Campus entrepreneurs start fund to support student innovations

LEWIS & CLARK’S Entrepreneurship Club (E-club) is excited to promote their first annual Student Innovation Fund (SIF). The E-club facilitates space for creativity, skill building, collaboration and connection making. The SIF’s mission is “to support and help develop student ventures in creative problem-solving,” according to the E-club’s website. Thus, E-club initiated this fund to help students transform their ideas into action. The application for SIF is due Jan. 27, with the pitch competition on Feb. 3.

According to E-club president Frances Swanson ’17, the club’s major goal this semester was setting up and launching the fund.

“I don’t think students are encouraged enough to actually do something about the issues they see in the world,” Swanson said. “This is what I hope SIF does: motivate people to follow their ideas and transform them into a project that has an impact.”

Vice President Nick Lockwood ’17 sees SIF as an opportunity to inspire students to take action on their ideas. With an opportunity to receive grants from E-club, students will obtain some flexibility in the ways they go about developing their work.

“It can seem daunting to tackle some of the issues we face as a society, especially when funds are an issue,” Lockwood said. “The [SIF] is a great opportunity to ‘jump into’ the world of creative problem solving. In addition to funding, we aim to establish connections between students and the broader entrepreneurial community around us.”

Natalia Elizondo ’19 hopes that SIF will show how students can make a difference in a creative manner regarding an issue they feel is important.

“The most valuable thing students can get out of this fund is to help others by realizing their power as students,” Elizondo said. “[Students can] harness the power they have to bring about positive change.”

David Shapiro ’17 visualizes SIF as a means to provide financial assistance and professional guidance to help students develop, design and critique projects. According to him, SIF will give students the opportunity to access their creative outlets and also help students who aren’t involved in projects.

“With SIF, the focus, for me, is giving students the tools they need and the funds they need to address issues we face in this campus in a creative, innovative way,” Shapiro said. “SIF shows that entrepreneurship is reorienting their focus away from ‘making money’ for individual students and towards a focus on creative problem solving that benefits the student body.”

E-club hopes SIF will encourage the LC community to construct projects that uniquely address a problem they are passionate about.

“We see this fund as the beginning,” Swanson said. “[It is] something that can help students take their project further.”

Aside from the SIF, E-club is currently focusing on implementing workshops and events so students can gain the knowledge to begin their own projects and ventures.

“I hope that this club can give students the resources—skills, mentorships, funding—to empower them to follow through on their ideas,” Swanson said. “Perhaps more importantly, I hope this club can help inspire students to take action on what they find important and follow through on those aspirations.”

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