Entrepreneur’s Avenue: A Pathway to Success

Entrepreneur's Avenue

For four hours on Wednesday, September 10, 2014, the Pavilion was packed with over 175 employers and 1,650 students and alumni gathered for the annual Career Fair hosted by the Villanova Career Center. With students eager to find internships and job opportunities and employers seeking the best and the brightest to contribute to their companies, the energetic dynamic present in the room was undeniable. However, for the third consecutive year, there was a section that one might not see in any traditional career fair: the Entrepreneur’s Avenue. This area was filled with entrepreneurs from Curalate, Zonoff, Noble.MD, Joy of Sox, and Chemo Cozy searching for new talent to add to their organizations and various students fascinated by the thrill of working with and learning from established entrepreneurs.

According to the Career Center’s Kevin Grubb, the Entrepreneur’s Avenue serves two main purposes. “First, it shows students and alumni that entrepreneurship is a career option, too,” Grubb explained. “Second, it allows entrepreneurs the opportunity to recruit and hire top notch candidates from Villanova. The ultimate goal of the career fair is to facilitate hiring, and if there’s a match between one of the entrepreneurs and a Villanovan, we’re thrilled about that.” This connection between students and entrepreneurs is an excellent opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to help launch them into their careers.

One student, Paola Gadala-Maria, has been particularly involved in the entrepreneurial opportunities at Villanova and visited the Entrepreneur’s Avenue for the second year in a row. Referencing her conversation with Tom Costello of the Joy of Sox, she commented, “Rather than giving me a mundane prepared speech, he reached out for a piece of paper with the phrase on it ‘…sometimes socks can be more important than bringing people food…’, and asked me what I thought about that. I thought this was a really interesting way to start the conversation and teach me about what he does and more importantly the philosophy behind it.” This engaged dialogue between the two parties is sure to offer students a great deal of insight into developing the entrepreneurial mindset.

Of course, this event is not present solely to benefit the student. Rather, many of the entrepreneurs were extremely satisfied with their experience and excited by the possibility of working with some of the students. For example, Costello stated, “I found that the dozen or so students who stopped by were very creative, inquisitive, and passionate about the nonprofit organization and wanting to give back.” With valuable opportunities for both parties, this program has the potential to create countless mutually beneficial relationships which could end up sparking the “next big thing” in business.

The future of the Entrepreneur’s Avenue continues to look bright as the Career Center has ambitious plans for the career fairs that they are hoping to create. Grubb described, “In the future, we’re planning to host several industry-specific career fairs that will likely be smaller in scale, but tighter in focus. We expect this will give students, alumni and employers the opportunity to connect with each other at events specific to their interests.” While there are already many entrepreneurial events available throughout the year, the Career Center’s vision presents the possibility that there will be more and more opportunities for Villanova entrepreneurs to flourish with fairs catered to their specific needs.