Albright Entrepreneur Village students take the windy city by storm

Albright Entrepreneurs Village Chicago NC State

Haley Huie, Director
Albright Entrepreneurs Village

Chicago-style hot dogs are delicious. There, I said it.

With that incredibly important lesson out of the way, it’s equally important to highlight what a trip with the Albright Entrepreneurs Village (AEV) can do for students who are interested in building a network, learning about startups and small businesses, and those who want to learn to think like an entrepreneur.

albright entrepreneurs village in chicago by NC StateThis year’s annual excursion took us to, you guessed it, Chicago! The windy city is beautiful and friendly. We met incredible venture capitalists, founders and mentors in the startup ecosystem who shared advice and experiences with our village residents.

Being selected for a trip like this is competitive, but students who are chosen are involved in the village and are residents who actively want to learn more about the world outside the classroom — the opportunity is always there.


Our group included students from CHASS, College of Engineering, Poole College of Management, College of Textiles and represented extremely diverse majors.

What did students learn?

Personally, my favorite visit was MATTER because of my interest in public health and the medical space, especially in major urban centers. The demonstration of how someone leveraged the space to develop EDG Surgical devices and then the tour afterward was phenomenal,” said Ryan Will, junior in Communication, ‘19.

Touring hubs, makerspaces and incubators like MATTER helps students network with early-stage companies and founders who are using tools and connections that these incredible resources offer. Our trip group cited visiting companies, meeting new people and exploring as major highlights.


Our group was busy touring the city, eating every imaginable Chicago specialty and sightseeing when we weren’t networking with founders and business leaders. Learning about a place, another major market where our students may choose to build a career one day, is one highlight of traveling. We take our living-learning objectives seriously, we believe in high-impact experiences that held to mold and support future change makers.

Ayarah Dharanikota, senior in biomedical engineering and business administration ‘18, also walked away from visits related directly to her field of study, and those that introduced her to business leaders who inspired her.

“My favorite visit, by far, was Golden Girl / Glowout mainly because of the connection I felt with Jen [founder of Glowout and Golden Girl salons]”, she said. “The environment and the way she communicated her beliefs was so empowering and I felt like I could conquer anything.”

As a part of the AEV, we explore entrepreneurship, creativity and problem-solving in the classroom. Perhaps most importantly, we create opportunities for students to meet mentors, learn important skills and tour businesses and non-profit organizations to help them further their own professional goals. In 2017, we visited more than 30 companies through a combination of class visits, local tours of startups and through major trips.

NC State Entrepreneurship hosts annual trips to New York City and Silicon Valley, and the village includes an additional layer of trips and opportunities within our state and to other major cities.

And, you guessed it! Food, and fun are almost always included — but trust me on the Chicago-style hot dogs.

Other companies who hosted the AEV this trip:

  • The Pritzker Group
  • mHUB
  • Neopenda
  • 501 Strategy
  • 4degrees AI
  • MATH Venture Partners
  • Golden Girl / Glowout

To learn more about this living and learning community at Wolf Ridge Apartments, visit: