Alex Brito is a chocolatier with unlikely origins. The Richmond-based entrepreneur founded a web development company in 2011, and he graduated from the University of Mary Washington in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

Growing up two hours away from the ocean in Richmond, VA, Cannella had to wait until high school, when he obtained his driver’s license, to explore his interest in surfing. This interest soon transformed into a passion, but his passion for surfing was often deterred by a long two-hour drive.

Evan Thoresen has been exposed to issues surrounding cardiac health for a long time. For instance, for seven years, his mother worked as CEO for WomenHeart, a nonprofit based in D.C. that is dedicated to raising awareness about women’s heart disease and providing women with the best care available.

Upon arriving to Richmond, Oedegaard’s skin quickly began to break out. She says the breakouts were likely caused by a bad combination of stress, new foods and a new climate, among other factors. Seeing that acne creams and visits to the dermatologist were not fixing her problem, Oedegaard decided to take matters into her own hands.

Founded by recent VCU grad, Michael Smith, Radiant RVA is the first company focused on becoming the next level of computer science education.

Steve Ebeling and Cassie Ford are two physical therapy students at Virginia Commonwealth University. The two met last summer, and they have come together to form TheraJournal, a smartphone app that will put to rest the antiquated model of home exercise programs and will welcome the field of physical therapy to the age of the smartphone.

Dog owners no longer have to search far and wide to educate themselves on effective solutions for their pet problems. BellaDog is the first digital experience offering a collection of tools and resources to answer every question a dog owner could possibly have.

Srijan Karan, 19, and Rahul Sundararaman, 18, declared their computer science majors when they arrived at Virginia Commonwealth University, yet their passion for the field of computer science goes back all the way to middle school.

Logan Deyo was one of the seven students selected that earned a spot in VCU’s Pre-accelerator Program this spring. The 20-year-old business major recently founded CampusCrate; a startup that provides a completely customizable care and supply package experience for college students.

Bryce Johnson and Herman Asberry IV met in 2007 while camping outside of a store, waiting for the release of a much-anticipated pair of sneakers. Asberry, a self-proclaimed “sneaker connoisseur”, was wearing a different limited edition sneaker on each foot that day. Johnson, recognizing the coveted brands, pointed them out. Conversation ensued, and 10 years later, the two friends still share their passion for sneakers.

We’ve long maintained that there is no single characteristic that makes an entrepreneur. Male or female. Long-tenured professor or first-year student. And our entrepreneurs don’t come exclusively from the School of Business or Engineering. They’re from across the campus.

The various schools at VCU conduct a wide-ranging field of research. Diseases and treatments are studied at the School of Medicine. Engineering develops tools for industry and new materials for development. Data is collected to improve the performance of teachers, develop policies that serve the common good, and propel our economy forward.

On January 26, President Michael Rao, Ph.D., talked about the VCU mission of discovery, scholarship, and innovation. These are three topics that we’re well familiar with. Our university encourages research, and our startup mentality fosters that innovation that brings solutions to real-world problems.

Spring is coming early to the VCU campus. After reviewing 152 applications, and hearing a five-minute pitch from 34 finalists, seven student-founded startups were chosen to receive a $5,000 grant and the opportunity for a three month program to help them bring their startup ideas to life.

Students and faculty at VCU continue to research, innovate, and invigorate their entrepreneurial mindset. Over the past year, they’ve disclosed 134 inventions, with many of them leading to patents, industry engagement, and more. This number was up 40% from last year, and continues to grow.

We recently introduced you to Jay Markiewicz and told you of his circuitous route to entrepreneurship. Anika Horn has become a mentor to many of Richmond and VCU’s budding entrepreneurs, and her journey has been a similarly winding path.

When James Dyson was a young engineering student, he invented a wheelbarrow with a ball in instead of a wheel in front. That was an idea that stuck with him, but it took him another 16 years to get his first American patent, for a vacuum cleaner.

Jay Markiewicz is the Executive Director of Entrepreneurship Programs at our VCU School of Business. His journey to entrepreneurship, however, was not along a straight path. We spent some time with Jay recently to discover how he got here, and what directed him along his journey.”

Zig Ziglar was a motivational coach for millions. He once said, “You can have everything you want in life if you just help enough people get what they want in life.”

Fifty high school students took part in the recent Virginia Entrepreneurial Challenge, hosted by the VCU School of Business. VCU students and faculty acted as advisors and mentors, teaching them how to act and think like entrepreneurs.

Since it began in 2015, 22 teams have been accepted into VCU's Pre-Accelerator Program. Of those, 18 saw the program through to company launch, and these entrepreneurs created 0ver 30 jobs and raised over $1.5 million in revenue, grants, and investments.

According to a recent survey, 50 percent of VCU students, across the university's 13 different schools, are interested in starting their own company. The Pop-up Pitches competitions, held Thursdays at 2 p.m. in Founder’s Corner, are open to any VCU student.

Over half of the students at VCU have a desire to start their own company. A large percentage of them do just that, either during their time at VCU or after graduation. Learn how VCU’s entrepreneurs are paying it forward by reaching out to their fellow Rams as employees and interns.

While Virginia Commonwealth University has long and deep roots in Richmond, our reach has increasingly spread in the global economic and internet age. We have a campus in Qatar, and International Partnerships with colleges and universities around the world.

We emphasize each and every day about the ability in each of us to nurture our entrepreneurial mindset. Here at VCU, and indeed, all around Richmond opportunities abound to put that mindset to work.

Richmond has fantastic whitewater on the James River, but one doesn’t think of it as a surfer’s paradise. Many folks in Central Virginia, however, often make the quick trek to the coast to score some Atlantic waves. One VCU student, challenged when buying and selling used boards, came up with a creative startup certain to juice up local surfers.

There are more mobile devices in our world today than there are people. We use them to call people, browse the internet, surf social media, for gaming, and to conduct our business.

It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that over half of our students harbor a desire to start their own business, and these would-be entrepreneurs come from across the spectrum of disciplines at VCU...

Throughout her career, Carrie Hawes has been creating pipelines for students from academia to industry. She’s always helped students realize their strengths and connected them to the organizations looking for those skill sets...

The concept for Adam Worcester’s business came as so many other great ideas have throughout history — over a few cold beers with a couple of good friends.

He had taken up the hobby of brewing with his friend Jeremy Wirtes, but it was childhood chum Scott Jones that persuaded them to take it to the next level...

Two VCU School of Business students took internships at local incubator Lighthouse Labs, and had the opportunity to work with five different companies.

Coming next month, VCU students Simone Gregor and Sina Mostaghimi have created VCU’s first hackathon to be aimed specifically at finding health-related solutions.

From VCU News: “Virginia Commonwealth University is hosting its first medical...

VCU Innovate Living-Learning Program, now in its second year, has an interesting way of breaking the ice.

Last Monday, members of two cohorts of the living-learning program of VCU’s da Vinci Center got together in the morning to kick...

We first reported on this event back in July, but it was postponed. Now, we have new dates and details for helping the next generation of RVA entrepreneurs...

Apply by August 22 to be an entrepreneur, mentor, or sponsor at Unreasonable Institute’s Validation Lab.

From Unreasonable Institute: “This Virginia Business Model Validation Lab is a 7-day accelerator for early/idea-stage, East Coast-based entrepreneurs that are tackling social and...

From CrowdFund Insider: “On Monday, Kickstarter announced it formed a partnership with learning community Skillshare to create a list of classes taught by creators across the crowdfunding platform’s 15 categories.” 

Read the whole story, including some class summaries, here. Stay tuned to Venture Creation University for all things entrepreneurial at VCU!

It only takes about a minute of chatting with Elliot Roth to know that his intelligence is evenly matched by his charm. And with the goal of getting consumers to drink what he calls “practically pond scum,” that’s going to come in handy...

From Unreasonable Lab VA:

“Lovers of social good and the entrepreneurial spirit: we need your help! We’re excited to be hosting the first ever Unreasonable Lab in Virginia! Unreasonable Lab Virginia is a 7-day Business Model Validation Lab and accelerator for early/idea-stage startups. This program is for East Coast-based entrepreneurs that are tackling social and environmental problems. It is designed to help these entrepreneurs rapidly identify and validate the foundational assumptions of their business.

Scratching your head? Check out this video...

According to Richmond BizSense, the escape room craze has found a large following in the Richmond startup community, and the latest to open is in the West End.

“Josh and Ashley Thornhill and Brandon Clark opened Room Escape USA on July 16 at 3504 Mayland Court near the intersection of Gaskins Road and West Broad Street. has exciting news about Painless 1099, a business started by VCU alumni. The company has been accepted into Barclay’s Techstars, an accelerator based out of New York City.

“Painless1099 moved its operations and six staff members to Buffalo, N.Y., earlier this year after winning $500,000 in startup capital in a business pitch competition hosted by 43North, an organization that runs a business incubator in Buffalo.

VCU businesses BoardGrab, UpChurch Chocolate, 8:00 AM, and more were featured in an article on WVTF recently, and it’s all about their entrepreneurial mindset.

“It’s Thursday night, and for young entrepreneurs at VCU that means three hours at Founder’s Corner – a brightly colored studio in the student center where faculty members and executives like Nicole Monk coach those who want to launch their own business.  Some of the ideas are offbeat, but Monk never says no.

While at Arizona State University, Garrett Westlake saw them become the most innovative university in the country, beating out such powerhouses as MIT and Stanford. He sees that same opportunity in the environment at VCU.

Governor McAuliffe met with life science entrepreneurs to learn more about what VCU is doing and speak about the importance of research and life sciences in Virginia’s economy.

After one year, student-led startup companies have generated over $1 million in revenue, grants, and investments. Read more about VCU’s pre-accelerator program.

Tiny Tech, one of the most promising startups to be born out of the VCU School Engineering, was featured on VCU News, and it seems like they’re as impressed with their entrepreneurial mindset as we are!

“The Tiny Tech team brings together talent from the School of Engineering and the VCU Brandcenter, which is part of the School of Business. Umar Hasni, a Ph.D. candidate in electrical engineering, and Margaret Karles, a student in the Brandcenter’s Experience Design...

When you hear the term “entrepreneurial mindset,” images of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg Richard Branson or other famous entrepreneurs may pop into your head. You’re not wrong – these guys surely have an entrepreneurial mindset – but you’re really only seeing a small portion of the picture. The fact is, if you have an entrepreneurial mindset you can be an agent of change without ever starting a company. Training yourself to have this mindset can make you more successful, regardless of what you do or where you work. Here are a few characteristics of a person with an entrepreneurial mindset.

They’re creative thinkers...

Picture someone with an entrepreneurial mindset. Got it? OK. Now, picture someone who thinks artistically.

What did they look like? Was one wearing a suit, and the other wearing a smock? Was one in an office, and the other in a studio? Was one all Jack Donaghy and the other all Liz Lemon?

Or did they look pretty much the same?

The truth is: The line between folks in the creative disciplines and those in business schools is getting blurrier by the day, and that’s a good thing. At Venture Creation University, we know that anyone can have the entrepreneurial mindset...

In the world of VCU entrepreneurship, one of the most exciting things happening is the Pre-Accelerator Program. To take a closer look at the initiative, we caught up with Lacy Spott, of VCU Innovation Gateway. Here’s what she had to say.

Who is involved in running the Pre-Accelerator Program?

It’s probably important to start out by saying that our pre-accelerator program is not led by faculty, but by founders in our own community. For each cohort, VCU works to identify entrepreneurs that are current founders who have successfully raised capital...