7 Surprising Things I Learned from EO GSEA Studentrepreneurs

“I have discovered the Fountain of Energy for entrepreneurs: It is GSEA!”

– Roxana Shershin, US East Regional GSEA Expert

Need to reignite your entrepreneurial spark? Dive into the vibrant world of EO’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) and reconnect with the magic of being an entrepreneur. GSEA is the premier global competition for students who own and operate a business. Nominees compete against peers from around the world in a series of local and national competitions in hopes of qualifying for the GSEA Global Finals.

Are you an EO member interested in coaching your regional team of student entrepreneurs as part of Season 3 of Start it Up? Apply today.

We asked Roxana Shershin, an EO Atlanta member who has served as the US East regional GSEA Expert for two years, to share what she gained from the role:

One of the most rewarding aspects of my EO journey has been my involvement with the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards program, known as GSEA. I say rewarding, not just because I see this program as our way of helping to guide and usher in the next generation of entrepreneurs, but truly rewarding because I have found that I’ve gained so much more from the experience than I ever thought possible.

Here are seven surprising insights I’ve gained from interacting with these inspiring individuals:

1. It’s about passion

As someone who has been on her business-building journey for 12 years and working for many more years than I care to admit, I often find myself laser-focused on profit, scalability and simply managing a growing team of over 50 people. However, when I’m around EO GSEA competitors, I’m reminded that I started this from a point of passion. Embracing this passion-driven approach reignites a fire in me every time, and I think I’m a better leader for it.

2. Be fearless in the face of failure

It sounds like the title of a book, but I’m often in awe when I see how so many of these college students dive headfirst into their ventures, unafraid of the possibility of failure and resilient in bouncing back. And, yes, some may say they don’t have as far to fall, but I have found it to be a great reminder that failure really is part of the journey. Sometimes things work, sometimes they don’t — but you won’t know unless you try it.

3. Unconventional problem-solving

One of the most surprising insights I’ve gained over the years is the creativity and innovation displayed by college student entrepreneurs in solving problems. Whether it is a student creating a solution that I never even dreamed about for concussion detection, or a student tackling a traditional promotion business with a completely new approach leveraging AI, I walk away reinvigorated to attack problems with a fresh perspective.  

4. Eternal optimism

I’ll admit I’m a glass-half-full person out of the gate, but I recognize that the years have also created some amount of been-there-done-that cynicism. Despite the countless challenges and uncertainties they face, these students approach each day with an attitude of hope and possibility. GSEA has not only reminded me that there is always a reason to believe in a brighter future, but also it has made me truly optimistic about the future of our world as a whole.

5. Fountain of energy

I have found the Fountain of Energy, and it is GSEA. Seriously! Every time I walk away from meeting a GSEA student or leave a GSEA event, my energy tank is completely refilled. The energy and focus these studentrepreneurs have for building, solving, innovating, and driving is truly infectious. 

6. Bold ambition

Despite their limited experience and resources (both in time and money), college student entrepreneurs possess a bold ambition that knows no bounds. They dream big, aiming to disrupt the status quo and change the world. This audacious spirit possessed by every one of our studentrepreneurs is the true embodiment of our own EO core value, Think Big and Be Bold. 

7. Embrace technology

While not completely surprising, I am reminded that technology and entrepreneurship are heavily intertwined. Today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape requires us to be nimble and open to the possibility that what worked before may not work (at least not as well) in the future. Embracing the studentrepreneur’s tech-open mindset can help unlock new opportunities for growth and efficiency. 

I can honestly say that I’m excited about the future, as I know I’ve met future CEOs, successful entrepreneurs, and world leaders through the GSEA program. Their fearless approach to failure, unconventional problem-solving, passion-driven mindset, boundless energy, and relentless optimism have reshaped my perspective on entrepreneurship. I’m so grateful for everything that GSEA has given me as a mom, entrepreneur, mentor and leader.  

Don’t miss the chance to coach your regional team of student entrepreneurs as part of Season 3 of Start it Up: Apply today. EO members who want to participate in GSEA have several options: You can volunteer as a GSEA judge or coach, serve as a regional GSEA Expert, or even start a GSEA competition in your chapter.

Contributed to EO by Roxana Shershin, an EO Atlanta member who is president of Digital Additive, a marketing agency focused on delivering personalized one-to-one digital experiences for leading brands. Roxana has served EO as the US East Regional GSEA Expert since 2022. Don’t miss the 2024 season of Start It Up, a miniseries that follows the GSEA global finalists as they compete to win their share of the US$100,000 prize. Season 3 of Start It Up will air in June and July 2024 on YouTube and Waterbear.

For more insights and inspiration from today’s leading entrepreneurs, check out EO on Inc. and more articles from the EO blog

Categories: Coaching GSEA


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