Entrepreneurship Beyond the Big Idea ~ Guest Blogger Sonia Doshi

I was a little surprised when I was asked to write this blog post about my entrepreneurial experience at Michigan. Entrepreneurship had always been a daunting word that I associated with the likes of Zuckerberg, Dorsey, and Page – definitely not myself. I haven’t had that big idea that became a successful business, causing me to drop out of college, live a hugely successful life, and become a judge on Shark Tank (yet). That sounds ridiculous to say, but it is so commonly perceived that becoming an entrepreneur is a never reaching, always seeking career goal.

Entrepreneurship is a mindset. It is a way to think creatively about a problem and gather energy around the solution.

There is no direct path, and when I stopped searching for my “big idea”, I quickly found myself in the entrepreneurial world at Michigan.

Enter World:

rEDesign is an entrepreneurial organization focused on education reform. At our first meeting of the year, we sit in a classroom and cover an entire whiteboard with ideas about how we would want to change education on any scope. We talk about the possibilities of projects like an anti-bullying program, a required recess campaign, a summer job career fair for high school students, or a teacher-recruitment campaign. The possibilities are endless, and we narrow them down and make the best ones happen. Last year, I led a project team to start an initiative that would increase mental health awareness and education in high schools or colleges. After partnering with a mental health research organization on campus, the Healthy Minds Network (www.healthymindsnetwork.org), we designed an online platform for students to discuss and resolve stressful problems together called Tinyshifts. The website is going to launch in the next couple months and is going to allow students to globally connect over common problems and begin conversations around mental health that have been kept silent for too long. www.redesignmyedu.org

Kappa Theta Pi is the professional technology fraternity on campus whose energy and passion for bringing ideas to life through technology is constantly expanding. Our community is an idea generator. Being in the technical development team gives me the opportunity to work on mobile application or website projects that are spurred from the ideas of our members. We come together as computer science engineers, information scientists, user experience designers, business majors, and more to develop detailed and impactful products. Our startup network pushes us forward and encourages us to learn and grow from each other professionally and socially. The excitement that came from building our own website from the ground up, together as a fraternity, bringing all of our ideas together into one cohesive solution that is continually changing and improving is the embodiment of entrepreneurship. www.startupfrat.com

BLUELab is an organization that creates sustainable solutions to development problems locally and internationally. I lead the BLUELab Hagley Gap project team. We work with the community of Hagley Gap, Jamaica and develop sustainable designs based on the needs of the community. We work with the community to come up with solutions that could be replicated by the community members for their own financial empowerment. On our most recent trip to the Gap, we implemented two dish-drying racks at the local schools for improved water hygiene and developed instructions for community members to replicate this project as their own. This team thrives on the time that we take to become invested in the community and create sustained change on an identified problem in Hagley Gap. We perpetuate entrepreneurship on an international scale. bluelab.engin.umich.edu

I fell behind the energy of each of these initiatives because they are each working as catalysts of change in fields that I am passionate about. These are just a few components of the larger entrepreneurial community that make up the university. In fact, it is difficult to get through four years here without finding yourself in that world, at some point. The mental health website that I designed through rEDesign and the Healthy Minds Network is called Tinyshifts to represent “tiny shifts that lead to big changes”. Entrepreneurship isn’t always about finding that big idea or starting that big company. It’s about making those tiny shifts to create those big changes.

Sonia Doshi

School of Information, Bachelor of Science in Information ‘16

doshisd@umich.edu

 

 

Comments (6)
  • Rick

    October 8, 2014

    Start small grow big.
    This sentence is perfectly for your article.
    Thanks for share it.

  • Elektrik Da??t?m ?irketleri

    October 12, 2014

    nice post thanks for the article

  • Maureen Coffey

    November 8, 2014

    “… entrepreneurial community that make up the university …” Actually if I had uttered such words in my time in the 1970s most academic staff (and students) would have looked at me slightly askance. Entrepreneurs were these profit-driven “aliens” outside while nearly everyone was first trying to see if they could stay with the university in an academic position, failing that, grab a salaried position, preferably for life. Today in these university blogs I read it is almost as if the opposite was the case and everyone wanted to be their “own company”. I think starting in a salaried position can be as good a preparation as directly going to an “incubator” without previous exposure to corporatism. Both have advantages and disadvantages and taking the entrepreneurial spirit into a salaried position can turn into a career booster … or get you ousted to then start as an entrepreneur who “knows what it’s like”.

  • Jay

    November 11, 2014

    Solid post, Sonia.

    “Entrepreneurship isn’t always about finding that big idea or starting that big company. It’s about making those tiny shifts to create those big changes.”

    Couldn’t agree more.

  • Making A Blog

    November 28, 2014

    Very good blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything.

    Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many
    choices out there that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any recommendations?
    Thanks!

  • Tom

    January 6, 2016

    I just found this post via Google and couldnt agree more with what you wrote Sonia. Thanks for the info about Kappa Theta Pi, I had no idea there is fraternity like this!

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