If you were to search the term “entrepreneurship club” on Google right now, chances are the result “Entrepreneurship Club at Syracuse University” will show up near the top. If you are an entrepreneur, or anyone who knows and cares about search engine optimization, you know this is no small feat.
Entrepreneurs are a unique group of animals. They often work alone and have extreme passion. Also, the process of building a company easily becomes romanticized. So, what if there was a group of entrepreneurs who met regularly, who understood what it really takes to build something and who can, together, generate opportunities for one another?
This is the story of how current president Sarah Grosz Entrepreneurs Club at Syracuse University, or the eClub, was able to grow a small 20 person weekly meeting to a group of 200 aspiring entrepreneurs in just two years.
As I walked into Room 101 in the Whitman School of Management one Monday night last fall, I was immediately taken back by the sight of the packed auditorium that seats 200 students. Just a semester ago, the meeting was held in a regular classroom with only a hand-full of students. How did Sarah manage to grow something so fast? I decided to sit down with Sarah, who has become one of the most recognizable student faces of entrepreneurship on campus, to unpack the hidden DNA of the club’s success.
As a freshman, Sarah joined the eClub and quickly became the Director of Programming. For her, group engagement and consistent activities is key to a successful club. The first problem she had to tackle was to make a club a more social place that is welcoming and above all else, fun to be part of. Over the past two years, Sarah has brought in speakers with diverse backgrounds, launched campus wide campaigns, and after-hour networking events. The list goes on. Her focus on the social aspect of this club has definitely paid off.
With such a rapid growth rate in membership, the demographics of the eClub have also shifted from being made up of almost 100% Whitman students to over 50% student participation from other colleges. Diversity was the next problem Sarah tackled. The eClub has successfully changed the stereotype that entrepreneurs are only business students. The truth is, entrepreneurs come from any and all disciplinary backgrounds.
Sarah also built out the leadership structure to the eClub. She has added executive positions like a C-Suite to run a club business and a strategy team to better understand the dynamics of our members. Together, these three key improvements have led to companies from across the country to sponsor and partner with SU’s eClub. Sarah’s vision for the eClub led her to be recently awarded first place for her outstanding leadership in a network of 250 entrepreneurial clubs nationally.
Outside the eClub, Sarah is an IT major in the School of Information Studies (iSchool). She also continues to pursue her entrepreneurial journey with HomeSlice, a startup app designed to revolutionize the way we order pizza. She is also actively engaged with the School of Information Studies in promotion of the IDS program.
As I closed our interview, I asked Sarah if there were anything else she would like me to include. She said, like she always does, “Monday evenings, 8 p.m., Whitman Room 101.:
Article by Lawrence (YongZhang) Lin and edited by Amanda Chou, Blackstone LaunchPad Global Media Fellows.
Photo provided by Sarah Grosz.