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Elon students explore entrepreneurship in Washington D.C.

Residents of Elon’s Innovation House met with local entrepreneurs, including an Elon alumnus, to learn about the city’s startup ecosystem.

Nine Elon students with a passion for entrepreneurship explored the entrepreneurial areas of Washington D.C. from Feb. 10–12, meeting with local entrepreneurs and visiting a variety of organizations. The experience offered residents of Elon’s Innovation House, an entrepreneurship-themed living learning community, with the opportunity to further their understanding of entrepreneurship in the world today.

Elon students explore the entrepreneurial areas of Washington D.C., including 1776, a global incubator.

“We learned that we all have the potential be innovative and to disrupt society in our own ways,” said Martin Sharp ’18, who organized the road trip.

The group visited 1776, a global incubator located in Crystal City where they met with the manager, Noelle London, as well as local entrepreneurs. London discussed the impact of 1776 on D.C.’s startup scene and its vital role in disrupting highly regulated industries using mentors and their curriculum to help entrepreneurs navigate the D.C. ecosystem.

Tyrone Wilson of HackEd, a company that educates children on hacking and cybersecurity, spoke to the group about making an impact. “Build a Venn diagram with three circles,” he said. “In the first circle, you put what you love. In the second put what you’re good at, and in the third put what the world needs. At that intersection is where you’ll find your impact on society. I’m not going to get emotional, but teaching cybersecurity and hacking to the next generation is my place and my impact.”

Wilison also stressed the importance of keeping professional relationships strong. “I haven’t interviewed in 18 years since my first job out of college," he said. "Working in cybersecurity in Washington D.C. there is always a need.” 

Sandboxx CEO Sam Meeks discussed connecting members of the military through their own personalized social network. A main purpose of Sandboxx is to allow the family at home to engage in a simpler, more convenient way of connecting with their family member. “We try to really connect the families so if this week is swim training we let the families know and they have to option to send a gift-card so the soldier in training can get nose clips or whatever they need,” Meeks said.   

The group also visited TechShop, an open-access, DIY workshop and fabrication studio, and WeLive, a new WeWork coliving space, as well as Union Kitchen.

The entrepreneurship road trip concluded with meeting Stephen Kae ’14 at NotionTheory, a development firm for startups and leading brands. NotionTheory’s team of engineers and designers aim to bring the best VR content and hardware to the market among companies like Google and YouTube. Kae currently leads all growth and marketing initiatives as the lead growth engineer, and has helped establish the company as one of the country’s rising tech agencies.   

The entrepreneurship road trip was co-sponsored by Elon’s Innovation House and the Doherty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

Information provided by Martin Sharp ‘18

Olivia Hays,
3/7/2017 3:55 PM