The Georgetown University Student Association and StartupHoyas will implement a new weekly marketplace for the student body in the Leavey Center this spring. The market, which will serve as an indoor version of the Wednesday Farmer’s Market in the fall and spring months — named the Startup Market — will feature goods for sale from student entrepreneurs every Friday during the spring semester. While the initiative is still in its development phase, the effort to bring the Startup Market to the Leavey Center is designed to give Georgetown students the opportunity to sell original products through their independent small businesses. GUSA Secretary of Entrepreneurship Jake Maxmin (COL ’17) spearheaded the project on behalf of GUSA and is optimistic that the market will open in the spring semester.
Maxmin, who holds experience with independent small businesses as founder and CEO of Wearable Justice, said he sees the project as an opportunity for students like himself to run businesses on campus through different outlets other than The Corp and the Farmer’s Market. Such avenues were the only options available to Maxmin during his first years as a student business owner.
“Through my position I wanted to work more with the [Center for Student Engagement] to create a way where we can really validate student businesses, to give them something to say that ‘We at Georgetown University endorse you,’ and then create a space for them to be able to sell their product,” Maxmin said. “The idea came from brainstorming sessions with myself and StartupHoyas.”
Maxmin said the Startup Market strives to engage the student body in entrepreneurship and provide greater exposure to existing student businesses.
“We’re trying to gear the Startup Market to be a space where people who are also interested in entrepreneurship can come and speak to different businesses,” Maxmin said. “We’re creating more of a space and a gathering for not only buying and selling but also for learning more about what entrepreneurship looks like on campus and to talk to people who are involved in it.”
Founding director of the Georgetown Entrepreneurial Initiative and McDonough School of Business professor Jeff Reid praised the efforts made so far to establish the market while highlighting its importance to students interested in entrepreneurial endeavors.
“StartupHoyas is happy to support efforts like this one that help student entrepreneurs,” Reid wrote in an email to The Hoya. “The Division of Student Affairs, GUSA and Auxiliary Services are working hard to create the Startup Market. This is a good example of how many different campus organizations can come together to support students’ entrepreneurial interests.”
Student businesses that operate within reasonable cost and are not affiliated with Georgetown are eligible to apply for a spot within the Startup Market.
“We’re looking at whether all of your [businesses’] workers are Georgetown students,” Maxmin said. “We then ask questions like where are your sourcing your products from, what’s your average cost per product, what’s your mission statement, what do you hope to gain from this market in terms of educational experience. We make sure these businesses aren’t in any way promoting hate or exclusion.”
Associate Director of StartupHoyas Alyssa Lovegrove said the project’s value for the Georgetown community is aligned with StartupHoyas’ central mission to provide prospective student entrepreneurs with the resources and programs to inspire entrepreneurial initiatives.
“We want students to think ‘entrepreneurially’ about their own personal brand and their careers, to be proactive and to create opportunities for themselves, based on their life goals,” Lovegrove wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We believe that entrepreneurial problem-solving should be something that every Georgetown student understands and practices.”
In addition to establishing the Startup Market, StartupHoyas will also host startup career fairs, pitch competitions and chalk talks with their Entrepreneurs-in-Residence this semester. These interactive programs are designed to expand the culture of entrepreneurship and idea-sharing throughout the student body.
Sara Clark (COL ’19) said she supports the implementation of the Startup Market and sees it as a valuable outlet for entrepreneurial activity.
“I think there’s a lot of demand for student businesses to be able to sell their products and grow as a business while engaging with Georgetown students as customers. A marketplace exclusively featuring student ideas sounds like an interesting outlet for that,” Clark said.
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