Many young students have business ideas with great potential. At Northeastern University, students are experimenting with their ideas and are developing them into startups. These young entrepreneurs are part of Northeastern University’s student-run business accelerator, IDEA. IDEA connects students with the resources they need to get their businesses up and running.
It was started by Dan Gregory, who has now retired from Northeastern University. His vision was to shape a thriving ecosystem where students share their talents with one another to build businesses from scratch. After its launch, it immediately became very popular and there were hundreds of ventures in the incubator within a year. The program soon started to outgrow its capacity so Gregory met with Susan Montgomery, an executive professor of law and business at Northeastern University, to establish bylaws and regulations for IDEA. As the program was raising a substantial amount of money for student businesses, it was in the need of strict legal accountability and bookkeeping.
Gregory realised that these young entrepreneurs needed legal guidance. He thus enlisted several law firms across Boston to help, but soon the demand outstripped what these firms could offer. They then started a law-student run clinic to help these ventures in the Law school of the university. Its called IP CO-LAB and is overseen by faculty from the law and business schools that provide entrepreneurs with critical legal information related to intellectual property laws. Later a network called Mosaic was created, which had 11 different student-run organisations that helped in various aspects of the businesses like a student-run design studio, called Scout, to help startup companies meet their branding and graphic design needs. It was started by Laura Marelic, a student at Northeastern’s College of Arts, Media, and Design. There was COMPASS, a financial accounting resource center, Generate, which comprises a group of engineering students that help turn schematics into real products and The Entrepreneurs Club, an organisation that connects student-entrepreneurs with real-world business opportunities.