Thought Into Action — Entrepreneurship at Colgate

Applying liberal arts to entrepreneurship to develop leaders who take action and impact the world. TIA supports, promotes, and advances entrepreneurial activity across the Colgate community.

Colgate students attend a monthly TIA workshop in the TIA Incubator space

TIA Student Incubator

Start a new venture in Colgate's year-long student incubator while guided by entrepreneurial alumni, parent, and community mentors.

Founders Ventures MentorsJoin the incubator

students pitching their venture to an alumna

Entrepreneurs Fund

Receive seed funding and a dedicated workspace in Hamilton to advance your venture during a summer of intensive innovation.

Learn more

Panel discussion during E-Weekend 2017

Entrepreneur Weekend

Students, alumni, and families are invited to a weekend of world-class speakers, pitches, networking, and celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit.

Get inspired


Entrepreneurship events and speakers open to the whole campus

Events Calendar


Alumni Network

The Entrepreneur Network fosters Colgate's lifelong community.

More about Professional Networks

Campus Venture Initiative

Are you a student entrepreneur who is interested in selling goods or services on campus? Apply to the Campus Venture Initiative (CVI), which supports student entrepreneurs with approval and resources to operate on campus.

Students who are approved by the Campus Venture Initiative receive the following resources to grow their ventures on campus:

  • A certificate from the University to operate and market on campus
  • Access to an exclusive, high-trafficked location in the Coop to sell goods and market services
  • Access to a 'Gate Card machine to process payments
  • Access to resources through TIA
  • Apply by September 16 for a decision by September 30
  • Apply by October 16 for a decision by October 30
  • Apply by November 11 for a decision by November 25
  • Apply by December 9 for a decision by December 23
  • Apply by February 10 for a decision by February 24
  • Apply by March 9 for a decision by March 23
  • Apply by April 7 for a decision by April 21

What happens after I submit my application?

The Director and Alumni Executive Director of Thought Into Action will review your application to make sure it’s complete and ready for presentation to the review committee. If more information is needed, the Director will work with you to make necessary changes.

Once the initial application is approved, you will be scheduled to interview with the review committee. The committee meets monthly.

Who is on the Review Committee?

The committee is made up of the Director and Alumni Executive Director of TIA, the Vice-President for Finance and Administration, the Associate Vice-President for Community Affairs, the Director of Purchasing, and the Assistant Controller and Risk Manager.

What should I expect in the interview?

You should be prepared to “pitch” your business idea to the panel. This presentation should take no longer than 5 minutes and should be as concise and direct as possible. Any handouts or other materials must be emailed to the Director of TIA (tia@colgate.edu) prior to the interview. He/she will make copies to distribute to the committee. 

After your initial presentation, the committee will ask questions to learn more about your venture and determine its viability on campus. 

The interview will last approximately 20-30 minutes. A decision will not be made on the spot; rather the TIA Director will notify you of the decision within a few days. If you have been given suggestions or requests for more information, you will need to follow up before a decision will be made.

How should I dress for the interview?

Dress should be “business casual” — not too casual, but you don’t need to wear a suit and tie or dress and heels. Remember, you want to project a professional image.

Can  you provide examples of ventures that likely won't be approved?

While our goal is to make operating a student business as easy as possible at Colgate, there may be circumstances that might interfere with implementing your idea. Some examples include:

  • Ventures that interfere with contracts that outside vendors have with the university.
  • Ventures that pose a risk to the university.
  • Ventures that conflict with existing university policies.
  • Ventures that are franchise businesses will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • These circumstances are usually rare and would be discussed in more detail in the interview. 

Will I need insurance to operate my business?

Some ventures may be required to purchase a minimum insurance liability policy. The amount of coverage will be dependent on the nature of the venture. Proof of insurance will be required before the venture is approved and resources are made available. Some examples of ventures that will need insurance are those that are food-related, require the use of a vehicle, or any activity that the committee determines to be high risk.

Will there be a place on campus where I can sell my goods or services?

TIA has a space in the Coop that you can reserve while operating on campus. Use of the space will be coordinated by TIA. You will need to contact the Director of TIA to reserve the space.

How can I process payments?

Once you are accepted, you will receive access to a ’Gate Card terminal for processing payments that you can reserve through TIA when operating on campus. You will need a business checking account in order for the Accounting Department to transfer the money to you. There are also options such as Square and Venmo to accept credit card payments. You will need to set this up yourself. You will be expected to collect sales tax as a business in accordance with the applicable laws for you business.

Will I receive anything to show that I am an approved business?

If you are approved, you will receive a certificate of operation that indicates you are an approved business with contact information on who to reach out to if any issues should arrive.

What is Colgate's role in this?

If you are approved and become a Colgate-sanctioned business, recognize that you are still an independently operated business and Colgate does not profit or benefit in any way from the proceeds. As such, you will be held to the same standards as an outside vendor. Additionally, being approved as a student-run business does not exclude the University from allowing or actively seeking competition from other sources. Finally, the University reserves the right to terminate recognition at any time upon written notice without necessity of demonstrating cause.

By approving a student-run business, Colgate is in no way endorsing nor promoting this business over any other approved vendor.


Apply now


Director, Thought into Action

Wills Hapworth '07, Alumni Executive Director, Thought Into Action

Wills Hapworth ’07
Alumni Executive Director, Thought Into Action