Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Part 2 of 3 : The Ohio State University Business Builders Club: An in depth discussion

The Business Builders Club at Ohio State University and Young Entrepreneurship in Columbus, Ohio

Part 2 of a 3 part interview with President Luke Barbara regarding the Business Builders Club and the Entrepreneur community in Columbus.

click here for Part 1 of 3 : The Ohio State University Business Builders Club: An in depth discussion

By Mark Subel
TechLife Columbus
Twitter: @marksubel

TL: Have there been any companies or products launched from current or past members of the BBC? Do you have examples of how your group has helped launch a new company?

LB: There have been many companies. Listed below are a few of them. BBC'ers have successfully built multi-million dollar companies and some have had successful exits recently. - doing over $1MM in revenues - BBC Ben Clarke recently had a successful exit from this company - the online marketplace for intellectual property

Much of the support BBC provides in helping an entrepreneur launch his company is not necessarily easy to track or measure. For example, BBC is often times instrumental in helping develop an entrepreneur’s knowledge and thought process during their involvement in the club. Also, the most important aspect about the club is that it is a "tribe" of entrepreneurs who will work together throughout their lives to support each other in the act of building businesses!

TL: What organizations or companies in Columbus support the BBC? How have they become involved and helped the BBC and the members of the BBC?

LB: There are so many companies and individuals.

TechLife Columbus has done a lot to raise awareness about the Business Builders Club and get us plugged into the community. Confusingly similarly named Tech Columbus is also a strong supporter of the BBC. They sponsored our largest IdeaPitch Competition yet, last spring. Sterling Commerce and FastSwitch were supporters of this event too. We are currently cooking up some new collaborations with them to connect students and the Columbus community - catalyzing entrepreneurship and fostering a cool culture that is conducive to making Columbus a fun place to live and do business. Sandbox and Dave Hunegnaw have supported a number of BBC events, both financially and through providing space for events.

Business Builders is actively involved in social entrepreneurship, using entrepreneurial practices and business acumen to create social change. The Tony Wells Foundation and The Business of Good Foundation have been instrumental in supporting the social entrepreneurial initiatives of the BBC.

Entrepreneur and venture capitalist Rich Langdale and his firm NCT Ventures have been incredibly supportive of the Business Builders Club from day one. Rich was instrumental in the founding of the BBC, has provided countless hours of his time to mentor young entrepreneurs, and deserves a lot of credit for the creation of an entrepreneurial culture at Ohio State. Without Rich Langdale, entrepreneurship at Ohio State would not be what it is today.

TL: Do local companies offer internships/jobs to members of the BBC?

LB: Yes, they most definitely do. BBC'ers are the rockstars of Ohio State - with backgrounds ranging from engineering to design to business - and everything in between. Examples of some companies include DOmedia and CallCopy.

TL: How has OSU been supportive of the BBC? Do you believe that OSU and the Fisher College of Business do enough to support aspiring businesspersons and entrepreneurs?

LB: Both Ohio State and Columbus are on their way, but have a lot of work to do with regards to supporting entrepreneurship and creating a vibrant startup community. Ohio State and the Fisher College have been supportive of Business Builders Club. That being said, Ohio State could do more to catalyze entrepreneurship, especially on the undergraduate level.

Most of Business Builders Club financial support has come from outside the university. We wanted to do a better job of helping students build businesses, so we didn't wait around for the university to decide to create a class or a competition that allowed undergraduates to compete on a level playing field. We got “entrepreneurial” and made things happen. We created a model for IdeaPitch and most recently launched our mentor/incubator program. The community has been incredibly receptive to the BBC and the support has been overwhelming. We are very grateful!


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