Spotlight Speaker Series promotes student entrepreneurship

Business Hall. - Editor-in-Chief / Miguel Martinez

Over a 100 students gathered in Business Hall room 104 on Feb. 12 for the Spotlight Speaker Series event. This particular event in the series focused on explaining the early stages of businesses and startups in terms of how to set it up and where it goes afterwards. Organized by Rowan Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and co-sponsored by the business honors society Beta Alpha Psi, this speaker panel featured professionals from the law firm Ballard Spahr LLP.  

“I think the entrepreneurial spirit at Rowan is alive and well,” said speaker Gregory L. Seltzer, a partner at the law firm. “Rowan was on our radar. There’s a [startup] accelerator here, and young companies are coming out of here.”

Ballard Spahr LLP Senior Counsel Justin P. Klein also shared praise for Rowan’s business program.

“This is an innovative educational institution. That’s why you’ve been successful, thinking outside of the box and thinking forward. You’re building terrific buildings that are going to accommodate entrepreneurialism,” Klein said.

This is not a coincidence. Due to the abundance of resources more accessible and available than ever before, money and capital are not a necessity to start a business. A product or service can be readily viable for customers with just an idea and innovative thinking.

“When we meet with young people, we don’t always understand the problem that the person is solving, whether it be TikTok or Instagram or whatever it is. We are learning new technology,” Seltzer said. “The student population now should think about their life and think about what problems they have and figure out a solution to the problem.” 

While creativity needs to be flowing to come up with what to sell, the opposite needs to be enforced to run the business.    

“Making sure you know who holds what position in your small business … just so that when your business does get bigger, you know where everyone stands,” said Imani Martin, a junior marketing major and Rowan Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (RCIE) marketing assistant, of what she learned that night.

In fact, Rowan’s commitment and support of all students’ self-business initiatives and passions is represented in the RCIE, open to all students and  faculty, on the second floor of the business building.  

“You don’t have to be a business major to be an entrepreneur,” said Jessica Vattima, the outreach and events associate for RCIE. “Business can be intimidating, but in a lot of our events, we bring in entrepreneurs and founders and CEOs that are willing to give back to students.”

The RCIE holds around 60 to 70 events per semester free of charge, all of which can be found on StartupTree Rowan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. With many professionals brought in looking to take on mentees and give advice, the business workshops and speakers range in topic from fashion design to real estate to healthcare to authors to martial arts.

As a club, Beta Alpha Psi (BAP) holds meetings, speakers and trips on all business topics to encourage a better understanding of the work world.

“It’s blending practice and theory in a way that, you know, hopefully prepares the students for the real-world,” said Jerry Maginnis, Rohrer Business College executive in residence and advisor.

The club also believes in professional development and tries to help students with that.

“Cultivating an environment of networking is really something I try to do a lot whether it’s leading by example or encouraging people at our meetings to talk to the speakers afterwards. I think that’s really where the most value is at, because you can talk to someone that’s already practicing professionally and pick their brain,” said BAP President Billy Sikora, a senior accounting and finance major.  

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