March 1, 2016
By Simar Malhotra
Conceptualized last winter, CNECT is a new online platform for student entrepreneurs to share ideas, present opinions and exchange knowledge about entrepreneurship across the world. Founded by Jasmin Park ’16, CNECT is now beta-testing, and essentially acts as a news-publishing platform, consolidating diverse ideas.
“There were so many interesting things going on out there, even outside of Stanford,” said Park, who had served as the branding point-person for BASES. “I realized that a single platform consolidating all these ideas and having different people talk about them together was necessary.”
After receiving a green light from the BASES administration, a team of people came together to build the platform. The following spring quarter had Park writing out proposals, after which she was nominated to be vice president of CNECT.
CNECT started as a Stanford initiative, but soon began collaborating with entrepreneurship student groups at Harvard, Columbia, Northwestern, USC and Syracuse. Each of these teams provides content for the website, incorporating diverse views and helping students from across the globe to engage in conversation about entrepreneurship and opportunities. CNECT thus forms a window into student entrepreneurship, allowing like-minded individuals to connect with one another and network. It also aspires to become a pioneer in providing news about entrepreneurship and become “a hub of information.”
There are three liaisons on the team who maintain dialogue with other universities.
“We are in our beta-testing phase right now. [All universities] schedule to publish at least five to six articles each week,” said Ribhav Gupta ’19, the liaison between Stanford and USC.
While recruiting members for the CNECT team, Park said that she took everyone she interviewed. Creativity and genuine passion were the two key aspects she was searching for, along with an engineering background to ensure that the website remained bug-free.
When asked about how individuals can involve themselves in CNECT, Gupta specified that people should start by reading, learning and presenting their opinions in the comment section. Park also asserted that they wanted CNECT to have a similar feel to Reddit, with a high degree of interaction but more structure.
“We’re still trying to have a [user interface] where it’s more conducive for people to talk to one another.”
Along with the website and iOS development, which is in progress at the moment, CNECT is considering a new program called Toilet Talks to widen their reach.
“The only time people actually have time is in the bathroom,” Park claimed. “This new concept would essentially serve to cultivate bold, wild, young and free ideas.”
CNECT, which is under the umbrella of BASES, works in a hand-and-glove manner with the entrepreneurship student group. BASES provides CNECT with interesting ideas to write about, and CNECT will, in turn, help BASES network with other entrepreneurship student groups around the country.
While Park will be graduating soon, she hopes to see CNECT develop confidence in its product and thrive well after her graduation.
Contact Simar Malhotra at simar ‘at’ stanford.edu.