A startup venture by Bradley senior Shiv Patel brought national recognition in 2013 from the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization as Patel received honorable mention in the organizations’ Global Student of the Year competition. The honor marked the first time a Bradley student received the organization’s high accolades.
CEO’s award recognized Patel’s work as co-founder of PrintVersity, a print and design business aimed at college students. It also encouraged him to continue his business startup dreams with academic interests in both business administration and engineering.
“The experience gave me the validation that I could pursue entrepreneurship and not be an engineer my whole life,” Patel said. “It gave me courage and motivation to pursue it just by being recognized as an individual.”
Additionally, Patel saw his recognition as a way to encourage students from other academic backgrounds to explore entrepreneurship.
“Being an engineering student, it’s a great opportunity that I’m able to go out of my comfort zone,” he said. “This serves as a vision for students who aren’t typical entrepreneurs, so it’s a great way to bring them into opportunities.
Dr. Gerald Hills, who founded CEO in the 1980s, noted the award’s positive impact on Bradley’s academic programs.
“I’m very pleased that Shiv won this award,” he said. “This is one piece of evidence that we’re having a positive impact on our students. It really reflects well on Bradley and the Turner School. It shows the commonalities across all the departments and colleges.”
As a person “always open to embracing new challenges,” Patel jumped into business startup planning over the past year and will continue to build PrintVersity in the spring. Patel wants to buck the traditional engineering career path of industry jobs in favor of startups and nonprofits.
“I’ve always enjoyed the startup scene,” Patel said. “Entrepreneurship is key in this economic climate because all the creative companies are merging.”
The seemingly distinctive career options converge because of the broad skill set required to succeed in either. As a result, Patel decided his undergrad years would be well-spent taking risks to learn needed lessons before emerging in the professional world.
“We speak two different languages, but in business and engineering, we need to collaborate,” he said. “Entrepreneurship is experiential learning. You learn by making mistakes. That’s what the college experience is about. It’s what I’ve done the past year taking new classes, meeting new people and trying new things in order to figure out what I want to do.”
The cross-curricular entrepreneurship is an example of the Turner School’s effort to show entrepreneurship’s value to all disciplines.
“The primary underpinning of the Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation is to cut across campus and reach students in all the colleges because entrepreneurship isn’t really headquartered in one place,” Hills said. “It’s activity and a way of thinking that permeate campus.”