The Yale Entrepreneurial Society celebrated its 10th anniversary Wednesday evening in the Loria Center auditorium, where experienced entrepreneurs offered words of wisdom and encouragement to the students hoping to follow in their footsteps.
At the event, hosted in honor of entrepreneurs from Yale and New Haven, six entrepreneurs talked about challenges they encountered during their careers and emphasized the importance of having experienced mentors and a strong business network for successfully launching a business.
Paul Bass ’82, founder and editor of the New Haven Independent, moderated the discussion titled “The Evolution of Entrepreneurship.” He asked the panelists to talk about their entrepreneurial careers, both successes and failures.
“I made an awful lot of money and lost an awful lot of money,” said Al Subbloie, president and CEO of Tangoe, a software provider. He said entrepreneurs need to learn from their mistakes and enjoy them.
The panelists also discussed business development in New Haven. Two issues the panelists said could hinder business development in New Haven are a lack of parking space and bus and rail systems that could be improved. They explained that if a city’s transportation systems aren’t efficient, they deter prospective employees from moving to the city, possibly causing business owners to relocate.
Tweed Airport Authority Chairman Mark Volchek ’00 GRD ’00, founder and CEO of Higher One, a New Haven-based company that allows students at about 600 universities to use their student cards as debit cards, said the city is working to make transportation more efficient.
The other panelists were Fred Danforth ’73, founder of Ecosystems Investment Partners; Liddy Karter SOM ’84, managing director of Karter Capital Advisors; David Scheer GRD ’84, president of Scheer & Company; and Michael Inwald, founder of Grilled Cheese to Go, which opened in November 2009.
After the panel, Michael Schaffer, president of Yale Club of New Haven, and YES president Alina Yang ’10 presented awards to four entrepreneurs to honor them for their success and contributions to the community.
YES was founded by three undergraduates in 1999 with the goal of increasing networking opportunities and providing access to business resources for people establishing new businesses, Yang said. The founders wanted to bring Yalies’ ideas into the world and create new ventures that would contribute to the revitalization of New Haven, she said.
That same year, the founders established Higher One, said Volchek, one of YES’s founders.
Now, one of YES’s major initiatives has become their annual business plan competition, the Yale Venture Challenge, formerly known as the Y50K, in which contestants present business plans and compete for seed capital.