Well then… let’s hit the road!

As some might remember I got to compete in the Social New Venture Challenge (SNVC) last year. We didn’t win. But I had my 5 minutes of fame. So now I am back to update you on my summer.

It is all about the people

Intoxicated by the entrepreneurial and social impact world – one of my SNVC teammates, Kevin Lam, and I have set out to create a unique opportunity for Booth students. Together with two more co-founders, Emma Rotenberg and Chris Boulos, we have launched the Chicago Road Ventures initiative that will give MBAs a chance to use the break between first and second year to experience said world.

It is all about the ideas

Today’s MBA students are passionate and want to do socially focused work. At the same time, many won’t have a chance to explore the social entrepreneurship perspective.

Meanwhile, there are many mission-driven startups that would benefit greatly from MBAs but don’t have access to them because those startups are somewhere “remote” or simply can’t afford it.

After MBAs finish their traditional summer internships, our program, Chicago Road Ventures, will offer teams of 4 MBAs an opportunity to explore pro bono work over a short, but very intense period.

These teams will collaborate with entrepreneurs in the more remote locations – away from Chicago, New York, or San Francisco – to help them solve some of their most challenging business problems.

It is all about partnerships

The four of us set out on a road trip to be the pilot for this initiative. We have partnered up with three amazing entrepreneurs and started an unbelievable journey across the U.S.

Made for Freedom (St. Louis, MO) – A fashion company fighting human trafficking through dignified employment

Zlien (New Orleans, LA) – An online platform helping players in construction business enforce their rights and get paid

Interapt (Louisville, KY) – A technology solutions company working on building the Silicon Valley of Kentucky

It is all about impact

The three weeks on the road left an impact on others and us beyond our wildest expectations.

On entrepreneurs: We are immensely proud to report that we were able to provide value to the entrepreneurs as they adopted our suggestions and just in general had a chance to shift some paradigms

On ourselves: We learned incredibly much across many dimensions: consulting, entrepreneurship, product testing, marketing, sales, client and team management, fundraising and so much more

On our environment: We got a chance to talk to a congressman about the talent needs in rural areas over breakfast and had another 5 minutes of fame in the most read business newspaper in Kentucky

It is all about fun

In addition to these accomplishments we also had tons of fun

So what’s next? The four of us see this initiative as something we want to continue with in the future and have Booth MBAs go out on these trips every year. This is why we are currently working on finding first years who are interested to learn, make an impact, have tons of fun and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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