Guided by the leadership of student catalyst Petar Petrovic (above), Mac Startups began this March as an organic idea for the College to expand its entrepreneurial tech draw on campus via summer programming. Following a fellowship model, the college provided four teams consisting of ~15 combined students with coworking space, housing, funding and networking resources.
During the three month pilot, students took a crash course on starting a new technology business, while many members from surrounding tech community encouraged and engaged. Ultimately, over 100 people came out to see the final demos, many of which had personally supported the cause one way or another.
“It really went beyond our imagination,” Petrovic says. “The response from students, staff supporters, funders, mentors and all the people who contributed was really surprising.”
Although a first for Macalester, campus incubator/accelerator programs aren’t a new thing; many higher education organizations are already undertaking their own methods, mirroring others, or are actively exploring all options for attracting entrepreneurially minded students and their dollars.
After all, colleges aren’t merely competing against one another anymore for attendees — they are competing against attractive alternative investments in terms of time, money and applicable experience.
“It’s consistent with what people want out of their college experience…they are paying attention, for very good reason, to the value proposition of attending college,” said Macalester President Brian Rosenberg addressing the audience after the show.
“My goal is for us to be able to look back in 10-15 years and see entrepreneurship as a defining element of this institution…when we look back on the history of entrepreneurship on campus at Macalester College, I believe Petar Petrovic will be one of the legendary and seminal figures,” he added.
Depending on what Macalester decides to build off the foundation and where they take this momentum, it’s not hard to picture a positive entrepreneurial impact on hundreds of future students for years to come thanks to Petrovic’s charge.
“I can’t make any personal guarantees about what’s next,” says Petrovic, who upon graduation this summer has taken a position with PowerObjects, in addition to pursuing COBO. “I’m not in a position to make those decisions,” he says. “We learned so much,” he humbly admits. “Creating an atmosphere for support that transcends me is part of the plan and I want to reiterate how receptive this community has been in getting Mac Startups off the ground.”
postModern Mailing is a package processing web application that makes mail processing more efficient and more eco-friendly.
MacSitters is highly localized babysitting and tutoring platform for Macalester College students.
COBO is an online marketplace for college communities.
Yours & by You blurs the distinction between a ‘purchase of yours’ and a ‘creation by you’ in the leather handbag market.