Early this week, Jake Zimmer ‘19 was going through his regular routine when he received a phone call congratulating him for receiving The Changemaker Fellowship. How did he receive such an honor? The process began back in August with an extensive and competitive application process. From there he had to interview and, after that, it was just a waiting game. So what is it? The Changemaker Fellowship is a unique, state-wide effort to integrate students from Rhode Island’s 11 universities in the effort to increase awareness and resources for student entrepreneurs across the state. The Changemaker Fellows will work to take entrepreneurship to the next level at their schools, raise awareness about social entrepreneurship, and bridge gaps in venture development resources and opportunities between diverse student groups/departments. The position is sponsored through Social Enterprise Greenhouse, located in Providence. According to its website, Zimmer will be “finding and meeting with student entrepreneurs, student leaders, and school leadership on your campus.” He will also be learning a lot about what it means to be an entrepreneur, what entrepreneurs need to succeed, and what success looks like for an entrepreneur. Additionally, he “will make valuable connections to mentors and other people who can help [him] grow and develop [his] personal skill set and get [him] where [he] wants to go. He will also learn about different business models and discover new and innovative ways for business leaders to reach their goals.”
“I was super excited when I found out that I received the position; as an entrepreneurship major, I feel this can definitely help me in the future.” The students meet once a week to discuss the operations of the program and began to pair other students with the resources they need. One example he brought up was a student who is in search of a designer to help him with a company idea; the Changemakers pair that student with someone from the Rhode Island School of Design! “The ultimate goal is to promote entrepreneurship, connect young innovative entrepreneurs across the state, and to learn about the business world.” It really is all about the connections. Collectively, this program will attempt to make our state and our country a more entrepreneur-friendly place. If that happens, then consider the Changemaker’s job accomplished. This program is a huge honor and Bryant is thrilled to have Zimmer as its student representative. Zimmer is a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity on campus, where he acts as Secretary. He is also the Production Director of WJMF radio station and the BUNEEC Director, which is affiliated with the Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization (CEO). He said that he wouldn’t be here without CEO, which meets every Thursday at 5pm in the Academic Innovation Center. Zimmer said that program made him into a more open minded and intellectual individual and was definitely one of the main reasons why he received this position.