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NEXPO highlights emerging entrepreneurs

IDEA’s exhibition of Northeastern’s entrepreneurship community will take place on Wednesday from 6:30 to 9 p.m. File photo by Brooks Canaday. 

Each semester IDEA, Northeastern’s student-​​run ven­ture accel­er­ator, hosts NEXPO, which high­lights up-​​and-​​coming ven­tures and con­nects bud­ding entre­pre­neurs with sea­soned industry pro­fes­sionals and mem­bers of the uni­ver­sity com­mu­nity. We asked IDEA CEO Chris Wolfel, a senior in the D’Amore-McKim School of Busi­ness, tWolfelC_NEXPO2013o pre­view the event, which takes place on Wednesday from 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the Cabot Cage.

Q: What will attendees learn about entrepreneurship at Northeastern? 

A: Right now when people think of North­eastern, the first things that come to mind are the university’s co-​​op pro­gram and its global ini­tia­tives. But within the next few years, we’ll undoubt­edly become just as famous for entre­pre­neur­ship and innovation.

NEXPO will let atten­dees see that anyone, regard­less of age or industry of interest, can become an entre­pre­neur. It will also reveal to anyone who doesn’t know yet that North­eastern is a global leader when it comes to pro­ducing entre­pre­neurs, leaders, and great companies.

People who come to NEXPO will be able to meet like-​​minded people, whether they’re looking to found a com­pany or join a startup. More than any­thing, NEXPO offers an oppor­tu­nity to see what entre­pre­neur­ship at North­eastern is all about.

Q: How does NEXPO fit into Northeastern’s growing culture of entrepreneurship?

A: NEXPO show­cases some of the best entre­pre­neurial activ­i­ties North­eastern has to offer, including campus orga­ni­za­tions like the Entre­pre­neurs Club, the Social Enter­prise Insti­tute, and the Health Sci­ence Entre­pre­neurs. But the main draw is the 35 ven­tures from IDEA, which include spin-​​outs from research labs, and com­prise stu­dents and alumni from every col­lege at Northeastern.

Northeastern’s momentum in entre­pre­neur­ship is becoming more and more apparent: The E-​​Club is one of the largest stu­dent groups on campus; IDEA works with more than 125 ven­tures and awards more than $200,000 in funding each year; and the Center for Entre­pre­neur­ship Edu­ca­tion is con­tin­uing to advance all of these ini­tia­tives and more. NEXPO is an oppor­tu­nity to see first­hand the whole range of pro­grams that make North­eastern one of the top entre­pre­neur­ship pro­grams in the world.

Q: The ventures showcasing their businesses at this year’s NEXPO represent some of IDEA’s most successful startups. What opportunities does NEXPO present for them to get to the next level?

A: All the ven­tures at NEXPO, each of which is for­mally enrolled in IDEA, get the oppor­tu­nity to receive early feed­back on their busi­ness plans and develop rela­tion­ships with poten­tial cus­tomers. For more advanced ven­tures, NEXPO also pro­vides the oppor­tu­nity to meet stu­dents who may be inter­ested in joining their team as an intern or even a co-​​op. NEXPO also attracts investors and gen­eral busi­ness enthu­si­asts, all of whom can serve as valu­able con­nec­tions, pro­vide crit­ical feed­back, and some­times even set up a meeting that leads to a cap­ital investment.