Lax Conference Unveils First ‘SwatTank’
The 14th Annual Jonathan R. Lax Conference on Entrepreneurship, held March 23, featured the usual sharing of alumni expertise and robust discussion but also contained exciting new features. An enthusiastic group of students (Aldo Frosinini ’15, Marisa Lopez ’15, Antony Kaguara ’15, Kwame Koram ’15, and Dionne Wilson ’15), in collaboration with Erin Massey and Jennifer Barrington of the career services office, created the college’s first student-business-plan competition. SwatTank was co-sponsored by Career Services, the Dean’s Office, the President’s Office, the Center for Innovation and Leadership, the Lax Conference, and the Entrepreneurship Club.
Throughout the academic year, the planning team recruited student entrepreneurs, developed a team of alumni mentors, and created a curriculum of alumni-led webinars. Student submissions were narrowed down to three plans.
SwatTank finalists presented their ideas in a competition moderated by Shalom Saar ’74. Contest judges were Joseph Turner ’73, Karen Meidlinger, and Terrence Hicks ’74, who also served as the conference’s keynote speaker. Hicks’ topic was “When You’re Finished Changing, You’re Finished—Entrepreneurship in the Current Economy.” Hicks is vice president for the investment group at Ben Franklin Technology Partners.
The conference also featureed discussion groups led by Gustavo Alberelli ’00, managing director, Trident Capital; Michael Bertuch P’14, president and CEO, ViaTech Publishing Solutions; Way-Ting Chen ’94, partner and co-founder, Blue Garnet Associates; Robert Cleaves P’14, managing director and co-founder of Stratex Energy LLC and president of the Biomass Power Assoc.; Claire Hartten ’91, co-founder of Dirt Café and Hungry New York; Feng He ’03, co-founder of DemoHour; Nick Martin ’04, founder and president of TechChange; Michael Silton ’86, executive director of UCLA Venture Capital Fund; and Ali Usman ’91, founder of Credit Market Intelligence and Sunergix.
To read more about SwatTank see our Web Exclusive story below.