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An Albright Entrepreneurs Village Adventure

Students visited Washington, D.C., in March to explore social entrepreneurship in the nation's capital.

Students from Albright Entrepreneurs Village stand in front of the us department of treasury

This spring, students from the Albright Entrepreneurs Village toured the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Washington, D.C. The annual Albright Entrepreneurs Village trip gives students real-world experience and allows them to build connections with fellow entrepreneurs and NC State alumni while exploring local culture. This year’s trip focused on social entrepreneurship by introducing students to organizations that put people at the center of their work. 

Several NC State alumni hosted the students at their workplaces. This gave students an inside perspective into financial organizations like the World Bank, the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Washington Area Community Investment Fund (WACIF).

Sarah Alenazi, an analyst at the World Bank, explained that the institution is one of the world’s largest sources of funding for developing countries. Sarah graduated in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and minors in business administration and leadership. Sarah is currently supporting the World Bank’s mission to reduce poverty, increase prosperity and promote sustainable development as an analyst.

At the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Outreach Manager Josiah Keilson discussed his work with the State Small Business Credit Initiative. The program helps banks provide business loans to populations that are typically seen as high risk, broadening the opportunity for entrepreneurship to people in traditionally underserved communities. Josiah, a former Caldwell Fellow, graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in economics from NC State.

Harold Pettigrew Jr, the CEO of WACIF, hosted the group at the Anacostia Arts Center where they discussed the mission of the organization. WACIF aims to  promote equity and economic opportunity in underserved neighborhoods in the Washington, D.C., region by practicing inclusive entrepreneurship, community wealth building and equitable economic development. Harold, an NC State political science and government alum, is actively working to provide assistance to low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color. 

And at Union Kitchen, a food business accelerator that boasts a seven times faster product launch than the national average, NC State student Jabson Aloma observed that “Success in a business is fueled by the impact of that business in people’s lives. A good illustration would be Union Kitchen that has achieved great success in a short period of time mostly due to the impact that their work has in their community.” Jabson is majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in business entrepreneurship and is a Social Innovation Fellow.

The trip also included a visit to the Georgetown Venture Lab, a dedicated workspace for full-time alumni entrepreneurs to launch and grow their businesses and Tahzoo, where students received interview tips from CEO Brad Heidmann.

Christopher Fields, a computer science student, said “My biggest takeaway from the site visits was getting to hear from a lot of different perspectives on how entrepreneurial skills can be used in different career paths. It was really cool to see how the advice that people gave was pretty similar, even if they were working in very different fields. It was also a good opportunity to learn professional development skills to help me shape my career as I look towards graduation.”

Trips provide experiential learning to entrepreneurial students and expose them to the entrepreneurial mindset, both at NC State and beyond.

The annual Albright Entrepreneurs Village trip is funded through the generous support of Andy Albright ’86.