In this email interview, Frankly Speaking asked Brett Rowley from the Foundry a few questions about the presence of the Foundry on campus and how students can get involved.
FRANKLY: What is the Foundry?
ROWLEY: The Foundry is Olin’s student-run entrepreneurship organization. It’s been around nearly as long as Olin, albeit in several different forms. “The Foundry” used to specifically refer to Edison House on Great Plains, which acted as an incubator and office space to student startups like Big Belly and the coffee guys. As it grew, it merged with another Olin entrepreneurship group and “the Foundry” became the name for both the building and the group. Now, since Edison house was re-appropriated for Marketing and External Relations office space, “the Foundry” largely refers to just the student group. We do have space in the Campus Center (on the 3rd floor, you’ll see our sign) that is available for students to use, but that space is not utilized as much as we’d like.
FRANKLY: What does the Foundry do aside from the Startup Career Fair?
ROWLEY: Everyone knows that Startup Fair since it’s by far our biggest even of the semester, but it’s a great question. Broadly, our mission is to promote awareness and interesting in startups and entrepreneurship amongst Olin students. This is a little more general than in previous years when the Foundry was all about getting Oliners to start their own ventures. We are 100% behind students with a vision, but we don’t want people to think E! only means starting a company. We raise awareness of awesome events in Boston, help organize the logistics of getting their, creating and sharing a network of amazing founders, designers, developers, and professors, as well as providing financial, physical, and human resources to students starting their own company.
FRANKLY: How can the Foundry help students?
ROWLEY: Well like I said, if you want to start a company or have an idea for a venture, come talk to us. We can offer early-stage funding and give you dedicated office space, but our biggest benefit to you is connecting you with an incredible network across the New England startup community. Olin may be small, but past and present Foundry members have managed to create a great network over the past 5 years. So if you’re looking for a co-founder, a mentor, a domain specialist, an investor, or just someone to bounce ideas off of, we can help.
“But I don’t want to start a venture!” I hear you cry. Fear not! The Foundry can help you too. We let you know about must-go events, get great discounts for students, help arrange transportation, let you know about awesome engineering opportunities with Boston startups, and bring companies to campus to talk about the work they’re doing or whatever other cool stories they have.
FRANKLY: What else is the Foundry planning and how can students get involved?
ROWLEY: One part of our mission I forgot to mention was figuring out how to make the Babson-Olin relationship work. The schools aren’t next door by accident – both bring a lot to the table, but it can sometimes be hard to see that through radically different cultures, bad past experiences, and perpetuated stereotypes. One of the biggest things we are planning right now is a series of informal events to bring Babson and Olin students together to just chat about cool technologies, startups, and opportunities. The Babson Undergraduate E! group is going through a big re-branding push this year and we hope that that transition gives us an opportunity to really push the Babson/Olin partnership forwards. You can help! Let us know that you’re interested in being part of one of the most important aspects of Olin’s future by emailing the board at firstname.lastname@example.org.