The fall 2018 series of Entrepreneurship 100: Conversations has come to a close. Over the past three weeks, a diverse group of nine entrepreneur panelists shared their stories on employment and entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship and finding ideas.

Making the decision to jump from a job to an entrepreneur can take people by surprise. “Sometimes you find something that you’re doing and enjoying when an opportunity opens up and all of a sudden, you’re an entrepreneur,” said Sam Dumcum of iCube during the first event. Both Nat Korol of Hyphen Co. and Fotini Iconomopoulos of Forward Focusing agreed that it is vital to always keep an eye open for new jobs as well as new business opportunities.

The second panel emphasized the importance of social mission for many businesses. Mayrose Salvador from Pueblo Science, Ian Adamson from Greenbelt Microgreens, and Morgan Wyatt from Greenlid Envirosciences each talked about how their organizations, including charities and for-profit businesses, are driven by a diverse range of social missions. One main question from the discussion was how does a business with a strong social mission define success? “Success would be to get healthier food into the hands of people who currently can’t afford it,” said Ian Adamson from Greenbelt Microgreens.

The final E100 session featured a discussion on an incredibly common question for entrepreneurs – is my business idea any good? Over the hour-long discussion with Scott McAuley from Lunanos, Arjun Mali from iMerciv and Diane Lai from Diane Lai for Soft Skin, one common theme jumped out over and over. “Be super clear with who your costumer is,” said Diane Lai, “and listen to them for feedback on your idea.” Your customers will tell you if you have a good idea, when to pivot, and when to quit.

Krishana Sankar, a PhD student in physiology, attended the first two sessions. “One of my biggest takeaways from the event is that even though I have mostly a science background and not a business background, if I am interested in starting a business I should take the leap. This was a great motivator since it is something I worry about not having much of a business background.”

“The panels made me feel more comfortable and confident in knowing there are resources and networks out there that I could rely on when I chose to start my own company.”

Entrepreneurship 100: Conversations will return to campus in the new year, so be sure to watch out for announcements on dates, topics and panellists.