Growing Entrepreneurs

By Emily Ayshford


ow to tell stories. How to think. How to connect with people.
When young alumni entrepreneurs look back at their time at Illinois Tech, these lessons are what they remember and value most about their time at the university.

Certainly, the seeds of entrepreneurship were planted in their minds as students, but they were cultivated by professors who encouraged them to become lifelong learners who take risks. To become thinkers who not only trust their intuitions, but act on them. To become entrepreneurs who get out of their comfort zones to take a leap.

“What really matters is trying to push your boundaries,” says Tiger Safarov (AE ’10), founder of ZenSupplies, who tells students to use their time at Illinois Tech as their “personal experience lab.”

“Try to tell someone, ‘Let’s go have a beer, or let’s go for a run.’ See how much you can talk to people,” he says. “That’s the learning experience.”

These four alumni entrepreneurs did just that, taking their experience in construction management, architecture, design, and computer science and turning it into products, software, and services that not only have found their niche markets but have done so with a grounding in their founders’ life philosophies.