The Innovation Challenge provides students with a unique opportunity to collaborate with local businesses or non-profits, addressing real-world issues and presenting innovative solutions. This year, the challenges are focused on SidelineSwap, an online marketplace for sporting equipment co-founded by Holy Cross alumnus Brendan Candon ’10. In a recent interview with Maeley Nakamura ’26, Brendan shared his journey from a political science major at a liberal arts school to becoming the CEO of SidelineSwap and how his experiences at Holy Cross shaped his entrepreneurial success.
MN: As a political science major at Holy Cross, how did your liberal arts education contribute to your entrepreneurial success?
BC: “As an entrepreneur, there’s no blueprint. You’re constantly problem-solving and learning across a broad surface area. And the learning is often self-directed. There’s no better foundation for entrepreneurship than liberal arts because you learn how to learn and you have an opportunity to study a broad range of subjects – from economics and accounting to political science and psychology.
Majoring in political science helped prepare me for an environment where the right answer is often far from obvious. I learned to think critically, consider multiple perspectives, understand multiplayer strategy, and communicate persuasively.
In both politics and business, it’s up to the leader to ask the right questions, distill the information at hand, make the best decision possible and influence their teams to pursue that plan of action. As a political science major and history minor, I had an opportunity to study these dynamics through history’s most challenging conflicts and greatest leaders, and I think that prepared me well for life as an entrepreneur.”
Long before Brendan founded SidelineSwap, he had a history of starting businesses and talks about his successes and failures along the way, and the story of how SidelineSwap started.
MN: Did you always know that you wanted to be an entrepreneur? Continue reading “From Liberal Arts to Co-founder and CEO: A Conversation with Brendan Candon ’10”