The BUzz Lab, Boston University’s center for entrepreneurship, launched a new online community called “The Hive” last week to focus on supporting entrepreneurship at the university.
BUzz Lab Director Ian Mashiter said the BUzz Lab Hive is essentially an online extension of what the BUzz Lab is already doing, now in a way that is more accessible to students and alumni.
“Instead of relying on word of mouth to try to do something or to try to recruit an intern, now we’ve got a place where you can actually go look online,” Mashiter said.
The Hive was launched to try to keep up with the quickly growing entrepreneurial community at BU, Mashiter added.
“There’s a growing interest in entrepreneurship, and it’s not just about starting a company,” Mashiter said. “It’s also to help create an entrepreneurial mindset and an entrepreneurial way of thinking, which can be useful in whatever career you go into. You’re definitely seeing some companies form out of our program that go on to have a lasting impact.”
The Hive is a partnership between faculty and students, with major influence from three student groups: the Graduate Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club, the undergraduate Entrepreneurship Club and the Boston University Venture Accelerator, Mashiter said.
Joseph Musi, the president of the undergraduate Entrepreneurship Club, wrote in an email that entrepreneurship is fairly new at BU — the BUzz Lab is only three years old, and the Entrepreneurship Club and BU Venture Accelerator aren’t much older either.
“We need to continue building out our programs and foster a sense community,” the Questrom School of Business senior wrote. “The BUzz Lab is really helping to facilitate this as a shared coworking space and the Hive makes these resources accessible to everyone online.”
Zara Jimenez, a second-year graduate student in Questrom and co-president of the Graduate Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club, wrote in an email that one of The Hive’s main challenges will be differentiating itself from existing networking websites like LinkedIn.
“The key is to give incentive to the students to join,” Jimenez wrote. “If enough people join it, [The Hive] could become a great resource to keep in touch or meet new people from BU. One of the things that BU lacks, in my opinion, is a strong alumni community, so the Hive helps to solve this problem.”
Ergeta Muca, a senior in Questrom, wrote that she sees great potential from the BUzz Lab and its initiatives like The Hive.
“Being surrounded by entrepreneurs and innovators on a daily basis certainly inspires you to work on your own project,” Muca wrote. “Since I’ll be graduating in 2017, I look forward to using the Hive as my connection point when I want to reach out for help and assistance.”
One of BUzz Lab’s goals moving forward is to help people in every college at BU become aware of the resources offered by The Hive, said Peter Marton, director of Entrepreneurial Partnerships at BU.
“One of the trends that’s most powerful at BU is the bringing together of entrepreneurship across the entire university,” Marton said. “When most people think of entrepreneurship, they might think first of Questrom and the BUzz Lab, but we’ve been spending a lot of time over the last year painting the landscape of entrepreneurship across the university. It turns out that entrepreneurship is alive and well at many, many of the schools at BU.”
Marton said he is excited about the future of the project, with more people signing up for The Hive every day.
“I’d like the BUzz Lab Hive to prove to be a useful and practical asset to people who are pursuing entrepreneurial activities across the university,” Marton said. “Like any online network of this nature, it starts small and it grows, but it has the power to become quite something.”