In its inaugural year, the Entrepreneurship Club (E-Club) at Portland State University has brought aspiring student entrepreneurs together to network, pool resources, share ideas, and explore the entrepreneurial ecosystems here on campus and in the greater Portland Metropolitan region. Meeting weekly, the E-Club hosts a lecture series that brings successful entrepreneurs to campus, provides a bi-monthly newsletter detailing what’s happening around entrepreneurship and innovation both on campus and off, and connects students to organizations such as the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN), Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE), Portland Seed Fund.
Entrepreneurship involves innovating and taking risks, attracting investors and knowing when to pivot your business model, bringing together exceptional leaders and team members. The E-Lab offers club members an innovative, collaborative workspace where they can develop their skills, share ideas and make business pitches to fellow, likeminded students, professional entrepreneurs, and members of the business community and receive valuable feedback. As an academic member of the OEN, E-Club members have the opportunity to learn from entrepreneurial leaders, attend networking workshops and biannual intern workshops and job fairs. And in touring local business incubators such as the Portland Incubator Experiment and the PSU Business Accelerator, members can get to know a number of startup companies and develop a sense of what it means to build a company or organization from the ground up.
“When I started the E-Club a year ago,” Nick Simms, founding officer of the E-Club, said, “I was thinking, here in Portland, we’re the center of business in Oregon, so why not form a club that would encourage students to think more entrepreneurially.”
Today the E-Club is a place for students from across campus, business to music majors, chemistry students to engineers to come together and pursue their ideas. Not all entrepreneurs get their start as business students, Simms is fond of noting. So for any student with an idea, no matter what your course of study, the E-Club is where you can share your idea with other interested students and get a sense of what entrepreneurship might entail.
“At its core,” Simms said, “the E-Club is a place where innovative, creative, self-driven people can connect, network, and exchange ideas. Our main goals are to cross-pollinate entrepreneurship across campus and to take entrepreneurship from campus to community.”
Now entering its second year, the E-Club is working to encourage the development of an entrepreneurially focused curriculum at PSU for graduate and undergraduate students. Two of the Club’s officers, Ryan Jensen and Heber Miguel have companies participating in OEN’s Angel Oregon. The E-Club has plans to participate in both the spring and fall OEN intern and job fairs. The Club also plans to continue to work with the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and the Business Accelerator to ensure students have access to the many entrepreneurial resources available here on campus. And in the not too distant future, Simms envisions a PSU student startup incubator where student-owned startup companies could grow, enriching both the PSU and Portland entrepreneurial communities, and fostering the ideas that impact the world.
“For me,” Simms said, “entrepreneurship is about not being afraid to take a risk, to take an idea and run with it, creating your own path.”
Starting a business takes all kinds of people willing to work together and take risks. At the E-Club, Simms and others are trying to bring people together to take those risks, to make the leaps that lead to new and innovative companies and organizations.
Thursdays @ 4:00 PM
Computer Science Building - FAB 160