Building a Changemaker: Notes from the Germination Project

By Stephanie Kim MPA’16

  • A reverse vending machine that provides transit credits in exchange for recyclable goods.
  • An immersive, cross-cultural exchange and language learning program that doesn’t require a passport.
  • A grassroots anti-smoking movement to improve the health, environment, and brand of a city.
  • A network of rooftop gardens connecting corporations with communities.

These are four ideas that were pitched to a panel of judges not by experienced social entrepreneurs, but by teams of Philadelphia-area high school students. These students—relative strangers to each other—had 45 minutes to come up with their vision, and just five hours to turn it into a cogent, shark-tank pitch for grown-ups.

And, the real kicker: they couldn’t use the internet.

Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship blog Social Impact
Read more Building a Changemaker: Notes from the Germination Project

Start Up Selling with Jeffrey Goodman WG’96 (Video)

Who are the most strategic customers—in terms of companies and people—for a startup to target? And once you have decided who your best sales targets are, how do you connect with and sell to them as people?

In this Entrepreneurial Workshop with Jeffrey Goodman,WG’96, VP of Sales at Genweb2, held at Wharton San Francisco, takeaways include:

  • A framework for relationship-based selling;
  • Why it is important to be able to sell to people based on their social style instead of yours… and a structured approach for doing so;
  • A powerful model for targeting the right kinds of customers—both companies and people—based on the growth stage of a technology company.

8 Lessons I Learned Starting A Business In College

Fernando Rojo, Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship Founder of PATOS

By Fernando Rojo C’18, Founder of PATOS

“Working in a third-world country will be a logistical nightmare.”

“No one will want such bright patterns on shoes.”

“Why aren’t your sales higher already?”

These are a few of the sorts of things people said to me as I started PATOS, a line of modern sneakers made with traditional Peruvian textiles that I’ve spent the last two years bringing to market. The idea for the business came to me during my freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania. I was visiting extended family in Argentina and met an artisan named Rafael at a flea market there. He made these incredible shoes with vibrant textiles. I heard his story and perspective as a talented artisan in a struggling economy, and I was hooked; a few days later, I got on a plane back to the U.S. with 100 pairs of Rafael’s textile-covered shoes and the idea for PATOS: I’d partner with him and other talented artisans across Latin America, building a global brand for their handcrafted, one-of-a-kind sneakers. Read more 8 Lessons I Learned Starting A Business In College

Back to Wharton for Multinational Entrepreneurship Inspiration

Sara Haq and Wharton Professor Philip Nochols
Wharton Professor Philip Nichols and Sara Haq

By Sara Haq W’06, Founder and Principal of SH International

In October, I had the honor of giving a guest lecture at the Wharton School to sixty students on emerging markets and multinational entrepreneurship. These were students of the Emerging Economies class of Wharton Professor Philip Nichols. My hope is that these students learned something from the lessons I shared from doing business across five continents. I know I got a lot out of the experience, including: Read more Back to Wharton for Multinational Entrepreneurship Inspiration

Pennovation Center Opens

Dean Geoffrey Garrett on the grand opening of the Pennovation Center and the state of innovation and entrepreneurship at Wharton and Penn

On Friday, October 28, the Pennovation Center officially opened the doors to its three-story, 58,000-square-foot facility located on the banks of the Schuylkill River. The multipurpose space offers co-working, lab, and production spaces, and more resources for researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs seeking collaboration and community.

The Pennovation Center joins two key initiatives to enhance the overall innovation profile at Penn and Wharton — The Mack Institute for Innovation Management and Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship.

“We’ve got a fantastic skill set when it comes to innovation at Penn,” said Dean Geoffrey Garrett in a video message to celebrate the launch.

“The Mack Institute is focused on a key challenge — innovation in large, mature organizations, that really want to innovate but sometimes find it hard to get that innovative mindset.” “Then on the student-facing side, [Penn] Wharton Entrepreneurship provides incredible opportunities for our students to learn by doing,” continued Dean Garrett.

The Center is already home to 20 startup companies and over 100 individuals, ushering in a new hub for innovation and entrepreneurship at Penn.

To learn more about the new Pennovation Center visit


Identified Technologies and DigiPuppets Win $7500 Each

By Nadine Kavanaugh, Associate Director, Wharton Entrepreneurship

Woods Award Collage w label

Every year, Wharton Entrepreneurship gives several awards to students who demonstrate clear entrepreneurial prowess. There’s the Wharton Venture Award, which gives several students $10,000 each to work on their ventures for the summer rather than going the more traditional internship route, and the Loveman Award, a cash prize of $1,000 , which goes to the undergraduate specializing in Entrepreneurship with the highest cumulative GPA. But only one award requires the recipients to have first won something else before they even qualify for consideration: The Emil K. Woods Award.

Read more Identified Technologies and DigiPuppets Win $7500 Each