Attracted by the sound of live music and the smell of free pizza, hundreds of students gathered to enjoy the Creators’ Kickoff, hosted by the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology.
Aside from the fun atmosphere and free food, students learned about the excellent resources and benefits available to them through joining Creators, the new student association connected with the Rollins Center, which is located in the BYU Marriott School of Business.
More than 1,000 students attended the event, which was “a testament to the success of and enthusiasm for what Creators offers," says Jade Rogers, the creative and product manager at the Rollins Center.
Great ideas form both inside and outside of the business school, which is why Creators membership is open to any BYU student, regardless of major. “We want all students to recognize that they are creative and can participate in entrepreneurship,” Rogers says. Creators’ purpose is to cultivate a greater community of students who rely on and help each other develop their ideas.
By joining Creators, students have increased access to mentors and other like-minded students who can become dedicated team members. The staff in the Rollins Center assists in directing association members to projects and resources they will find most fulfilling, whether it’s becoming a cofounder in a business or contributing their skills to existing teams.
Additionally, frequent member-exclusive events, such as the Idea Jam sessions, provide participants with chances to riff on various business ideas together in a low-pressure environment. Other learning events and opportunities to receive funding for startups are some of the additional perks of the membership—not to mention the free sodas available in The Slab, the new hangout place for Creators’ members. Interested students can sign up for membership through creators.byu.edu.
“The idea is that association members gain exposure to new ways of thinking and opportunities to start working on ideas,” Rogers says. “We’ve found that students who didn’t know they could be entrepreneurs are coming in, hearing people's ideas, and realizing that developing business ideas is not actually that scary.”
Built on BYU Marriott’s mission and values, Creators seeks to distinguish students from various majors by giving them a unique mindset and skillset. “We hope that students look at the world differently because of their involvement,” says Jeff Brown, associate director of the Rollins Center. Rogers adds, “We're in the business of teaching students all over campus how to create value by bringing diverse skillsets together. We believe business-minded people and non-business-minded people can collaborate to solve big problems.”
Members discover that the strong community and connections make all the difference for those who involve themselves in Creators. Aaron Christiansen, a manufacturing design major who participated in Creators’ beginning stages last year, enjoys being part of this unique community. “I’ve learned so much by talking to people in the same boat as me. I also feel that sharing my ideas with others gives me more motivation to stay focused and move forward with my projects because I am more accountable after having shared my plans,” he says.
Kaylia Lundgren, an entrepreneurship major, spent the kickoff encouraging people to join the unique program. As one of only a few female entrepreneurship students, she knows that it takes encouragement to become involved. “We want more women to see that they can and should take part in the opportunities promoted through Creators,” she says.
In addition to Creators, students interested in other Rollins Center resources can enter the Sandbox program, which allows students to earn credits toward their major for developing a business. Startups can also participate in the Seed program and receive special grants and other funding by pitching their ideas to a group of board members. The Rollins Center seeks to provide opportunities for students to succeed in every phase of entrepreneurship. “We want to encourage more connections where you pursue an idea you care about, whether it comes from you or from someone looking for help,” Brown emphasizes. “Those connections are invaluable and will pay dividends in the future.”
Writer: Samantha Clinger