Nelson Center’s 2018 Year in Review

Nelson Center’s 2018 Year in Review

From breaking ground on our new home on Thayer Street, to the launch of new programs, 2018 was a big year for the Nelson Center and entrepreneurship at Brown. We took some time to reflect on the top ten highlights of 2018. Enjoy!

Happy New Year!

-Nelson Center Team

Top 10 Highlights

1. Due to a generous donation from the co-founders of Casper, Luke Sherwin ‘12 and Neil Parikh ‘11, we started the Brown Venture PrizeThree ventures took home $50k in total prizes: Trang Duong ‘18 from Penta; Jack Roswell ‘18, Julian Vallyeason ‘18, and Alex Zhuk ‘18 from Cloud Agronomics; and Michelle Petersen ‘18 from Textup.In case you missed it, watch the evening of pitches.

2. We broke ground on our new center building. Watch the live progress!

3. In conjunction with the Slater Fund, we awarded $50k to our first ever Brown Venture Founder to Michelle Petersen ‘18, co-founder of Textup.

4. Hosted our inaugural Entrepreneur in Residence, Jessica Kim ‘00, co-founder of Ianacare. She also was the keynote at this year’s Startup@Brown Conference, hosted by our student club, EP.

5. Founder Fridays made a splash this year! Among others, we hosted Michael Slaby ‘01; Chuck Davis ‘83; and co-founders of Dogfish Head, Mariah Calagione ’93 and Sam Calagione. We even partnered with the Watson Institute for a podcast with Slaby.

6. Assistant Professor Jennifer Nazzareno joins the Nelson Center team and the School of Public Health for a dual appointment, offering new classes for students. She also leads the Nelson Center’s Entrepreneurship Research Seminars.

7. Launched the first ever International Synapse in Barcelona over spring break. Students had so much fun, we’re going to Barcelona again in 2019 and added a new trip to London. We also have other international programs, where students can get internships in Israel, Sweden, and Germany.

8. Brown University student ventures continue to thrive in 2018. Join us in cheering on Textup (RI Biz Plan Competition Winner); Cloud Agronomics(Collegiate Inventors Competition and Impact Challenge); ReliaBra (Get Started RI Pitch Competition); Formally (EMRG) and goTeff (Hult Prize). Also, be on the lookout for the winners of the RI Elevator pitch competition.

9. Welcomed 14 ventures into the 2018 Breakthrough Lab Accelerator. These ventures tackled everything from low-cost prosthetics, to immigration form accessibility, to supermarket inventory optimization. Watch the pitches here.

10. Students enrolled in new entrepreneurship courses! Howard Anderson’s course ENGN 1931Q: Entrepreneurial Management in Adversity and Dr. Banu Ozkazanc-Pan’s course, ENGN 1931N: Building Entrepreneurial Ecosystems for Economic Inclusion. ENGN 1931N was such a success that the Venture Capital Inclusion Lab spun out of the course. Dr. Ozkazanc-Pan received funding from the Kauffman Foundation and the lab will continue into spring 2019. 

Philip Alabi PhD ’22, PEIR and founder of Efiwe continues its book drive efforts

Philip Alabi PhD ’22, PEIR and founder of Efiwe continues its book drive efforts

Have you met Philip Alabi PhD ’22, one of the Nelson Center’s Peer Entrepreneurs in Residence? When he is not working on his PhD in organic chemistry, Philip runs a 501c3 non-profit organization, Efiwe, committed to collecting (book donations) and distributing college/University books to post-secondary institutions’ libraries in Africa.

Philip Alabi, a native of Nigeria, is the founder and Volunteer in Chief of Efiwe. Efiwe is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and is dedicated to the collection of college textbooks throughout the United States and the distribution of those textbooks to post-secondary institutions in Africa.

Philip is making a call to action to help stock more African Libraries with textbooks. Efiwe-Brown is requesting book donations from the Brown community. A donation of $1 per book effectively sends the donated book(s) to Africa. Please feel free to donate your books regardless of cash donations. 

Please send an email to to donate books or text +1-618-746-9666.
For more information about Efiwe, visit Follow Efiwe on facebook, twitter, and instagram.

Thinking of starting a non-profit? What to learn more about Philip and his journey? Sign up for Philip’s office hours here on Friday’s 1:00 – 3:00 PM.

Join TEDxProvidence

Join TEDxProvidence

Join TEDxProvidence on Saturday, October 13th at The Vets for “The Time is Now.” It will be a day of talks from across industries and sectors, performances, and community connection. Students can get 50% off tickets using the code “Student18.” Click here to view the full speaker lineup and purchase tickets. Many speakers touch upon both public service and entrepreneurship. Kira Manser is an alumna and Dr. Neha Raukar is an Adjunct Professor in Emergency Medicine!

Apply to the Venture Capital Inclusion Lab

Apply to the Venture Capital Inclusion Lab

The Jonathan M. Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship is excited to launch the Venture Capital Inclusion Lab, led by Dr. Banu Ozkazanc-Pan, a visiting associate professor in Sociology. Dr. Ozkazanc-Pan and a team of graduate and undergraduate students will conduct a research study on the venture capital (VC) industry, funded by the Kauffman Foundation. This study aims to understand how bias and decision-making affect VC-backed investments. Students with an interest in understanding equality and inclusion as it relates to the VC industry are encouraged to apply. You will work directly with Dr. Banu Ozkazanc-Pan and graduate students who will help direct the VC Inclusion Lab.

Apply ASAP or by Sunday, September 16, 2018. Click on the links below to learn more and apply.

Undergraduate Research Assistant (10 openings)
Graduate Student Research Lead (2 openings)