October 21, 2020

A year into his role as director of the Flemming Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Dr. Andrew King has created a host of new opportunities to empower Hampden-Sydney College’s most entrepreneurial students to begin building their empires.

Andrew King consults a student“My strengths are building programs and engaging students,” says Director of the Flemming Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Andrew King. Just a year into his tenure, King is capitalizing on his strengths by expanding the Center’s offerings and actively mentoring students as they launch new ventures.

This fall, King launched the Tiger’s Den New Venture Incubator—INDS 285.3—which is the newest iteration of the entrepreneurship competition formerly known as Tiger’s Den. While the previous Tiger’s Den was exclusively a pitch contest, the Tiger’s Den Incubator is a Compass course running through the 10-week instructional block this fall. Students are introduced to the foundational entrepreneurial principles for developing a new venture and use industry best practices to plan and validate their business ideas.

The fall 2020 semester will then culminate in the Tiger’s Den Pitch Contest in which students—whether enrolled in the Incubator course or not—will have the chance to present their new business ideas or established ventures to a panel of expert alumni entrepreneurs who will then distribute $15,000 in seed funding. “My broader vision for the Center is to compel students to take action on their creative ideas,” says King.

My broader vision for the Center is to compel students to take action on their creative ideas.

Andrew King, Director of the Flemming Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Along with revitalizing the Tiger’s Den competition, King has partnered with Longwood University and the Town of Farmville to create the Launch Pad Acceleration Program—CTZN 410—which will begin its inaugural session in the spring semester. The Launch Pad will include student teams from both institutions who are actively building companies or non-profits and will help students scale the size and capacity of their organizations. “This partnership is important because it will grow the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem and increase H-SC students’ exposure to entrepreneurial activity associated with larger urban areas,” King explains.

Andrew King working with a student at the board“These programs give students a runway to test out their business ideas. They gain skills that can add to both their entrepreneurial aspirations as well as give them powerful insights to running projects in larger organizations as employees,” says King. “Regardless of whether they build a venture big enough to sustain them after graduation or start working for an established company, the skills they acquire to juggle the many aspects of a new venture will give them exceptional capabilities to excel in the real world.”

King is also capitalizing on Hampden-Sydney’s legendary alumni brotherhood to create a Mentor Network comprised of alumni who can help guide students along the entrepreneurial process through the Flemming Center. “The Center provides a safe space to experiment with business ideas, test out strategies on mentors, build a toolkit of entrepreneurial skills, and leverage the Mentor Network’s experience to reduce the costs of naiveté.”

King is eager to expand this opportunity for students. “The Mentor Network is growing, and it benefits from alumni who have intimate knowledge of any and all industries and who understand the complexities of starting-up or sustaining new ventures,” he says. “Consider joining!”

Alumni who are interested in joining the Mentor Network should contact Andrew King at aking@hsc.edu. Students who are interested in competing in the Pitch Contest can find more information at the Tiger's Den.

Flemming Center

Compass Program

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