Michigan Alumni Work with Future Student Entrepreneurs

Michigan Alumni Work with Future Student Entrepreneurs

Written by student reporter Kelli Bartelotti. 

The mission of MPowered is simple: to expose students to entrepreneurship. Recently, however, the student-organization has been challenging their own mission statement in order to take it a step further and truly involve students in entrepreneurship.  One way they did this was at their recent Startup Career Fair.  The Startup Fair brought in approximately 100 startups and collected more than 1,000 student resumes.

“I didn’t even know what a startup was,” says sophomore Romina Potter. Of course, Potter was referring to when she first joined MPowered her freshman year. She has learned quickly over the past year, as she recently earned the role of co-director of the Startup Fair. “I’ve learned to take initiative myself to see change happen and by being a co-director, I now know more about leadership, teamwork, organization and event planning,” she says.

One of the many startups that the fair hosted was Michigan alum-founded Craftsy, an online community of web classes that teaches people crafts.  I chatted with COO of Craftsy, Josh Scott, ’98, to hear more about Craftsy’s story and how U of M fit into all of it.

Both in its creation and the skills that it provides to amateur crafters, Craftsy exudes an entrepreneurial spirit. Founded on his passion for education, Scott says that Craftsy’s mission is to “help people pursue their passions,” whether that be cake decorating, knitting, photography, or hundreds of other options.

It was a Michigan connection that helped form Craftsy. Scott met fellow founder and Michigan alumnus, John Levisay, while working at eBay together.  With one of the largest Alumni networks in the world, it’s difficult to not run into fellow Wolverines!

Not having known each other while at Michigan, it was a combination of school spirit and exposure to the same innovative tools while at Michigan that made this match perfect. While MPowered wasn’t around when Scott was a student, he shared that “everything from organizational skills, to accounting classes, to seeing how the business school interacted with a broader, diverse campus,” helped prepare him to start his own company.

These same helpful skills and the enthusiastic Michigan community are what brought Scott, who’s located all the way in Denver, together with Potter. After a successful career fair, Potter concluded that “It’s eye-opening to know that entrepreneurship is not just for engineers and business majors. It’s about passionate, innovative, and determined people who are not afraid to fail.”

MPowered and The Center for Entrepreneurship are always providing academic and personal resources for students interested in entering the world of innovation.

Michigan Alumnus is made possible through the generous support of Alumni Association members. Join today to help sustain the future of Michigan Alumnus and other alumni programs. Visit umalumni.com/support.