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Published 03/09/17

Keynote speaker at BUNEEC 2017

Kevin Harrington, an original judge on ABC's Shark Tank, addressed more than 300 aspiring entrepreneurs at the sixth annual Bryant University Northeast Entrepreneurship Conference.

'Disrupt the industry,' keynote speaker tells aspiring entrepreneurs

"Disrupt the industry."

That was advice that Kevin Harrington, an original judge on ABC's Shark Tank, offered to more than 300 aspiring entrepreneurs gathered at the sixth annual Bryant University Northeast Entrepreneurship Conference March 4. The conference, hosted by Bryant’s Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization,  is one of the region’s largest educational events for young entrepreneurs.

"Entrepreneurs look for inefficiencies and see where they can fill needs."

“Whether it’s Pandora or Spotify with music, or AirBnB with hotels, entrepreneurs look for inefficiencies and see where they can fill needs," Harrington said.

He also noted that business is trending toward a gig economy, which relies on short-term contracts and freelance workers. "People want jobs done fast and efficiently," he said, citing companies like Uber and TaskRabbit.

Dave Greco ’00, founder of SalesPreneur, a sales training program, urged the young entrepreneurs to "leverage your social circle. Whether it’s Facebook, or Twitter, or LinkedIn or SnapChat, you have thousands and thousands of people at your fingertips. I don’t think anyone’s figured out the best way to communicate with Millennials yet.”

One theme of the conference was innovation, said Conference Director Jacob Zimmer ’19.

“Bryant really prides itself on being an innovative place to learn,” Zimmer said. “We hope that everyone who attended the conference continues to push the status quo and continues to problem-solve to find new ideas.”

Bryant's focus on innovation was one reason John Logan ’16, a digital content associate with the New England Patriots, returned to campus to speak at the conference.

“I really think the world runs on innovation,” he said. "I’m honored that CEO asked me back here to talk about some of the things that I’ve done.”