The spring semester is a busy time for Horn Entrepreneurship with many signature program offerings available over the coming months. Hen Hatch finals will be at The Queen in April, VentureOn, our in-semester venture support program, is in full swing and Summer Founders, our full-service pre-accelerator, is accepting students on a rolling basis. The sheer amount of opportunities can be slightly overwhelming, so the Horn Entrepreneurship media team sat down with some of the community’s most fervent doers to ask them, well, just how they do so much.
James Massaquoi, a co-founder of 360VR Technology, was introduced to the Horn Entrepreneurship community and program offerings through the Delaware Innovation Fellows (DIF) program, an enrichment initiative open to all majors at UD. The enrichment program connected James to a community of student entrepreneurs eager to uncover the next opportunity and emphasized the importance of exploration.
“It all started with DIF and my 24-hour access card to the Venture Development Center,” said James, describing the collaborative workspace for student entrepreneurs, located on 132 E. Delaware Ave. “I met some cool, motivated people like Zack Jones [director at Dual School] and Jordan Gonzalez [co-founder of GeoSwap] and I tried to learn from their experiences. I noticed that successful people would hungrily explore opportunities until they found a project they were passionate about to fully invest in.”
Jonathan Wood, a serial entrepreneur, and our resident Blockchain wizard, further emphasized how crucial exploration is and explained how it helps in preparation for the future.
“Exploring lots of things is important to understand: What is this thing, this world I am growing up in and inhabiting? How do I navigate it?” said Jonathan. “I think it only makes sense to ask as many questions as you can, read as much as you can, collect as many perspectives as you can before you even think about answering some of the more pressing questions, like what do you want your career to look like?”
Horn Entrepreneurship knows just how powerful exploration is; that’s why we tell students: all you need is an idea. Programs like VentureOn, Hen Hatch and Summer Founders are based on exploration and by committing to explore, you commit to personal growth. Students who take the initiative to explore find new interests and passions and feel more connected to and confident in their career path.
“What I’ve learned in my time as an entrepreneur is that you aren’t born with an interest, or a passion or a purpose,” said Vince DiFelice, Manager, Venture Support at Horn Entrepreneurship. “You’re born an empty vessel and through life experiences, you generate and develop interests, so it’s all about getting those life experiences. Entrepreneurship is simply a way to chase those life experiences and Horn offers several different ways to do that.”
Of course, it’s much easier to suggest gung-ho exploration and participation in new experiences than it is to actually do it. But James, always involved in something new, argues that starting to explore things is more about mindset and ignoring conventional thinking.
“People would ask me what and why I was doing things, and I would always ask them: what do you want to do tomorrow?” said James. “That line of thinking, of what could I do to make myself better tomorrow, is much more streamlined and actionable than the conventional ten-year plan, or asking yourself where you want to be in the next decade.”
Pursuing experiences for what it means today goes against how most college students think. And it makes sense, considering what students do in a course this semester impacts what they can do in future semesters. But James says that it’s this pressure to plan and prepare that limits adaptation, improvement and even enjoyment.
“You can't really predict what an opportunity is going to turn out to be, so it’s best to be open and make the most of whatever it is, regardless of whether you can see the line connecting that experience to your dream career or your biggest goal,” said James. “Everything is a long and winding road, it’s never straight, but knowing that is really freeing because it becomes less about ruining an opportunity or worrying so much about the future, and just enjoying and making the most of the moment.”
Find help on your winding road by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to setup an intake appointment to choose which Horn Entrepreneurship opportunities are right for you.
About Horn Entrepreneurship
Horn Entrepreneurship serves as the University of Delaware’s creative engine for entrepreneurship education and advancement. Built and actively supported by successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders, Horn Entrepreneurship empowers aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs as they pursue new ideas for a better world.