Each spring Colgate University celebrates, endorses, and advances the entrepreneurial spirit of its students and alumni with a weekend-long event.


Every year we are joined by real-world entrepreneurs who share their success stories and lessons learned, and evaluate the most promising ventures emerging from the TIA Incubator during a Shark Tank-like pitch competition.

Entrepreneur Weekend 2019

digital poster for E-weekend 2019

Join us for the 8th annual eWeekend! This year's event will be held on Saturday April 6th beginning at 11:00am in the Hall of Presidents. The demo day will feature TIA entrepreneurs showcasing their ventures as well as a panel discussion titled "Bringing Businesses to Life," moderated by Bob Gold ’80, and featuring an impressive panel of alumni entrepreneurs.

The panel discussion will be followed by the Colgate version of Shark Tank, where four teams will pitch to the panel for cash prizes.

A buffet lunch will be provided. 

This event is part of the Colgate Leadership Tradition at 200 Years series.

Schedule of Events

  • 11:00 a.m.–12:45 p.m.: Networking, TIA demos & pitches
  • 12:45–1:15 p.m.: Welcoming remarks and Panel discussion: Bringing Businesses to Life
  • 1:15–1:45 p.m.: Shark Tank
  • 1:45-2:00 p.m.: Entrepreneur of the Year 
  • 2:00-2:15: Closing remarks
  • 2:15–4:00 p.m.: Networking

Featured Alumni

headshot of Alexandra Thompson '02

Alexandra Thompson ’02
Founder and Creative Director at Persifor.com

About Alexandra Thompson ’02

headshot of Bob Gold '80

Bob Gold ’80
CEO and President at Ridgewood Capital

About Bob Gold ’80

headshot of Dan Hurwitz

Dan Hurwitz ’86, P’17, ’20
Founder & CEO, Raider Hill Advisors, LLC

About Dan Hurwitz ’86, P’17, ’20

headshot of Denniston Reid

Denniston Reid ’94
Chief Schools & Innovation Officer, Excellence Community Schools 

About Denniston Reid ’94

headshot of Jim DeCicco

Jim DeCicco ’15
CEO, Kitu Life, Inc. (Super Coffee)

About Jim DeCicco ’15

Past Entrepreneur Weekends

Student entrepreneur Christina Weiler ’21 pitches her venture to a panel of alumni.
Student entrepreneur Christina Weiler ’21 pitches her venture to a panel of alumni. Photo by Andrew Daddio

Student ventures receive funding during Entrepreneur Weekend

During the 7th annual Entrepreneur Weekend, more than 250 alumni, parents, students, and friends came to campus to celebrate and advance the entrepreneurial endeavors of Colgate student entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneur Weekend is the capstone to the Thought Into Action (TIA) Incubator, a yearlong commitment in which students develop an idea and make it go live with the help of alumni mentors.

Students presented their TIA ventures in hopes of gaining further mentorship and financial support from the Colgate network. These ventures included for-profit, not-for-profit, and campus/community initiatives.

“Today is a day that can truly transform the trajectory of our students’ lives,” said Wills Hapworth ’07, a co-founder of TIA and the alumni director. “What you see here is how students turned their ideas into reality and, by doing so, begin to transform lives.”

That afternoon, during the panel discussion “Liberal Arts and Entrepreneurship,” panelists shared their experiences in entrepreneurship, highlighting the importance of establishing a good plan, being coachable, and working through failures. Panelists included: Bob Gold ’80, CEO and president of Ridgewood Capital; Jon Klein, co-founder of TAPP Media and former president at CNN/US; Jeffrey Sharp ’89, academy award winning filmmaker and president/CEO of Sharp Independent Pictures; and Katie Finnegan ’05, principal and founder at Store No. 8 and vice president at Incubation Walmart. Finnegan was also awarded the Alumni Council’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Alumni panelists highlighted the ways their Colgate education allowed them to be successful entrepreneurs.

“The liberal arts teaches you how to think,” said Finnegan, who was a history and religion double major. “It taught me how to dissect a problem and how to learn. I know how to take a situation and break it down into quantifiable parts to understand them.”

Sharp reiterated the importance of a Colgate education in fostering passion and entrepreneurial spirit. “Colgate, as a liberal arts institution and in the physical space we occupy,” he said, “offers these nooks and crannies and these places where you can go off to disappear, create, and explore your resources.”

Students then had the opportunity to pitch their ventures during a Shark Tank­–style competition for funding and other support from the panelists.

  • ISO Film, a creative content house that specializes in film and video production founded by Lauren Sanderson ’18 and Brandon Doby ’18, earned $1,000 and was given a chance to make a film with Academy Award-winning producer Sharp.
  • Loophole — a rubber ring phone grip and kickstand — and its founder Patrick Crowe ’18 earned $1,000; also, Gold and Finnegan placed orders for more than 2,000 units of branded products.
  • Gipper, an automated athletics communications service for high schools and colleges, earned $3,000, and Finnegan offered San Francisco office space to its founders Matthew Glick ’19, Jack Zamore ’20, Ruchit Shrestha ’20, and Abby Waxler ’19.
  • UCan, a social recycling system for colleges and universities that channels generated funds toward local anti-poverty organizations, earned $4,000 to expand its operations. Finnegan offered to connect UCan’s founder Christina Weiler ’21 with Walmart’s operations team to expand the project in Walmart retail stores.

“This money means so much to UCan, not just as an organization, but as a movement,” said Weiler. “Having this money will allow us to increase the quality of life for people across the country and increase recycling rates. The opportunity to involve communities around the country will help us facilitate that.”

Colgate’s leadership in liberal arts entrepreneurship was powerfully represented by the Thought Into Action student entrepreneurs who continue to illustrate the strong connection between liberal arts and entrepreneurship.

Over the past nine years, more than 500 Colgate entrepreneurs have gone through the TIA Incubator and launched their ventures, guided by more than 140 alumni, parent, and community mentors.

“Today’s economy requires people who not only get answers right, but more importantly, ask the right questions,” Michael Sciola, associate vice president of Institutional Advancement and Career Initiatives, said. “The TIA experience allows Colgate students to identify a problem and then create a solution that works. Entrepreneurship and Liberal Arts, together, are powerful partners for future success.”

Featured Alumni

headshot of Katie Finnegan

Katie Finnegan ’05
Principal & Founder Store No 8 | VP, Incubation Walmart
Co-founder, Hukkster

About Katie Finnegan ’05

headshot of Bob Gold '80

Bob Gold ’80
CEO and President at Ridgewood Capital

About Bob Gold ’80

headshot of Jon Klein

Jon Klein
Co-founder, CEO at TAPP Media​
Former president, CNN/US

About Jon Klein

headshot of Jeffrey Sharp

Jeffrey Sharp 89
President/CEO of Sharp Independent Pictures | Film & TV Producer

About Jeffrey Sharp ’89

2017 Weekend Recap

headshot of Steven Bertoni

Steven Bertoni ’02
Forbes magazine tech editor

About Steven Bertoni ’02

headshot of Samantha Radocchia

Samantha Radocchia ’11
Co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Chronicled Inc.

About Samantha Radocchia ’11

headshot of Ram Parimi

Ram Parimi ’05
Vice president, sales at Social Tables

About Ram Parimi ’05

headshot of Cliff Sirlin

Cliff Sirlin ’89
Co-founder, Domino Media Group; Managing director, LaunchCapital LLC

About Cliff Sirlin ’89

2016 Weekend Recap

headshot of Steven Bertoni

Steven Bertoni ’02
Forbes magazine tech editor

About Steven Bertoni ’02

headshot of Tyler Haney

Tyler Haney
CEO, Outdoor Voices

About Tyler Haney

Headshot of Jon McNeill

Jon McNeill
President, Global Sales and Service at Tesla Motors

About Jon McNeill

Headshot of Peter Boyce

Peter Boyce
Venture @ General Catalyst Partners + Rough Draft Ventures

About Peter Boyce

Headshot of Payal Kadakia

Payal Kadakia
CEO and Co-founder, ClassPass 

About Payal Kadakia

Headshot of Clare MacGoey

Clare MacGoey
CFO, Giphy

About Clare MacGoey

2015 Weekend Recap

headshot of Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba
Founder and CCO, The Honest Co.

About Jessica Alba

headshot of Greg Coleman

Greg Coleman
President, BuzzFeed

About Greg Coleman

Headshot of Jennifer Hyman

Jennifer Hyman
Co-founder and CEO, Rent the Runway

About Jennifer Hyman

Headshot of David Fialkow

David Fialkow ’81
Managing Director, General Catalyst Partners

About David Fialkow ’81

Headshot of Neil Blumenthal

Neil Blumenthal
Co-founder and Co-CEO, Warby Parker

About Neil Blumenthal

headshot of MC Hammer

MC Hammer
Artist and Entrepreneur

About MC Hammer

Headshot of Daniel Rosensweig

Daniel Rosensweig P’15’17
Chairman and CEO, Chegg

About Daniel Rosensweig P’15’17

2014 Weekend Recap

headshot of Tony Bates

Tony Bates
Executive VP, Microsoft 

About Tony Bates

headshot of David Faber

David Faber
CNBC anchor/producer

About David Faber

Headshot of Daniel Rosensweig

Chairman and CEO, Chegg

About Daniel Rosensweig P’15’17

Headshot of Brian Chesky

Brian Chesky
Co-founder and CEO, Airbnb 

About Brian Chesky

headshot of Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher
Actor/producer, co-founder of Katalyst

About Ashton Kutcher

headshot of John Donahoe

John Donahoe
President and CEO, eBay

About John Donahoe

headshot of Sheryl Sandberg at Colgate

Sheryl Sandberg
COO, Facebook

About Sheryl Sandberg

headshot of Hamdi Ulukaya at Colgate

Hamdi Ulukaya
CEO, Chobani 

About Hamdi Ulukaya

headshot of Richard Branson

Richard Branson
Founder, Virgin Group

About Richard Branson

View weekend highlights on Flickr

Richard Branson cheering in a crowd of students wearing a Colgate jersey

Support Student Entrepreneurship

To support opportunities and experiences facilitated by Thought Into Action please contribute to the Thought Into Action Fund. All support will be administered according to the guidelines of the fund.

Make a gift

More Information

Questions about Entrepreneur Weekend? Contact the Office of Special Events for Institutional Advancement at 315-228-7782 or cuspecialevents3@colgate.edu.

Learn more about Colgate's Thought into Action Colgate Entrepreneurs.