Suffolk Celebrates National Entrepreneurship Month, Supports 7 New Startups

November is National Entrepreneurship Month and Suffolk University in Boston celebrated by organizing experiential courses on crowdfunding.  During Global Entrepreneurship Week on November 14, students partaking in the programs launched campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo to support their startups.  Seven startups and campaigns have launched out of the “ENT-340: Crowdfunding the Startup” Sawyer Business School class.  They include:


  • Buddha Bus Yoga – “[T]akes Yoga out of the studio by traveling to various locations in New England providing all-inclusive Yoga classes.”
  • Upward Bound – “[A] federally-funded program for high school students who are below the poverty line and are the first generation from their family to attend college.”
  • WarmUp Protein Coffee – “[A] high-protein coffee targeting fitness-focused, on-the-go people”.
  • NEO Miners – “[A] card game that focuses on resource management and economic principles, where each player mines asteroids to collect resources.”
  • Vegitano – “[A] health food brand that will offer healthy alternatives to people who eat on a vegan diet, are allergic to dairy and/or gluten.”


  • The Wicked Fisha – “[T]his cooler-tackle box combination features a simple design with limitless functionality for its user. It completely eliminates the hassle for fishermen who want to enjoy a (few) cold beverages during a fishing trip.”
  • Goliath Gallon – “[A] reusable, BPA-free gallon bottle that comes apart in the middle to allow for easy cleaning and accessibility to add anything you want in it”.

According to Professor Jennifer Dinger, who teaches the course on entrepreneurship:


“While a few other universities are discussing crowdfunding as part of traditional course content, the real-world approach to this course makes it different. Suffolk students in this class are learning how to turn their business ideas into action, and they are going after the funding to support those enterprises.”

The course and the ventures that have risen out of it are prime examples of young people looking to make a difference and celebrating the spirit of entrepreneurship in a meaningful way.

Video: College Students Turn to Crowdfunding to Defray Tuition Costs, Raising $20M on GoFundMe

cnbc crowdfunding higher ed
More than 130K students have turned to GoFundMe, seeking crowdfunding to help pay their tuition costs,  CNBC reports in the short video embedded below.  More than $20M dollars has been raised this year.

gofundmeWith the average cost of tuition and fees for private institutions exceeding $31K, students are turning to crowdfunding for solutions.  The Chronicle of Higher Education released new numbers on the cost of colleges across US during the 2014-2015 academic year, with Sarah Lawrence topping the list at $65,480 for tuition, room and board, and fees; Harvey Mudd College coming in a close second with $64,427 and Columbia University taking third with $63,440.  That’s a lot of clams.  According to Bloomberg, since 1978, college tuition has increased by 1,225%.


CollegeGradsLooking over the international GoFundMe campaigns, some seek donations in the $1,000 range while others such as the College Fund for Ms Errickson’s son seek to raise $75K, of which 61,266 has been secured.  The student loan debt exceeds $1 Trillion. More and more students are relying on the crowd to end their academic endeavors.  Case study research is currently underway by the Council for Support and Advancement of Education regarding the effects of crowdfunding  to help understand current crowdfunding trends in higher education.  



Draper University Teams Up With Indiegogo to Allow Applicants to Crowdfund For Tuition

This week, crowdfunding platform Indiegogo announced that it has formed a partnership with Draper University that will allow applicants/potential students to crowdfund for their tuition

The site shared:

indiegogo“At our site, you can see campaigns from budding entrepreneurs who explain why they want to attend Draper University and what business they plan to launch. Through these campaigns, we’ve gained many interesting insights about raising money on Indiegogo and how to catalyze your community.

Also revealing how simple it is to create a crowdfunding campaign, Indiegogo explained:

“Launch a fundraiser that will personally invest your network in your success and entrepreneurial pursuits. Picture Piotr Yordanov, a Fall 2013 Draper University Alumni. Aside from his charismatic video shoot, Piotr leveraged his skills as a software engineer and website designer to incentivize his network to donate to his campaign. By knowing your strengths and skillsets, you can determine what exactly you need from others to succeed. Donors were more likely to donate to Piotr’s campaign knowing they would receive a ‘free’ one-hour tech consultation.


Students“Similar to when starting a business, determining who your contributors will be and where to find them is essential to meeting your goal. Are your donors your Facebook friends and family? LinkedIn connections & colleagues? Tech lovers in the Twitterverse? Once you’ve tested where the majority of your donors are, you can more efficiently use your time by putting forth effort in these specific areas. Make sure you know where the first 30% of your funds are coming from before launching your campaign. If you aren’t confident you can hit this within the first few days, adjust your goal accordingly.


“The more compelling your story and the more convincing your business idea, the more likely you are to reach your funding goal. Your audience needs to know why your school tuition will enable your business, and the message should be powerful and clear. Your donors will want to know that their money will empower you personally, but more importantly that you’ll make a big difference in the long run. Being transparent is crucial to the success of your fundraiser. A breakdown of exactly how the funds will be used can be helpful for instilling a sense of trust.”

The platform then added:

Draper University“Crowdfunding tuition on Indiegogo Life can also be great experience for pitching your business to investors., except your contributors don’t expect anything but your happiness and success in return! Upload a video, share your story, and let your personality shine. It should be obvious at this point that launching a strong crowdfunding campaign is very similar to launching a business and can be a strong proof point that demonstrates you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.


“Indiegogo Life will provide you fantastic knowledge for developing a network and raising capital. It will push you to think through the finer details of your business plan and polish an idea that’s ready for market. If your campaign is successful, you will have sharpened your startup idea and established your goals before you even step through our doors.


“We encourage all future students to take advantage of this opportunity. With an effective crowdfunding campaign under your belt, you’ll hit the ground running when it comes time to pitch your ideas to private investors.”



Toronto Woman Launches GoFundMe Campaign For Harvard University Tuition

Seeking the help from strangers near and far, Toronto resident Tonika Morgan launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise $50,000 for tuition to one of the most prestigious schools in the US, Harvard University.

Harvard University 1According to her campaign, Morgan was homeless and never had a chance to finish high school. She managed to overcome the obstacles of poverty, homelessness and even marginalization. After five months of self-convincing and nearly two years of academic preparation (even managed to get a university degree from Canada’s Ryerson), she submitted her application to the Ivy League school.

She wrote:

“It’s true that I’ve been homeless . It’s also true that I never finished high school. Overcoming the obstacles of poverty, homelessness and marginalization are achievements that have shaped me into the person I am today. But access to housing and basic education is a right. Getting into Harvard is a privilege.”

Just two months after submitting her application, Morgan received her admission’s letter from Harvard. Unfortunately, there’s a catch to her acceptance:

Tonika Morgan“I’m an international student with an unconventional education path. There are no scholarships for people like me to attend Harvard University— probably because nobody ever expects people (formerly homeless with an unusual academic path/accomplished young professional, but too young to be considered mid-career) like me to attend a school like Harvard.”

Morgan revealed that tuition plus living expenses for an international student is $71,000 USD. That includes roughly $50,000 for tuition, including mandatory health insurance and other fixed student fees plus $22,000 to live in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the university is located. There is yet another catch in her education pursuit. In order for her to secure her visa to attend the school, she will need to provide evidence of the funds by May 15th.

In regards to what she plans to study at Harvard if she receives the funds, Morgan revealed:

Harvard University 2“I’m a high school drop-out with a unconventional academic path. So naturally, I’m interested in the ways in which people who don’t neatly fit into systems and institutions manage to thrive/survive in the world. So I’m doing a Masters of Education, with a focus on non-traditional/alternative education (i.e. arts education). With that type of specialization, I get to enroll in classes at the Harvard Business School, Harvard Law and MIT.
“In the long run, I want to combine my policy and strategy background with my education. This will allow me to support alternative education organizations that focus on the arts, digital learning and economic development in a meaningful way.”

Since the campaign’s launch last month, it has raised over $45,000.