February 2015, Volume 19, Number 1

Powerful Partnerships


Creating a Spark

Launched this fall with the generous support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Idea Center at MDC has wasted no time making its impact felt across the College with an exciting roster of programming to help cultivate entrepreneurship.

Among the Center’s most notable initiatives is the recent launch of the Startup Challenge, a business model competition for students of any discipline who have refined startup ideas that are ready to be developed into go-to-market business plans. Winners receive seed money for their venture, as well as support and mentoring to help turn their creative ideas into  successful enterprises.

Students have been able to glean inspiration from a distinguished slate of entrepreneurs from various industries as part of the Pioneers@MDC speaker series. These game-changers have shared their trials and triumphs along with some of the secrets of their success. Speakers to date include Jim McKelvey, the co-founder of Square, a $6 billion company that revolutionized the mobile payment industry; George Logothetis, chairman and CEO of the Libra Group, an international business group comprising 30 subsidiaries operating across five continents; Demian Bellumio, co-founder and chief operating officer of Senzari, a Miami-based startup that leverages cutting-edge technology to make real-time music recommendations; and Daniel Cane, co-founder and CEO of MODMED, an electronic medical record (EMR) system helping physicians increase efficiencies in their medical practices while improving both treatment and business outcomes.

The Idea Center also has cemented a partnership with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) that will help NFTE foster an entrepreneurial spirit in younger generations and give the needed support for their ideas once they graduate from high school.

“Our goal is to foster a true entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Idea Center Executive Director Leandro Finol. “In addition to NFTE, we also house Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program. Through these partnerships, we are able to nurture entrepreneurs all the way from high school to college, and finally help them to grow significant businesses as adults.”


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