Published 04/04/17

Inspired innovators begin with the question “Why?”

“Entrepreneurship is not for the lazy, or the shy, or the noncompetitive,” noted Robert Wadsworth P'19, Managing Director for HarbourVest, a panelist at "Start-Up Solutions – Entrepreneurship and Innovation." It’s a 24-hours-a day, seven-days-a week enterprise. That’s what it takes to break into a market or an industry.”

The panel, moderated by Trustee Professor of Management Michael Roberto, DBA, offered advice and support for new entrepreneurs attempting to turn their ideas into reality. In addition to Wadsworth, the panel, offered as a part of Bryant’s Alumni Engagement Day, included Daryl Crockett '82, President and CEO of ValidDatum; David Donlan '00, Chief Revenue Officer for Crayon; and Matt Wilson ’08, Co-founder of Under30Experiences.

“The Bryant network is full of real people who are invested in giving us good career advice."

“We’ve gathered here today a travel guru, a sales guru, a data guru, and an investment guru,” noted Roberto. “That’s quite a panel.”

The panelists noted that the students assembled for the discussion were a perfect audience for the topic. “A lot of the best ideas ... tend to come from younger people because they haven’t developed longstanding habits or assumed things can never change," Wadsworth explained. "They tend to ask ‘why?’ That’s where innovation comes from, when someone challenges a standing methodology or approach and comes at a problem from a different angle.”

Finding the balance

Such ideas must be balanced with feedback and sound advice. “The people who you go to, the people who you surround yourself with, will help decide if you’re successful,” said Crockett. “You’ll meet people here at Bryant, whether it’s professors or alumni, that will help you succeed.”

That message resonated for the students in the audience. “I liked the variety of careers that were represented on the panel, because it gave us a number of different perspectives on entrepreneurship,” said Cristina Batista ’18. “The Bryant network is full of real people who are invested in giving us good career advice and they want to help us out along the way.”

“It’s great to see so many engaged students and professors,” said Wilson, this year's recipient of Bryant’s Young Alumnus Leadership Award. “As a student, entrepreneurship is often times just a dream. But hearing from experienced entrepreneurs and investors, hopefully, gives them a good perspective on their potential futures.”