McDonough School of Business
News Story

Don’t Take “No” For An Answer

Greg Vetter, co-founder of Tessemae’s All Natural, recently recounted how his mom’s salad dressing went from a jar in his refrigerator to the shelves of a Whole Foods location in Annapolis, Md., to nearly 5,000 stores across North America.

“All we did was not take ‘no’ for an answer,” he said to an auditorium of Georgetown University entrepreneurs.

Vetter was one of seven speakers at Georgetown Entrepreneurship Day, held October 2 at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. The annual event serves as a kick off to the academic year, bringing together students, alumni, and faculty to foster a community of entrepreneurship across the university.

The speakers’ journeys, though diverse, all emphasized that entrepreneurship is a mindset that requires determination and a willingness to find creative ways to tackle problems.

“It was less about the idea and more about the fact that we had each other. That’s our biggest lesson – the power of partnership,” said Nathaniel Ru (B ’07), co-founder of sweetgreen. “Our shared passion for creating something helped us get through the peaks and valleys of starting a business.”

Ru and co-founder Nicolas Jammet (B ’07) spoke at the event and encouraged students to think beyond product themselves and expand their vision.

“Don’t build a business if you can build a brand,” Ru said. “Don’t build a brand if you can build a movement. We have defined our culture and values and the way we do business through the frame of the ‘sweet life.’”

Entrepreneur-in-Residence Eric Koester also shared three pieces of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs:

  • Don’t go out and start a company. Go out and find what you are passionate about. Find your passion first.
  • Find your “tribe” of like-minded people who can support and challenge you.
  • Don’t start a company, start a movement.

As part of the event, three Georgetown McDonough alumni pitched their startups, including Erika Ettin (MBA ’09) of A Little Nudge, Logan Soya (MBA ’13) of Aquicore, and Lily Cua (B ’11) of Aspire.

After Entrepreneurship Day, Georgetown students and alumni gathered for Startup Weekend, a 54-hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation that culminated with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders.

“I was astounded at how much the teams were able to do over the course of the weekend,” said Barry Goldsmith, a junior international business and finance major and a Georgetown Entrepreneurship Fellow. “More than half of the eight teams had designed functioning wire frames for their mobile apps. We had teams develop partnerships, run Google Ad Words campaigns, create landing pages, and conduct customer interviews. I don’t know how they were able to do so much in just 54 hours!”