In 2007, Nikhil Basu Trivedi ’11 traded his home in the Bay Area — an arm’s length from the Northern California, Stanford-infused entrepreneurship scene — for a new home in Princeton, N.J. But when he arrived on campus, he said he was struck by the absence of a thriving entrepreneurship culture. The Princeton Entrepreneurship Club, the supposed hub of campus start-up life, had about five involved members.
Over the past five years, the entrepreneurship scene — both private-sector entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship — on campus has seen rapid growth. Though the E-Club once had just a handful of members, today it lists 44 officers on its website. Students interested in forming start-ups have turned to the E-Club as the dominant on-campus resource.
The University has responded to this increased student interest by creating the Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education in 2005 and offering more courses geared toward entrepreneurship.
Although the E-Club is taking the lead in support for student-led start-ups, student entrepreneurs say they want more. They want more flexible options for students to stay enrolled while still being able to pursue entrepreneurial passions. They want Career Services to do more to provide students with opportunities with start-ups rather than in finance and consulting. They want the University to provide more of these opportunities so students don’t have to depend solely on alumni connections.