Getting Down to Business

March 30, 2012 | Borough of Manhattan Community College

Getting Down to Business

BMCC students recently learned that it’s never too late to start a business—especially if you have the determination, the drive and the willingness to take risks.

The Sixth Annual BMCC/CUNY Entrepreneurship Summit was recently held in Richard Harris Terrace. This year’s theme was Entrepreneurial Evolution or Revolution.

The Summit’s goal was to spread the entrepreneurial spirit throughout the college.

The event kicked-off at the Richard Harris Terrace with a welcome by Professor Carmen Martinez-Lopez of the Business Management department, who helped coordinate the event with an Organizing Committee.

Students take the lead
Students David Everett Strickler and Benjamin Yi, business majors who are active members of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) then spoke about entrepreneurships; past, present, and future.

Both students acknowledged this was the first time BMCC’s Accounting club linked with SIFE to come together for a common goal—encouraging the development of strong financial roots and leadership skills.

Using Powerpoint slides, Strickler focused on, “What’s going to happen tomorrow with today’s entrepreneurs?” while Yi explained that an entrepreneur is one who is “willing to start his or her own company, has the ability to be their own boss, is willing to take risks, and knows what service they’d like to offer the public.”

Question and Answer sessions
During the Question and Answer sessions, three students, including Strickler and Yi, interviewed a local entrepreneur.

The students were confident and poised while addressing the guest speakers, asking them questions about risk-taking, marketing, and how to stay positive in a competitive world.

Strickler interviewed William Halick, MBA, who launched his own finance company a few years ago, at age twenty-four.

A supporter of higher education, Hallick warned students that debt can become “an issue” when launching your own business.

“I think with the rising cost of education, a two-year school is the way to go,” he said. “Being weighed down by loans and debt can impact what you really want to do, career-wise. It’s so important to get an education at an affordable price.”

A student entrepreneur sheds some light
Student Erika Coreas took the stage to interview Joseph Langan, a BMCC Video Arts and Technology major who has his own business as an event photographer and goes by the name “JJ LaBoy.”

“I was doing photography for free and people said, ‘you need to start charging,’” he told Coreas. “What I like about BMCC is that I can take classes during the day, and work at night.”

Langan explained that if he was going to start charging for his photography, he needed to know more about business.

“I want to continue to pursue photography and filmmaking, and someday start my own production company featuring those who want their stories told,” Langan explained. “However, I didn’t know the language of filmmaking and that’s why I decided to return to school.”

Langan, who never leaves home without his business cards, advised his peers to find a mentor.

“Surround yourself with people doing the same thing; in this business one hand washes the other,” he said of making—and maintaining—connections.

“Also—research! I’m constantly looking up lighting, equipment, examining the works of others…research anything that pertains to your business,” he said. “For example, if I’m doing a photo session, I’ll go down to the location before the event to check it out, look at the lighting, and so forth. Be prepared and knowledgeable.”

Final words
Benjamin Yi then interviewed Jose Alexander Cordero who runs his own e-commerce business. Cordero’s main advice was to work hard, “bypass the negative people and roadblocks,” and find the best way to move from a social life into a “business life.”

For the rest of the day, students presented poems and essays—in English and Chinese—about their career aspirations post-BMCC and the Accounting Club hosted a networking brunch.