Inspiring Entrepreneurs through the Imagine Series
The beginning of February for some may mean another month of the seemingly endless Midwest winter or the second week of Denison’s spring semester. This year, however, February 1st marked the first of four lectures in the Imagine Series, put on by Denison’s newly-launched Red Frame Lab.
Denison’s new Entrepreneur Coach and organizer of the series, Kerry Shea Penland, characterizes Imagine as a “workshop where we are bringing in entrepreneurs for students to learn from their wisdom, their stories, their advice, and their experiences.” According to Penland, one of the major goals of the series is, “to introduce [students to] unfamiliar concepts.”
Penland hopes that the series will teach students some of the fundamentals of entrepreneurship, which include taking an idea and turning it into a business, qualities like decision-making and relationship-building, and more specific skills, such as making a pitch, securing funding, and connecting with the right sources.
The first workshop within the series has already occurred. Ryan McManus, founder of SHARE, spoke to students about his experience as an entrepreneur who has taken 45+ products through all stages of the entrepreneurial process.
Emily Voutes, a junior Global Commerce and Studio Art double major, was inspired by McManus’s passion and felt fortunate to receive useful advice about everything from the innovation lifecycle to raising money to funding your vision. Voutes reflected, “McManus wasn't just sharing about himself and his own success; he was sharing a process—a tangible way to launch your ideas.”
Senior Computer Science major, Bobby Craig enjoyed hearing McManus’s entrepreneurial perspective and felt that, “It was refreshing to hear from someone as young, vibrant, and ‘locally-sourced’ as Ryan. People often turn their heads to New York or San Francisco when they think of entrepreneurship, but there's so much happening here in Columbus. It's really exciting to learn about and meet Columbus entrepreneurs.”
The overarching goal of the entrepreneurial program, according to Penland, is to provide students with the tools to be “able to think entrepreneurially regardless of whether they see themselves as an ‘entrepreneur.’” She explains that the Imagine Series is, “not just for the person who wants to start a business. We want it to resonate with all students.” Craig reaffirms this goal, saying that, “There're a lot of students––especially well-rounded liberal arts students—that could learn from these speakers, whether they're interested in entrepreneurship or not.” Both Voutes and Craig highly recommend the series to their fellow students.
There are three remaining lectures in the series. February 22nd features Penland, where she will discuss her journey of becoming an entrepreneur. On March 8th, Denison’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Robert Abbott will discuss startups. And finally, on April 5th, Don Halpern, of Shark Tank fame, will discuss his experience on the show and what he learned about securing deals.
-Alexis Boyages '19