VDC Community Sessions Mentor, Mike Meola explains why everyone should stop by on Wednesday nights!
For anyone at University of Delaware who is interested in entrepreneurship, the Community Sessions at Horn’s Venture Development Center should be the number one stop on Wednesday nights. VDC Community Sessions are for students looking to develop their entrepreneurial skills, join a community of like minded creators, get feedback on a current idea or even to get inspiration for their next. The meetings are designed to promote growth by allowing students to give and receive feedback on their ideas, as well as share with each other some lessons that have pushed them in the right direction. Exercises such as idea creation, goal planning, and constant feedback help to blossom creative energy and innovative thinking. Meetings occur every Wednesday night from 6:00-7:00 p.m. at the Horn Entrepreneurship’s Venture Development Center during the semester.
The concept for VDC Community Session was driven by student needs. VDC Community Sessions are where students begin to discover these ideas and to discover what interests them. Vince Difelice, Faculty Director, Student Venture Support at Horn asks students this question. “Do you want a future aligned with what interests you? To answer this question requires igniting passion for ideas that have personal meaning. Connecting passions to a marketable idea is done through entrepreneurship and discovery. This is the basis of VDC Community Sessions where students make this connection.”
We also spoke with Mike Meola, a Junior Entrepreneurship major, and the new mentor for VDC Community Sessions. He explained how meetups can help all dedicated students, even if they aren’t interested in creating their own startup. Sign up for the VDC Community Sessions here, or check out their new Instagram account @ud_vdccs.
Horn: What is your favorite part of the VDC Community Sessions?
Mike: There are those who come every week and are cornerstones of the VDC Community Sessions, but we also welcome new faces every week, which is awesome. It is so beneficial for everyone to make new connections and hear new ideas. We have a community of like-minded individuals who are passionate and sometimes intense about their ideas, yet everyone there just wants to see each other succeed. Everyone gets to forge their own path in an accepting, relaxed environment where there is a new perspective and different experience right around the corner.
Horn: What would you tell someone who has never heard of the VDC Community Sessions?
Mike: If you think entrepreneurially, creatively, or out-of-the-box this is the place for you! Many people who come do not even have a startup, or they are super early in the process of getting it going. The main thing everyone should know is that anyone can take great information from the VDC Community Sessions, but they are also a lot of fun, and once you come once you will want to keep coming back.
Horn: What is the origin story of the sessions?
Mike: It actually branched off from VentureOn, another Horn offering for those ready to develop their idea into a potential startup. The two programs compliment each other with different intensities. The split led to more engagement, and allowed both offerings to focus on specific aspects of entrepreneurship. VDC Community Sessions are now designed to allow for open community discussion and to let students establish a group of friends with similar goals. It was found that students wanted a place to meet people and talk about ideas in a relaxed environment, so the VDC Community Sessions were born!
Horn: What was the best piece of advice that you’ve received at the VDC Community Sessions?
Mike: A big lesson that helped me was shifting focus to the problem instead of the solution. I’ve also learned to keep my mind open and to ask people questions. Everyone at Horn is looking to help you and most people are also looking for help themselves. At the VDC Community Sessions we are trying to create a logical pathway for our ideas to grow. Knowing how we might get there definitely helps when you can learn from others in your community.
Horn: What if someone wants to attend, but doesn’t have any ideas?
Mike: You don’t need an idea! You can show up, help others, and be a part of the community. No one is accountable to bring anything or have startups ready to make money. What is needed is passionate people to come and get involved. You don’t need to come every week, and you don’t need to set your schedule around the sessions. Just know that when you do come there will be a bunch of smiling faces ready to offer you feedback and to accept any feedback that you offer them.
Horn: What should every student know about the VDC Community Sessions?
Mike: There are many people who attend and don’t wish to start a business but they thrive in talking about startup ideas. Everyone who has their own passion will benefit from the time they spend, because the real goal of the VDC Community Sessions is to empower each other and share the learning experience. I would say come, join us, have some fun, and pave your own path to the direction you take.
If dropping by on a Wednesday evening is not an option but you are interested in learning more about how Horn Entrepreneurship might assist you in your entrepreneurial endeavors. Let us know how we can help.
About Horn Entrepreneurship
Horn Entrepreneurship serves as the creative engine for entrepreneurship education and advancement at the University of Delaware. Currently ranked among the best entrepreneurship programs in the US, Horn Entrepreneurship was built and is actively supported by successful entrepreneurs, empowering aspiring innovators as they pursue new ideas for a better world.