Rutgers Entrepreneurial Society brings the "Sexy Side" of Entrepreneurship to Rutgers

It looked as if Hollywood took over the Rutgers Student Center in New Brunswick for “The Sexy Side of Entrepreneurship,” a night of flashing lights, gowns, and entrepreneurial insight from Rutgers Alumni who are working in the entertainment industry. Students, alumni and guests even walked into the music-filled room on a red carpet, complete with “paparazzi.”

The event was designed by the Rutgers Entrepreneurial Society, for students to understand the importance and impact of entrepreneurship within the entertainment industry. The event began with a student entrepreneur showcase and reception followed by a panel discussion with leading industry professionals, all who graduated from Rutgers themselves.

“We really wanted students to get excited about entrepreneurship,” said Ridah Mannan, Vice President of Marketing and Promotions for Rutgers Entrepreneurial Society. “Our panel really demonstrates the successes to be earned by taking part in this exciting and lucrative field.”

The reception room was lined with student entrepreneurs, each promoting their business or idea. From filmmakers to websites, clothing designers to bakers, all various ventures were represented. Kristen Richardson, an undergraduate business student and entrepreneur, handed out her baked goods to passers-by. Richardson was showcasing her business, ‘B Rich Desserts,’ which she hopes to take from her kitchen to a storefront one day. “I’m excited to learn more about how to start this up at business school,” she said. “At this event so far, I have met so many people that could form great business relationships. This is a great way for me to get my name out there and see how people react to my products.”

Further down the line of student booths was Max Reviakin, an undergraduate economics major, who was promoting his company, ‘Keisanaa’ on an iPad. Keisanaa takes the dating website model and applies it to connect artists and consumer publics. The business was incorporated in 2009. “There are a lot of people who have great ideas, but it’s really about thinking what a customer wants,” says Reviakin. “Once I knew what the customer wanted, I went to a business incubator, and saw the research and development required to propel an organization forward.”

Dr. Randall Pinkett, Chairman and CEO of BCT Partners and winner of the fourth season of “The Apprentice” with Donald Trump, moderated the panel which followed the reception. Being a proud Rutgers Alumnus himself (’94) he was full of energy as he spoke to motivate the aspiring entrepreneurs in the audience. “Passion is what you are drawn to do,” said Pinkett. The second part is what you are gifted at doing. Find the intersection between your passion and you will find out what type of entrepreneur you will be.”

The panel members were: Terry Stewart (Rutgers ’69), President of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame , Matt Myklusch (Rutgers ’99), Director of Ancillary Business, MTV Networks and author of “Jack Blank and the Imagine Nation,” and current undergraduate student Phillip Annand, Founder, The Award Tour. The panel opened by telling the audience funny stories about their beginnings in business and entertainment. From making a t-shirt business to a video game rental business, they seemed to have started young and have done it all. “You can never start too young,” advised Stewart.

The panel answered various questions about getting into the field of entertainment, and gave great advice to students. “Work for free, volunteer, go in early, and do whatever it is they ask you to do, recommends Myklusch. “It’s not just getting in – there are a million interns, you have to stand out.” Student entrepreneur Phillip Annand added, “To be successful, obsess, obsess, obsess. If you know what you want your life to be like, make it happen.”

The speakers and audience were energized and motivated by the end of the event. The final question was asked by a student who said “how do I get started?” to which Stewart bluntly explained, “Well first you’ve got to have the nerve to come up here and talk to me.”

Hannah B. Redmond
hredmond@business.rutgers.edu

TAGS: Entrepreneurship New Brunswick Students Undergraduate