Published: March 3, 2021 By

Andrew & BenMeet Andrew Ferraro and Ben Cunningham, founders of CU Boulder’s VC Club and startup initiative, Startup Mill. Both are studying Finance at the Leeds School of Business. Ben and Andrew created their initiative while remote during COVID-19. The VC Club is a student-led organization designed to bridge the gap between CU and the local startup ecosystem through guest speaker presentations. These presenters will provide a holistic perspective of the startup ecosystem ranging from seasoned venture capitalists to local startup founders. 

Startup Mill

Startup Mill is a student-led program designed to provide another option to startups looking for assistance during their growth and expansion. Students and entrepreneurs will receive first-hand VC and entrepreneurial experience through a 12-week program that pairs CU Boulder students with established local startups as interns, providing both learning opportunities through mentorship and scheduled programming. 

Ben and Andrew started exploring the idea of the student-led initiative because they believe that students have more inherent knowledge about business than they are led to believe. While they understand that developing fundamental knowledge and understanding is important, they wanted to develop an experiential learning model to give students a “sandbox” to learn. Therefore, allowing them to further explore their passions. 

Advice for Current Students

Andrew and Ben are constantly thinking of innovative ways to increase student engagement and involvement while ultimately fulfilling their goal of building the bridge between CU Boulder and the startup ecosystem.

Ben and Andrew offered the following advice to current students, 

“Work to build your network, analyze the connections you have, and find ways to be collaborative with other people. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, take initiative, and step into an opportunity that you might not know much about. Give first to other people and you will reap the benefits in the long run.”

To learn more about the VC Club and StartupMill, contact vc@colorado.edu

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