YSU ‘Hustle’ Kickstarts Student Entrepreneurship

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel told students at Friday’s Hustle Entrepreneurship Conference that failure happens, but to keep failing. 

He encouraged them to feed their learning and curb their want to waste time.

 “I’ve always said that sleep is overrated,” he said.

Hustle was held in conjunction with the Youngstown Business Incubator and hosted by YSU. The first-time event offered three featured speakers, a panel discussion on getting started and a keynote address from Juggerbot 3D executives about growing their company from a startup using YSU’s additive manufacturing lab to having their own space in YBI’s Tech Block Building No. 5.

Jim Cossler, Huntington Bank entrepreneur-in-residence at the Youngstown Business Incubator, explained that entrepreneurship involves more than just an idea. He gave examples and anecdotes and shared his email for anyone who wanted feedback on an idea. 

 “I can’t give you willingness,” Cossler said.

Four young entrepreneurs who work or intern for YBI shared similar themes about getting started during a panel discussion moderated by YBI intern Jihad Esmail, a graduate of Liberty High School in his third year at Northwestern University. After some egging on from his colleagues at the incubator, he said that he’d likely be returning to the Valley.

“If I didn’t have this experience at YBI and saw what is happening, my answer would have been a hard no, I’m not coming back,” Esmail said.

Joining Esmail were gBeta director Patrick Bailey, YBI client services manager Gianna Serra and YBI director of marketing and communications Corey Patrick, YBI’s director of marketing and communications. The four comprised one of the panels at the inaugural conference aimed at fostering student entrepreneurship. 

Students asked several questions, especially about getting started, or some of the paperwork and filings that go with being an entrepreneur, particularly developing a business plan. A few students had launched businesses or began selling merchandise and did not have business plans. 

Serra encouraged attendants to check out the incubator. “There are resources from helping you start from an idea to connection for possible funding up to a possible launch,” Serra said. 

YBI also has resources available at ybi.org; click the I’m An Entrepreneur. Entrepreneur education and training information is available. Further down the page are learning labs and educational workshops such as Startup 101 for the basics on what it takes to find, validate and launch a business idea. Other information includes:

  • Funding strategies for SAAS [software as a service] technology startups.
  • Scaling your business with the startup maturity model.
  • Market opportunity assessment.
  • Value proposition and market validation series.
  • Social entrepreneurship.
  • Business model basics.
  • C-level luncheon series.

Cossler and Serra said YBI is not going to complete business plans but instead is there to offer assistance in bringing ideas to life.

In addition to YBI, Serra said the YSU student library has information to help entrepreneurs like the SAAS technology tools and entertainment resources. There is no fee at the library, and she said cards can be obtained digitally.

Pictured: GBeta director Patrick Bailey, YBI client services manager Gianna Serra, YBI director of marketing and communications Corey Patrick and YBI intern Jihad Esmail were among the panelists at YSU’s inaugural Hustle conference.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.