Growing up, Ifunanya Enezuagu never thought her path would lead to entrepreneurship. Before moving to the US, Enezuagu’s father owned a business in Nigeria, so, as a child, she was familiar with the dedication it takes to work for yourself. However, it wasn’t until after earning her undergraduate degree in sociology from Pace University that she began to question, “What do I really want to do – where do my passions lie?”
“Wanting to be in control of my life and my future is what directed me toward entrepreneurship,” she said. “It’s not just talking about what you want to do, entrepreneurship is actually creating your vision.”
Enezuagu is new to Towson University and will be taking charge of the Student Launch Pad (SLP), located in Cook Library, room 401. Although the SLP is not new, Enezuagu hopes to “add some juice to it” and take it to the next level. She hopes that the SLP will inspire networking between like-minded students, staff, and faculty and that this support system will remain connected after students graduate, when having connections is more important than ever.
Enezuagu sees TU as having a unique post just north of Baltimore and nestled in the DMV. “There’s a lot going on at Towson University,” she said. “There’s a really diverse group of students on campus.” She especially wants to reach out to the international students, who may not have previous connections in the Baltimore area. She believes that the success of the SLP relies on being proactive, rather than reactive. “Availability isn’t just about having an ‘open door,'” she said. “It’s reaching out and partnering with student organizations to spread awareness,” which is exactly what Enezuagu plans to do.
Entrepreneurial skills are important for everyone, not just those interested in starting a business, Enezuagu said. There are five main qualities that entrepreneurship teaches a person: leadership, service, self discovery, empathy, and teamwork. The latter Enezuagu added because, “unlike what most people think about entrepreneurship, it’s not about ‘I’ – it’s a team sport.” The service quality might be another that will surprise many. “Any idea or business should develop because of a need that the community has,” she said. “If the need is great, the business will be successful.”
This isn’t Enezuagu’s first role at a university. Previously, she directed courses at both Columbia University and Stanford University, where she taught leadership and innovation and social enterprise, respectively. She likes working with young minds, she said. “Change comes from the youth; they create the solutions to their current realities.”