The Oberlin Review

Oberlin Should Consider Social Entrepreneurship Program

Bara Watts, Director of Entrepreneurship

February 7, 2020

 Do you want to find a way to reduce college debt, effectively sort recyclables, or support teens recovering from addiction? Help international students compete at U.S. colleges, support English-as-a-second -language-learners become fluent, build community for neurodivergent individuals, grow local environmental engagement among high school students, or build advocacy to radically change economic inequality? These are only a handful of the goals that inspire the entrepreneurial ventures students and alumni developed this Winter Term in the LaunchU Bootcamp and Pitch Competition. See a pattern? These Oberlin entrepreneurs are tackling big social and community problems. Per the program’s motto, they are actively w...

Professor Nancy Darling and her team of students won last weekend’s LaunchU competition for their venture 1Step2Life, a pain management company.

1step2life Selected from Eight Finalists at LaunchU Final Pitch

March 15, 2019

LaunchU, a competition for Oberlin College students, faculty, staff, and alumni to pitch entrepreneurial ventures — selected its victor last Friday. Professor and Chair of Psychology Nancy Darling and her student team took home first place and $20,000 in funding for their venture 1step2life, an app to support adolescents living with chronic pain. This is the first time a team led by a faculty member has won the competition. The LaunchU funds will be used to help bring 1step2life to market thro...

First-Year Football Player Launches ObieEats Business

Jason Hewitt, Staff Writer

March 1, 2019

Between classes and football practice, College first-year Raul Segredo has little time to spare. Recently, his list of commitments grew when he launched his own business, ObieEats, through Oberlin’s LaunchU program — an 11-day entrepreneurship summit over Winter Term that teaches students the ins and outs of entrepreneurship through information sessions and workshops. ObieEats is a food delivery service similar to Uber Eats — you pick a local restaurant, place your order, and ObieEats picks it up and brings it to you. Segredo said he understands how inconvenient it is to go out to buy a meal in Oberlin’s harsh winter weather conditions, and wanted to provide an alternative to students and residents a...

Winners of the LaunchU competition stand together. From left to right: Catherine O’Hare, OC ’11, and Tessa Emmer, OC ’11; double-degree senior Benjamin Steger and College senior Bryan Rubin; College first-year Katie Kim; and College senior Hassan Bin Fahim.

Four Startups Win $37,000 in 2018 LaunchU Competition

March 30, 2018

The sixth annual LaunchU program — Oberlin’s startup accelerator, boot camp, and pitch competition — came to a close March 10, as 10 teams of startup companies competed for a pot of $37,000. Three of the four winning businesses were made up of current Oberlin students, while one team consisted of alumi. The program began with a 12-day, 12-hour “boot camp” of sorts in January that offered a variety of resources and trainings to educate the novice entrepreneurs on key aspects of succeeding in...

College Lacks Opportunities to Study Business

Katie Lucey, Contributing Writer

March 31, 2017

Oberlin describes itself as an institution with “longstanding commitments to access, diversity, and inclusion,” according to its website. However, what Oberlin achieves in terms of commitment to social improvement, it lacks in academic paths for students who want to pursue a career in business or entrepreneurship. Though there are a few classes for students to explore their interests in business offered within the Economics department such as Principles of Accounting, there is no official major in business or entrepreneurship. While Oberlin is a liberal arts school and should remain committed to offering a broad, comprehensive education, it can go a long way in providing course offerings that support students...

Conservatory junior Helen Fleischer, Sophie Mvurya, OC ’16, Mary Okoth, OC ’14, and Kelsey Scult, OC ’14, receive the 2017 LaunchU awards. Their three startups earned a collective $45,000 after winning the March 4 Launch U competition.

LaunchU Awards Innovative Startups $45,000

March 31, 2017

Three business ventures won a combined $45,000 at this month’s LaunchU competition. Since receiving the awards, each venture has taken off and is starting to grow with its newfound funding. The winning startups were chosen from the nine groups that presented ventures to a panel of judges at the March 4 pitch competition. First place was awarded to Kelsey Scult, OC ’14 and Mary Okoth, OC ’14, second to Conservatory junior Helen Fleischer and third to Sophie Mvurya, OC ’16, earning $20,000,...

The Shift coworking space will remain open through the school year. There has been enthusiastic support for the pop-up project.

Shift Space to Stay Open, Grow Client Base

April 15, 2016

Oberlin’s Shift Project, a coworking space that provides a professional workplace for aspiring entrepreneurs, will keep its doors open through the end of the school year. Cullen Naumoff, director of Sustainable Enterprise at the Oberlin Project, and College senior Scott Hulver direct the project, which was originally planned to run through March 18. “The reason the project has been extended is because there is demand to keep carrying forward, and we have a partnership with the owner to allow...

Jake Hochendoner describes his venture, Aerial Agents, at the LaunchU Pitch Competition on Saturday. The Competition gave aspiring Oberlin entrepreneurs the opportunity to present their ideas to alumni judges.

Competitors Pitch Business Ideas at LaunchU

February 6, 2015

Twenty teams of aspiring student and alumni entrepreneurs competed for $50,000 in investment money at the third annual LaunchU Pitch Competition held last Saturday. The competition was the culmination of the 2015 LaunchU Winter Term program, during which the teams honed their business plans, perfected their pitches and listened to speakers brought in by LaunchU. “It was pretty rigorous — nine-to-five every day, including Saturdays — so it was like a job,” said Minh-Jeffrey Lê, a third-year...

Off the Cuff: Dean Ginsberg, OC ‘12 and Program Associate for Creativity and Leadership

September 13, 2013

How do you think Oberlin prepares students for entrepreneurial adventures? In the past year there’s been this thing called LaunchU which is a Winter Term program that [was] created by members of alumni who are on the College president’s advisory council.  The notion was basically to bolster entrepreneurship in Oberlin because there really wasn’t that much while kids were in school. So LaunchU acts as an incubator; it takes place over Winter Term––last year was the first time that happened––and that program is amazing. They bring in lawyers and people who are in marketing and different entrepreneurs to come and speak and they basically give you a crash course on business. You have to apply with your o...

North Coast Toast Truck Opens for Business

Madeline Stocker, News Editor

September 6, 2013

A locally owned food truck is taking root in Oberlin this semester, providing college and community members with a quick and easy means to grab a meal on the go. The truck, dubbed “North Coast Toast,” is owned and operated by College third-years Casey Silverstein, Jeremy Reimnitz and Evan Zierk. After a boisterous launch party last Saturday — boasting both a Jacuzzi and fifty-foot-long line for grilled cheese — North Coast Toast has already made a name for itself. The three owners invited both college and community members, an indication that the truck will prove to  be a culinary resource for all. North Coast Toast was initially conceived during an Entrepreneurship Winter Term project. Both Silverstein...

Established 1874.