Riley Ennis, 20, is the CEO of a biotechnology startup, Immudicon LLC. In high school, Riley worked for three years on a cancer vaccine that teaches the immune cells of the body to recognize and remove tumors. Immudicon is focused on further research and licensing the cancer vaccine platform technology. Riley is currently a junior at Dartmouth College, where he is double majoring in economics and biomedical engineering.
We asked Riley what advice he would give to other young people who have aspirations in business.
Here’s what he said.
It’s hard work and there will be days where you feel like a failure, but you have to persevere and surround yourself with good friends who can get you through that and who will help to keep you on track.
No one knows what they’re doing
Even if one person says that your idea stinks, or you don’t know what you’re doing, or you’re too young, that’s just one opinion. Once you realize that there is so much to learn and that no one can know everything and you are comfortable with that, you can focus on bringing your own skills and knowledge to the table in order to make progress in your chosen industry.
You don’t have to wait
[When you’re young] you might feel like you have you wait until you get a degree in order to make something successful. There are countless numbers of young people who are successfully doing great things today. If there is something in the back of your mind that whispers, “I can and want to do this,” find the right people to help you, and get started.
(Riley’s comments begin at 5:13)
Teaching entrepreneurship to students
Entrepreneurship is one of the foundations of a dynamic market economy, as entrepreneurs are the risk takers and visionaries who help bring new and innovative ideas to the marketplace.
This lesson plan from the Kansas City Fed provides students with the opportunity to identify what an entrepreneur is and how entrepreneurship encourages economic growth and development. Students will have the opportunity to research the level of entrepreneurship present in their own county, evaluate the factors that spur entrepreneurship in their region, and consider how they might contribute to the entrepreneurial spirit in their community.
Do your students have a more advanced understanding of entrepreneurship? Challenge them further with these five pieces of business advice from Warren Buffet.