“I’m here because the guy they really wanted to speak cancelled,” joked Richard D’Amore at last night’s Global Entrepreneurship Week kick-off event.
Held at Northeastern University, the event celebrated the start of a week dedicated to entrepreneurship and innovation at NU.
Distinguished faculty and alumni joined students from across the university for the kickoff, highlighted by remarks from Northeastern’s own preeminent entrepreneurs. Dean Hugh Courtney served as emcee for the evening, which began with remarks from Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Stephen Director.
Director outlined the programs of Northeastern’s Center for Entrepreneurship Education, made possible in 2012 thanks to a $5 million investment by university trustee Alan McKim, MBA ’88.
Marc Meyer, who created Northeastern’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group in 2006, delved deeper into these programs. Dr. Meyer highlighted the programs within NUCEE available for alumni, graduate students, and undergraduates with ventures at any stage, remarking that, “no other university has it outlined like this.”
Meyer specifically touched on IDEA: Northeastern University’s Venture Accelerator and the role it has played in jumpstarting student and alumni-run ventures. While discussing IDEA’s venture portfolio, Meyer indicated that at least once a month, one of these ventures receives some type of external financing – a testament to the strength of the program and the caliber of ventures.
Meyer introduced Dan Gregory, co-director of NUCEE and IDEA’s faculty advisor, as well as IDEA’s three former CEO’s. “Oh, you all still like each other?” Meyer joked, as all three stood side by side together.
Meyer ended his remarks quite eloquently, “Co-op is part of our culture, and entrepreneurship is part of our tradition.”
Professor Dan McCarthy took the stage to introduce the evening’s featured speaker, Richard D’Amore. McCarthy joked that he was still trying to get a grasp on his title – McKim-D’Amore Distinguished Professor at the D’Amore McKim School of Business.
McCarthy taught both McKim and D’Amore during their years at Northeastern and was thus a perfect selection to introduce his former student to the stage.
Richard D’Amore began his remarks by touching upon the tremendous strides Northeastern has taken as a university since 2007. In 2013, Northeastern received 47,000 applications, the highest in the country. Northeastern saw a 271% increase in patent applications over the past five years, and is consistently ranked best in job placement. Most notably, the university moved into the US News Top 100 rankings in 2007 and this year, into the Top 50 – the fastest ascent of any university in the history of the rankings.
In terms of entrepreneurship, D’Amore referenced Northeastern graduates Richard Egan and Roger Marino (founders of EMC), Robert Shillman (founder and chairman of Cognex), and Henry Nasella (Founder of LNK Venture Partners) – some of the world’s top entrepreneurs.
“Entrepreneurship,” D’Amore posited, “is innovation that capitalizes on change to create value.” He believes Northeastern’s growth can be attributed to this very idea. While much of higher education “pressed on the brakes” during the recent recession, D’Amore explained, Northeastern chose to “press our advantage.”
“Northeastern’s brand of entrepreneurship is all about doing, it’s in our DNA.” D’Amore concluded. “Global Entrepreneurship Week shines a bright light on all of this entrepreneurship and on the group of Northeastern students that just want to do it.”
Dean Courtney closed the program by expanding upon this with a call to action to continue all of the incredible progress. “You all define the ecosystem,” he remarked, directed towards the audience. “You are the do-er’s.”
For a full listing of Northeastern’s Global Entrepreneurship Events, visitneu.edu/eweek.
Libby Kober is a Communications Officer for IDEA: Northeastern’s Venture Accelerator. Follow her on Twitter at @libbykober.