Finally, after several exciting (and, at times, stressful) months of planning, coordinating, and hustling, we formally launched RI to the community! Our inaugural cohort of Rhodes entrepreneurs came together on October 21 and 22 to participate in RI’s first IDEATE weekend, a high-energy event that exposed everyone to the full breadth of people and ideas around them.
Over 20 scholars, several geographical constituencies, a milieu of academic backgrounds, and the full spectrum of entrepreneurial experience, the IDEATE weekend achieved exactly what we were aiming for: bringing together diverse people with rich ideas. We also had several alumni come in to deliver Lightning Talks; John Lazar, Abigail Seldin, Noam Angrist, Glenn Leighton, and Charles Conn all shared a snippet of their own entrepreneurial insight. We’d like to thank them for their wonderful support in making IDEATE a success!
Our IDEATE weekend took participants through a design-thinking process, beginning with idea generation and ending with pitching. The goal was to challenge each scholar to rapidly iterate through a human-centred design innovation process and get a feel for working with their colleagues. Several Senior Scholars/alumni commented on how amazing it was to see Rhodes House transformed into an open-concept ‘innovation hub’ that really allowed creative juices to flow. We at RI strongly believe that physically bringing people together in spaces like this will result in better ideas, team dynamics, and work.
As participants progressed through IDEATE, teams began to form around certain ideas. The weekend concluded with self-nominated team leads pitching a project idea to take forward into INCUBATE, our 6-week program. These awesome ideas included things like an online LGBTQ+ Mental Health education platform, a student grocery management app, a consumer retail diversity project, and a charity that promotes education for underserved black youth. Full team information will be available at www.rhodesincubator.com/projects/ soon!
We are delighted to have received extremely positive feedback about IDEATE, from both Scholars and alumni who attended. When asked about who should attend future events, Rachel (one of our entrepreneurs) said “[I] had no background [in entrepreneurship] – I really would encourage that an event like this be advertised to the larger community, and really encourage everyone to come… this was probably the best Rhodes weekend event that I have been to.” Similarly, Christian (another RI entrepreneur) noted that he “can definitely see RI as a very integral aspect of the Scholarship in its own way… this is not just going to school, this is ‘ok, you’re passionate about something, so what, do something about it.’ That’s what RI is.” We are looking forward to working with our entrepreneurs as they take their ideas through INCUBATE and beyond!
The Rhodes Incubator aims to develop an entrepreneurial ecosystem within the Rhodes Scholar network. By providing the right frameworks, networks, and incentives, they aim to stimulate the maturation of ideas into tangible and impactful ventures.