I am a big believer when it comes to hands on experience. There are just some things that must be felt. Entrepreneurship is one of those things. You will never truly understand everything that encompasses the process of developing an idea from passing thought to fully realized product, until you go out and do it.
Campus 1871 was a hands-on demonstration of the capabilities of imaginative minds given free rein to create the companies of tomorrow. It included a few speeches, a little debate, lots of discussion, and cooperation from students from a variety of backgrounds. This three day exercise took place at 1871 in the Chicago Merchandise Mart this past weekend.
1871 CEO Howard Tullman kicked things off with a speech on entrepreneurship and some rules to live by. He said two things that I think bears repeating. Not just because of how true they ring in business, but also how true it is to life. “It always seems impossible until it gets done,” and “when you settle for less than you deserve, you get less than you settled for.”
At Campus 1871, students were able to perform the seemingly impossible and no one settled for less than their best. Campus 1871 was a weekender of the highest caliber. From 80 students emerged 53 business ideas and from those pitches formed 9 teams. Just as in life, these ideas evolved and some outright changed. One such example was the idea for 2 minute pizza delivery. As the team vetted the idea it evolved into “GitFit: Fantasy Sports for Fitness.” Again don’t settle. You may come up with a good idea, but do not hesitate to look for that great idea.
1871 ‘s mission hits pretty close to home. Our founders bootstrapped their own business, twice, on ground breaking ideas and we still have the entrepreneurial and start-up spirit here at SingleHop. I imagine that’s probably why we enjoy investing our time and energy with 1871, teaching that common spirit to others and who knows what they might accomplish. For Campus 1871, we had staff members on hand to mentor and we donated some odds and ends we thought the junior entrepreneurs might like (all night survival kits, hosted infrastructure, and Chicago pizza).
Students from IIT, Northwestern, University of Illinois, and University of Chicago were not alone. They were joined by 50 mentors from 1871, Google, Belly, Centro, and, of course, SingleHop. At the end of the weekend’s festivities including speeches, classes, and one all night brainstorm, 9 teams presented 9 ideas from home moving to a vaporized (possibly weaponized) caffeine alarm clock and dealing with Consequences. The ideas were fresh, the energy was electric, and if you have the chance to be a participant or mentor at the next Campus 1871 I highly recommend it.