Global Entrepreneurship Week Comes to Pitt


mike drazdzinski

Social Impact Investing Panel exploring social entrepreneurship held at the Ohara student center in the Ballroom

By Karen Woolstrum

All through high school and college, he worked on his soccer skills. Then there’s his wide-ranging collection of sheet music consisting of just about anything – from jazz to classical to rock. Above all, there are the companies he’s founded in his spare time.

“Never become an entrepreneur if you don’t care about the problem you are solving more than anything else in the world.” This is Spettel’s advice to new entrepreneurs. He says he sees entrepreneurs building startups for the wrong reason – some chase money, some like control – but at the end of the day, it only makes sense to start a company if you feel passionate about solving the problem.

Next week celebrates problem solvers like Spettel, who’s working on lowering the costs of personal trainers through his app, Delta Band. He will be a part of an opening reception called Steel City Startups with seven others entrepreneurs who also have a connection to the University of Pittsburgh or Carnegie Mellon University. It marks the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), during which people in more than 170 countries take part in thousands of events and competitions to inspire millions to engage in the process of innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Pitt x CMU collaboration presents the unique case of two universities combining efforts for GEW. The Big Idea Center for student entrepreneurship at the University of Pitts-burgh’s Innovation Institute, and Carnegie Mellon’s Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship and Project Olympus, have pooled their resources to ensure that all students will get the best experience possible, including a little friendly competition. Starting Nov. 18, all students from both campuses will be welcome to participate in the week’s events and competitions. Is innovation and entrepreneurship for you? Come and find out.Registration is open and can be accessed online.

One of the featured events is Steel City Startups, which will take place on Monday, Nov. 18, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Alumni Hall on Pitt’s campus. Student startups from Pitt and CMU will give a short talk on the opportunities and challenges they may have faced getting to where they are today. They will provide some great takeaways for students who have ideas of their own. Anyone may attend Steel City Startups, and a networking reception will take place at the start of the event.

On Tuesday, Nov. 19, the action moves down the road to Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper Quad, where the PDMA Pitch Competition will take place. From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., eight top teams, two graduate and two undergraduate teams each from Pitt and CMU, will pitch their innovative ideas to an expert panel of judges. Qualifying has already taken place and the teams are all set, but anyone can register and watch the friendly competitive spirit between the two Oakland campuses. The winning teams will receive prizes as well as various resources from sponsors.

Wednesday, Nov. 20, comes back over to Pitt, where Everyone Wins: Meet UpPrize Social Innovators will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the O’Hara Student Center Dining Room. This inspiring event focuses on students committed to solving social problems through innovation and entrepreneurship. The panel features startups that have won the regional UpPrize Social Innovation Challenge. The challenge gives a total of $300,000 to successful “social enterprise” companies that have an existing technology-based product or service that can support nonprofits in how they operate or better serve vulnerable populations.

Registration is still open for the Startup Job Fair on Thursday, Nov. 21. Hosted by CMU, the job fair is the only event of its kind in Pittsburgh that is specifically for students looking for positions with startup companies. Any Pitt student can attend, with attending startups looking to hire paid full-time, part-time and internship positions. Companies such as PNC Numo, Interphase Materials, IAM Robotics, Caregogi and more will be waiting to speak with job seekers. Global Entrepreneurship Week offers many options for Pitt students to find their inner entrepreneur, and the Big Idea Center encourages everyone to take part. To see a full list of events, including those not mentioned in the article, please visit: