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Promising Startups Get Boost From Georgetown Entrepreneur Programs

Jerome Small sits looking off to the left as Derron Payne sits looking at his laptop with a entrepreneurial mentor.August 9, 2018 – Students and alumni worked on projects that would provide housing to refugees and immigrants, on-the-go food options, a music app and more during the university’s eight-week StartupHoyas Summer Launch Program.

The program, designed for current Georgetown students and recent graduates who want to launch new business ventures, offers support from Georgetown faculty, mentors and other experienced entrepreneurs.

“We are proud of the successes of our alumni entrepreneurs and of the support we are able to provide them,” says Jeff Reid, founding director of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative, which sponsors the program.

The program also offered workspace at the McDonough School of Business, membership in the new Georgetown Venture Lab sponsored by the Leonsis Family at the WeWork White House location, a stipend and invitations to exclusive networking events.

A total of 14 participants in the program presented their ventures to the D.C. entrepreneurial community in July, including:

  • Al Sur Latin Kitchen and Catering LLC, which makes “m’panadas” (empanadas) ready from freezer to table in minutes, is led by Maria Margarita Womack (EMBA’19).
  • A Squared, led by Ashlee Berghoff (G’18), partners with entrepreneurs to implement the infrastructure their businesses need to run efficiently and effectively.
  • Glass window reads "Georgetown Venture Lab, Sponsored by Leonsis Family" that overlooks brightly lit workspace. Bluprint, a mobile app platform providing a fast way to discover music from both emerging and established artists, is led by John Rader (B’18).
  • Credit/Ability, led by Jake Glass (SFS’20) and Yanchen (Frank) Wang (G’19), helps support refugees and immigrants in accessing housing.
  • Dynos, a mobile food-ordering platform, is led by Aaron Rutter (C’20) and Sahaj Sharda (SFS’20).
  • foublie, led by Melissa Antal (G’19), connects families and expectant parents to nutrition experts and other information on demand.
  • GiftLove, an online marketplace led by Hadeel Shadid (B’19), allows consumers to explore multiple products from local small businesses with same-day local pickup.
  • Graham Kitchenware, led by Catherine Colwell (G’19), provides kitchenware for millennials using “Instagram worthy,” leak-proof, ceramic food containers.
  • Shyft Marketing is a social media and digital marketing agency led by Evan Wall (B‘20) for small- to mid-size businesses with profitable marketing services.
  • SmallTalk, led by Jerome Smalls (B’19), pairs college-age motivational speakers with youth organizations and schools nationwide.
  • StoresAi, led by Ron Cohen (G’19), helps small- to medium-sized retailers blur the boundaries between the online and offline shopping with predictive analytics for targeted marketing offers.
  • Truckr, a mobile app created by Hannah Williams (B’19), connects customers with their favorite local food trucks.

Students sit at desks working in a well-lit open space with mural art on the walls representing the Georgetown experience.

The Financial Times has named the Georgetown McDonough MBA program among its Top MBAs for Entrepreneurship. The publication ranks the program 19th in the United States, 39th in the world.

The Summer Launch Program is one of several programs for student and alumni entrepreneurs, including the Bark Tank pitch competition, which awards $100,000 annually to promising student-run startups, and Startup Stipend, which helps lower barriers to pursuing business ventures for graduating seniors with student loan debt.

 MBA students also benefit from the school’s Elective and Intensive Learning Experience offerings and the Venture Fellows Program.

“Between the many programs offered by our Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative and the thriving startup community in Washington, D.C., our students have many opportunities to pursue launching a business,” said Prashant Malaviya, senior associate dean for MBA programs.