Local Colleges Attend Inaugural Student Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Summit in Worcester

People chatting in circle

Last month at WorcLab, Worcester’s premier business incubator and coworking space, the city hosted the inaugural Student Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Summit (SEES) to bring the startup community together on Saturday, March 25.  Organizations and local businesses set up tables to share their resources with budding student entrepreneurs. The event brought nearly 25 students together from various colleges in the Worcester area including Holy Cross, WPI, WSU, Clark, Assumption, and UMass. Students had the opportunity to learn directly from local business owners, pitch their businesses and explore resources. SEES provided an excellent platform for students to gain practical knowledge and insights from the successful entrepreneurs next door. 

The event kicked off with food and networking on the 7th floor of the Printer’s Building on Portland Street in downtown Worcester. During the summit, students interacted with business owners from a diverse range of industries including biotech, gaming, and maker spaces. They learned about the challenges that these entrepreneurs faced when starting and growing their businesses, the strategies they used to overcome these obstacles and the many resources available to them in Worcester. 

About thirty minutes later the programming started.  Zach Dutton, Executive Director of Venture Forum opened the event, followed by Tyler Ojala, WorcLab’s Community Manager, both of whom helped to organize the summit. “We knew there was a demand for this kind of event,” stated Ojala, “but we were blown away by the response!” Following his remarks, the keynote speaker, Ryan Canuel, shared his journey to Co-Founder & CEO of Petricore Inc. Canuel emphasized the advantages of starting a business in Worcester and identified mentorship as the root of his success. 

Events like SEES provide aspiring entrepreneurs with a firsthand understanding of what it takes to run a successful business in their community and provide ample reason to appreciate their local markets. SEES provides students with the chance to network directly with entrepreneurs, which can be incredibly valuable for their personal aspirations. These connections lead to internships, job opportunities, and even business partnerships down the line.  “It’s clear that college students in Worcester are hungry for opportunities to learn and grow as entrepreneurs. We’re already brainstorming ways to make next year’s summit even more impactful!”  shared Ojala.  Stay tuned for the next event to be held in the spring of 2024!

Thank you to Alexander Christie ’24 and Liz Garfield ’24 for sharing this recap!