Tag: successful black entrepreneurs

How to Succeed in Startup School

A few weeks after launching a startup, you start to feel a little nervous.

You’re still not sure how to structure a project, what kind of funding you’ll receive, or what to expect from the people who will work with you.

It’s the beginning of a new business.

And yet, as you begin to look at your goals, you find a sense of pride in what you’re trying to accomplish.

The people at Startup School, which is being held in Manhattan’s famed East Village, are among the best you’ll find.

They’ve taught more than 300 students since 2011, and they’re all incredibly enthusiastic.

You can’t be nervous when you’re teaching. 

In the past, these students have been at a disadvantage.

For one thing, they’ve had little training in how to navigate the startup world, and often weren’t aware of how to properly market themselves.

“If you didn’t know where to put your logo, how to pitch, how much to spend, how you should communicate, and so on,” says Eric Borenstein, an entrepreneur and founder of the Startup School. 

But now, thanks to these students, they’re on a different level of sophistication, thanks largely to the mentorship and mentorship from mentors like Josh Wetherall, who cofounded a startup called MySpace and taught students the fundamentals of how business should be done. 

Wetherall is a well-known business educator, a mentor of entrepreneurs, and the founder of Borenson and Associates, an Austin-based startup consultancy that provides mentorships to business students. 

“They’re just getting to know you, and you’re a better person for it,” says Wetherand, who was born in Brooklyn and raised in California.

“I think the best way to get to know someone is through an investment.” 

The founders of Startup School at the University of California, San Francisco. 

Eric Borenbaum, Josh Witherall, and Sarah Rains. 

Josh Wetherland and Sarah Wetherlands are part of the group that is preparing students to launch a startup.

Borenfeld and Wether, who is married with a toddler, were inspired to start the program by a friend, who had taken entrepreneurship classes in the hopes of landing a job with a major tech company. 

So the trio started a class called “Business 101,” which started as a way for students to understand how to market their startups, and then became a kind of “school of entrepreneurship,” says Boren.

“We put the business model, the product, and how to sell it all together, and we tried to teach the people the best ways of marketing, so they could learn how to do that better.” 

“It’s the first time they were learning how to run a business,” says Rains, the founder and CEO of Bodo. 

The first day, they launched an ecommerce site called MySpace. 

They’re hoping that by the time the students are finished in the fall, they’ll be able to help with some of the same things that startups need: product development, marketing, product marketing, business development, and customer support.

“There are some things you want to know, but you don’t want to spend a lot of time with them,” says Sam Barreto, the program’s CEO.

“You want to build relationships with them.” 

They also need to learn how not to be jerks.

“It’s a very unique environment, so you’re really working on a learning curve,” says Barretos. 

You also need a sense that you can work in groups.

“The students have the ability to build teams,” says Boren. 

Bears on the first day. 

For the students, there’s a lot more of a focus on communication than the classroom.

Borews, for example, says he’ll teach a course called “Culture of Success” in which students are introduced to how to create a social media profile, how best to present themselves in the workplace, and what to do if your boss doesn’t like your work.

They also take part in a weekly “business networking” event called the “Passionate Launch.”

The students gather at a nearby restaurant for a roundtable discussion and networking.

They also spend a week doing “work experience,” which includes mentoring the students on various business-related projects.

“A lot of our students are trying to make their first impression on people,” says John Tait, the dean of Business & Economics.

“They’re trying not to do things they’re not comfortable with.

They’re trying things they know are a good fit for their team.” 

What is the “business-education pipeline” like for entrepreneurs? 

The students in the program, from left to right: Josh Rains and Sarah Rains. 

 Borenbaum and Wither