bjorn-2-16_print-550?v=1

Rocket Pitch

An interview with William & Mary’s Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Center Director, Graham Henshaw, and Rocket Pitch Winner, Bjorn Shockey

The Miller Center is a collection of people, programs, and places that educate, inspire, and support students in developing the skills and mindset of an entrepreneur.

Graham Henshaw | Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Center Director

What is the entrepreneurship center (EC) and activities hosted there?

The Miller Center is a collection of people, programs, and places that educate, inspire, and support students in developing the skills and mindset of an entrepreneur. We started in the Mason School of Business in 2010, exclusively providing value to MBA students in the entrepreneurship curriculum and expanded to now serve approximately 450 students from over 25 majors. Our programs range from speaker series, skills workshops, competitions [Rocket Pitch], seed funding, incubation, mentorship, and connections for students learning about and applying entrepreneurial thinking. 

Why is the EC important to the greater Williamsburg community?

In 2020, we kicked off our official collaboration with Williamsburg, James City County, and York County through Launchpad Venture Incubator which is co-located with the new EC at Tribe Square. This partnership considers the “student” of entrepreneurial thinking to be anyone in the greater Williamsburg community who can make use of the tools and mindset of an entrepreneur. Our programming is even better with students and regional entrepreneurs’ side-by-side.

How can the community get involved and support the EC?

Local entrepreneurs can get involved at the Launchpad Incubator for co-working and full-time dedicated office space. All levels of membership allow access to Miller Center programming and resources. Local entrepreneurs, investors, alumni, faculty, and beyond contribute their time and talent to students and Launchpad members. Finally, the Center has an active capital campaign. More information about those opportunities is available by connecting with the Center's director, Graham Henshaw at graham.henshaw@mason.wm.edu.

Bjorn Shockey | Sophomore | 2020 Rocket Pitch Winner

What brought you to William and Mary and what is your degree goal?

I initially came to William & Mary to study Math and Physics. This year I switched to the CAMS major, Computational and Applied Mathematics and Statistics. After I finish my undergraduate degree, I want to get an MBA and work at my own start-up companies. 

What sparked your interest in entrepreneurship and how did you hear about the Entrepreneurship Center?

I think the process of bringing an idea from fiction to form is one of the best feelings in the world. Since grade school, I have been interested in product design and start-up culture. With the resources and time available at William & Mary I hope to finally act on my ideas and build companies around them. My friend on the College ultimate frisbee team mentioned his involvement in the Entrepreneurship Center’s weekly Rocket Pitch competitions. Also, I am part of a consulting group on campus called Tribe Innovation. Many of the older members attend the business school and recommended the Entrepreneurship Center as a good resource to help stimulate innovation.

Describe Lightfoot and tell us where the idea came from.

Lightfoot is a shoe cleaning product that uses ultraviolet germicidal irradiation to kill pungent bacteria in shoes. This idea came from a conversation with my dad about hospitals using UV-C light to kill COVID-19. I thought that if it were so effective at killing viruses and bacteria it could easily eliminate shoe odor. 

What are the next steps in developing Lightfoot?

I am going to start making prototypes as quickly as possible. With the William & Mary chemistry department I hope to optimize the bacteria-killing process. Then, using my findings, I hope to finalize a product that will save consumers time and money.

For more details and to support, contact Bjorn at bbshockey@email.wm.edu.

  • bjorn-2_print-300?v=3
  • bjorn-2-9_print-300?v=1
  • bjorn-2-16_print-300?v=1

Related Businesses

Non-profit

Wood, William E & Associates

Virginia Beach, VA

Load More

Related Articles

Load More