By Kevin Keenan, communication intern in the Office of University Relations at Marquette University
Five years ago, alumni Sam Wesley and Creighton Joyce submitted a proposal to the Strategic Innovation Fund (now called the Explorer Challenge) that inspired the current 707 Hub.
They suggested moving the Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship, located on the 4th floor of the 707 building, and expanding it in size and resources so all students could benefit.
The proposal was selected and began to pave the way to combine the Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship and the Social Innovation Initiative and house them in the 707 building under one roof, and thus, the namesake hub was born.
Here’s a list of ways the 707 Hub is cultivating the knowledge to Be The Difference.
By the numbers: student impact
- $197,639 — funding that has been awarded to student entrepreneurs ($125,500 awarded through the Brewed Ideas Challenge over the last six years; $72,139 invested in 36 student businesses through the Dorm Fund)
- $2,003.86 — average amount that Dorm Fund Ambassadors invest in each chosen student business
- Top 50 — Marquette’s place among most innovative schools, according to U.S. News and World Report. Marquette was also the 10th higher education institution bestowed the Changemaker Campus title by Ashoka, a leader in social entrepreneurship.
- 30 — number of dedicated mentors who regularly hold office hours to advise students (2021-22 academic year)
- 8,000+ — yearly card swipes into the 707 Hub.
- 20 — active and scaling businesses from the Brewed Ideas Challenge
It’s all in the programs:
The 707 Hub offers a wide array of opportunities and programs for students.
- Intros and Innovators features a “reverse pitch” from startups, nonprofits and innovative companies that have project work, internships and full-time positions available and will conclude with a networking reception.
- The Dorm Fund is a Marquette student-run venture capital firm.
- The Brewed Ideas Challenge is a funding competition for Marquette students who have the next great innovative idea. The Brewed Ideas Challenge continues to attract a diverse student base. 54% BIPOC Finalists, 54% female finalists, 36% first-generation finalists, 18% grad finalists and 82% undergrad finalists.
- Coffee and Conversation is a monthly discussion with a local entrepreneur, intrapreneur or nonprofit leader who shares career paths, ideas and various other topics, such as learning from failure, scaling and how to pivot your business.
- The 707 Hub Bootcamp is held monthly to teach new skills and encourage the sharing of ideas. Topics include design thinking, business model canvas 101, financial modeling, prototyping, 3-D printing and pitching, among others.
Liv a Little vegan ice cream sets up shop locally
Olivia Menzia, a 2018 alumna, started her vegan ice cream business right here in Milwaukee. Menzia is a past Brewed Ideas Challenge winner, which gave her funding to pursue her dream and upgrade her ice cream idea.
Click here to read more about Liv a Little vegan ice cream.
Nubian’s Way helps people of color embrace their natural hair
Carolyn-Eboni Carson and her mother, LaTrina Thornton, have helped one another truly embrace their natural hair throughout the years. Now, the two have started a company to help other people of color with natural hair not just accept but love their hair and make natural hair common place in the professional workplace. Carson, who is in her third and final year at Marquette University Law School, won the 2022 Brewed Ideas Challenge for her and her mother’s company Nubian’s Way. The company, Carson says, “creates and sells a high-quality, organic, all-natural Growth Serum and Butter Blend designed for coily, kinky hair.”
Click here to read more about Carolyn and Nubian’s Way.
Career Closet helps students in need dress for success
Mayra Alaniz, a student in the Graduate School of Management, is the creator of Marquette Career Closet. Marquette Career Closet is a student-run nonprofit organization that collects gently used professional wardrobe donations to benefit students on campus who are having trouble accessing professional clothes.
Click here to read more about Mayra and the Career Closet.
- Marquette names 707 Hub leader Kelsey Otero to senior director of community engagement
- 707 Hub recognized for outstanding student engagement and leadership by the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers
- 5 years later: How the 707 Hub continues to be an innovative force on campus and in Milwaukee