a casual, buzzing atmosphere of burgeoning entrepreneurs taking phone calls from headsets as they walked across the room, lounging on couches as they met with possible potential investors, huddling around laptops, even grabbing a beer out of the communal kitchen. One person needed a bit of quiet so they took a call from one of the three red London telephone booths.
The decor I would call hip Americana – vintage and modern all at once – dark reds, embellished vintage couches, repurposed doors as tables, a metal mattress frame as a light fixture. The concrete floors are painted with wide, bold, red stripes and the walls include inspirational quotes. If you didn’t already want to work for a start up, you definitely did by the end of the night.
All of the furniture and tech equipment is on wheels and easily moveable so at the strike of 5:30 we began clearing the room to prepare for the arrival of our hoyapreneurs. We selected the menu to match the decor – american comfort food including mac and cheese cupcakes, pigs in a blanket, and mini grilled cheese and tomato soup shooters. With 70’s rock piped in from Pandora, the vibe was definitely right.
Jeff Reid, Founding Director of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative, also known as StartUpHoyas, articulated the relationship between Georgetown and entrepreneurship best when he said “For almost 225 years, Georgetown has attracted bright, ambitious people who want to make a difference in the world. Today is no different. The entrepreneurial spirit on Georgetown’s campus is not new, but it is definitely stronger than ever.”
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