Northeastern Receives Student Engagement Award for Mosaic Network

When Hanna Elzaridi started her freshman year in 2019 at Northeastern in London, the idea of ​​starting a company was just a dream. Two years later, that dream has become a reality: Elzaridi co-founded SOAR Vending, a protein powder and sports supplement vending machine venture, with her best friend, fellow Northeastern student Chloe Welch.

Together, Elzaridi and Welch have taken SOAR from just a concept to a prototype that, on its first day at Marino Recreation Center, sold out within six hours. However, they were not alone –– at every step they had a little help from Mosaic, Northeastern’s network of student-led entrepreneurship organizations. Only by working with other young entrepreneurs across the Mosaic network was SOAR Vending able to take flight, Elzaridi said.

“Honestly, without the support of the organizations we’ve worked with we could not have done this, in terms of spacing, in terms of financial support, in terms of overall moral support,” Elzaridi said.

On Friday, Northeastern was honored with an Excellence in Student Engagement Award at the Deshpande Symposium’s Awards for Excellence in Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Mosaic. Chris Wolfel, director of entrepreneurship at the Roux Institute a Northeastern and one of the faculty overseeing Mosaic, said the award is a recognition of the hard work students have put into their various organizations.

Mosaic was really born out of the university recognizing that empowering students to build their own entrepreneurial networks to support other entrepreneurs was a huge component not only to an experiential learning piece but also just an incredibly fun and impactful way for students to work with one another , ”Wolfel said.

Mosaic includes 11 student-led organizations from Generate to Scout, a student-run design studio. Each organization is hosted within one of Northeastern’s colleges. For example, Scout sits in the College of Arts, Media and Design, while IDEA, a student-led venture accelerator, is hosted by the D’Amore McKim School of Business.

However, the real magic of Mosaic occurs when entrepreneurs like Elzaridi collaborate with several different organizations to boost their ventures. As a business management and entrepreneurship student, Elzaridi had no clue how to re-engineer a vending machine –– but the students in Generate did. Now, Generate is developing a new dispensing mechanism for SOAR’s prototype.

“They’re super excited about building something, and we’m super excited to be getting someone to build it,” Elzaridi said. “It’s a good relationship.”

Elzaridi and Welch also received gap funding for SOAR by participating in WeLaunch, an accelerator for female and non-binary entrepreneurs put on by the Women’s Interdisciplinary Society of Entrepreneurship, another Mosaic organization.

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