Got Your Back-Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship - Carnegie Mellon University

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Got Your Back

The room is so crowded that Kelly Collier’s business display keeps getting pushed aside. Alumni and investors have traveled to Carnegie Mellon to check out the latest entrepreneurial ideas on campus. It’s both friendly and chaotic as they circulate, asking questions of the start-up founders. Collier wants that attention. Accompanied by her lone display—a mannequin wearing the ReoveryAid posture training shirt—she pushes it back into the crowd. “I had to be a good little entrepreneur and be the center of attention,” she laughs.

Collier (E’11) is presenting at LaunchCMU, a day for showcasing research and entrepreneurship from CMU’s community. LaunchCMU, planned by the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), was established to help potential startups by offering classes, workshops, events, mentorship, and grants to students and faculty. At this year’s inaugural Pittsburgh event (following one last year in Silicon Valley), Collier is presenting at both components—the bustling Poster/Demo session, which she likens to “speed dating,” as well as the Showcase, where business owners give Ted-Talk-style presentations.

Three years ago, she never would have imagined being the CEO of her own company. At the time, she was pursuing undergrad degrees at CMU in materials science and biomedical engineering.

Deciding to tack on a business minor, she grabbed the only appropriate course that fit in her schedule—Intro to Entrepreneurship. She wasn’t even sure what entrepreneurship entailed: “I was literally Wikipedia-ing it on my way to class.” Dave Mawhinney, one of the co-founders of CIE, handed the class a worksheet: “Are You Cut Out to Be an Entrepreneur?” Collier completed it and was surprised she fit the mold; she didn’t mind taking risks, and she loved creative problem solving...Read more»

By: Jennie Dorris, Carnegie Mellon Today