College is crazy expensive–and it’s getting more expensive all the time. Entrepreneurs like Peter Thiel are fond of saying it’s not worth it. But 23-year-old Chris Wolfel, who is getting his bachelor’s from Northeastern University this spring, found college to be not only a good investment, but the perfect launching pad for his entrepreneurial dreams.
For the last two years, Wolfel has been the CEO of IDEA, the only student-run venture accelerator in the country. Founded in 2009, IDEA offers workshops, meetups, coaching, mentoring, and most importantly, funding, all from alumni donors, for student startups. Wolfel and his team were able to raise $250,000 to help launch almost 300 businesses by students from every school across the university.
The eclectic group has spawned Uturn Audio, which created a retro turntable that raised over $245K on Kickstarter; Njabini, a sustainable apparel company based in Kenya; Tuatara, an e-textbook platform; Pure Pest Management, an organic pest control company now operating in six states; and Mini Pops, a snack food featured in Oprah’s “Favorite Things.”