Fashion designer Tory Burch addressed more than 200 mem­bers of the North­eastern com­mu­nity on Tuesday after­noon. Photo by Mary Knox Merrill.

As a fledg­ling fash­ion­ista, Tory Burch lacked both design expe­ri­ence and busi­ness acumen, but she made up for those short­falls with hard work.

Be tena­cious, and believe in your­self and your con­cept,” Burch told more than 200 stu­dents, fac­ulty and staff who packed the Raytheon Amphithe­ater on Tuesday after­noon for a ret­ro­spec­tive of the fashion designer’s foray into cre­ating bohemian chic clothes, shoes and handbags.

The event — spon­sored by the North­eastern Uni­ver­sity Alumni Asso­ci­a­tion — was hosted by Startup Mass­a­chu­setts in cel­e­bra­tion of the one-​​year anniver­sary of the Startup America Part­ner­ship, a private-​​sector alliance of entre­pre­neurs, cor­po­ra­tions and uni­ver­sity foun­da­tions launched by the Obama admin­is­tra­tion and ded­i­cated to accel­er­ating high-​​growth entre­pre­neur­ship at star­tups throughout the nation.

In his wel­coming remarks, North­eastern Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun praised the university’s student-​​run Entre­pre­neurs Club, which was recently ranked sixth out of 20 by FledgeWing, an online net­work that pro­vides aspiring student-​​entrepreneurs with the tools to develop, build and launch inno­v­a­tive companies.

Aoun said prac­ticing entre­pre­neur­ship in America is a par­tic­u­larly worth­while pur­suit. “We’re allowed to take risks here and fail,” he explained. “If we fail, we are not doomed. We can start again.”

For her part, Burch recounted her rise to fame. More than 10 years ago, she was raising three chil­dren and oper­ating a brand-​​new busi­ness out of a one-​​room office in New York. But one day after talk show host Oprah Win­frey endorsed her clothing line in 2005, Burch’s web­site drew more than eight mil­lion vis­i­tors. Today, Burch employs more than 1,500 people, 1,200 of whom are women.

All along, Burch said she believed in her vision. “I wanted to design beau­ti­fully made clothes that weren’t a for­tune and were what I wanted to wear,” she explained.

After her lec­ture, Burch fielded ques­tions from the audi­ence and Twitter. One student-​​entrepreneur asked Burch to name a company’s greatest indi­cator of success.

Product is the most impor­tant part,” Burch explained. “If it doesn’t sell well, then where is your business?”

Cory Bolotsky, director of Startup Mass­a­chu­setts and a sopho­more busi­ness major with a dual con­cen­tra­tion in mar­keting and entre­pre­neur­ship at North­eastern, helped orga­nize the event, which he referred to as a “call to the com­mu­nity to realize that every stake­holder plays a role in devel­oping the startup ecosystem in Boston.”

Bolotsky, who also serves as the exec­u­tive director of Startup Summer, Inc., which places col­lege stu­dents in intern­ships at star­tups in Boston, said working for a young com­pany offers a unique experience.

As he put it, “It gives stu­dents the oppor­tu­nity to do mean­ingful work and get hands-​​on face time with the founders that can make an impact on the bottom line.”

At a pre-​​lecture lun­cheon for stu­dent entre­pre­neurs, Lindsay Burke, S’11, had the oppor­tu­nity to ask Burch for advice on mar­keting Harper Lei, her eco-​​friendly clothing line of skirts, sun­dresses and yoga pants that she hopes to sell in bou­tiques and retail shops such as Anthro­pologie and Nordstrom.

Burke said, “I always knew I wanted to have my own busi­ness,” and encour­aged other stu­dents to start their own com­pa­nies. “It’s a great way to be cre­ative and do exactly what you want to do,” said the young entre­pre­neur, who has received input on her busi­ness plan from IDEA: Northeastern’s Ven­ture Accelerator.

The day­long event also fea­tured a panel dis­cus­sion on the role of the com­mu­nity in sup­porting entre­pre­neurs. Speakers included John Harthorne, the founder and CEO of Mass­Chal­lenge, an annual $1 mil­lion global startup com­pe­ti­tion and accel­er­ator pro­gram; Dave Balter, founder and CEO of BzzA­gent, a leading word-​​of-​​mouth mar­keting com­pany; and Daphne Zohar, founder and man­aging partner of PureTech Ven­tures, which spe­cial­izes in early-​​stage invest­ment in novel ther­a­peu­tics, med­ical devices and research technologies.

Watch the full event below: