BMCC’s fifth annual Entrepreneurship Student Summit kicked off with a continental breakfast in Richard Harris Terrace and an introduction from BMCC President Antonio Pérez.
“When I arrive at BMCC every morning, I ask myself, ‘What can I do today to improve the college that’s creative and new?’” he said. “In that aspect, I consider myself to be an entrepreneur.”
He shared a personal story with the audience. When Pérez was in a fraternity in the 1960s, he raised funds for charity, by encouraging students to pay 25 cents for blind dates with other students, promising them that a computer would romantically match the students up. The computer-matched “couples” would then be announced on the college radio station.
Unfortunately, Pérez recalled, the whole process didn’t go quite as planned. He joked, though, that he “invented” the concept of online dating, which is popular today.
“You should always want to start something exciting and create something—and do it first,” he said.
He closed his talk by reminding students to ask themselves, “What is my motivation?,” stating that his is helping others.
Question and answer session
The audience also viewed a slideshow that highlighted the success of innovative companies such as amazon.com, Nissan and Apple.
BMCC business students then interviewed local entrepreneurs in a question-and-answer forum.
Student David Strickler of the Free Enterprise Club interviewed entrepreneur Dr. Jeffrey Mollins, a chiropractor. Dr. Mollins advised aspiring entrepreneurs to “think outside the box”—something he does by participating in charity work within his community, such as hosting blood drives.
Mollins advised students to be professional but also quick-thinking. When he launched his own practice, he promised his father that within six months it would take off—and it, did partly because Mollins handed his business cards out “to everyone, anywhere” despite the playful mocking of his friends.
The importance of a degree
Entrepreneur, pastry chef, and business student Jessica Real-Mohr spoke about her personal venture, Delectable Treats.
“I did attend a culinary school, but a business degree is essential,” she said. “You need to know the basics of business, how to establish a foundation, how to construct a business model and go beyond hands-on training. BMCC is providing me with the training I need to really grow my business.”
Real-Mohr says that today, small businesses have a major advantage because they can be launched from home, like her baked goods business.
“Always know your competition, what your goals are, and how you can stand out,” she advised.
Student Christopher Kwak interviewed Dr. Luo-Jen Chiang, Principal Technology Security, AT&T, whose advice was to manage time well, possess the desire to achieve and never give up in order to succeed.
After Real-Mohr interviewed entrepreneur Natalia Oberti Noguera, Founder of Pipeline Fund, six BMCC students recited business-themed essays and poems in various languages, including Italian, Spanish and Chinese.
The event concluded with a luncheon for student entrepreneurs and all attendees and guests.
The goal of the summit, organized by a committee of students and faculty members, was to spread the Entrepreneurial Spirit throughout the college community.