Entrepreneurship Is the Watchword

By Cara Deshaies and Lindsey Howe

Established in 2014, the Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE) is designed to inspire, educate, and launch the next generation of creative musicians and entrepreneurs. BerkleeICE provides students with innovative courses, workshops, and weeklong intensive programs, research projects, sponsored internships at industry-leading companies, and access to physical space for the development of new ideas, which is called the BerkleeICE Incubator.

Sonicbids founder and managing director for BerkleeICE, Panos Panay '94, observes, “As creativity, business, and technology converge, entrepreneurs need to increasingly think like artists, and artists need to cultivate their instincts as entrepreneurs.”

Lectures and numerous events held throughout the year by BerkleeICE allow students the inspiration and resources they need to think like entrepreneurs. This past January, students traveled to Silicon Valley to visit industry titans such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Apple. On this inaugural trip, students were exposed to a range of career possibilities in the technology sector.

Berklee alumni were well represented at many of the companies, and one of the highlights was meeting Mike Cassidy '97, vice president and project lead for GoogleX Project Loon, a project that provides Internet access to remote areas. “I learned more about creative thinking at Berklee than I did at Harvard Business School,” Cassidy says, referencing the time he spent studying jazz piano at Berklee and his graduate work at Harvard.

BerkleeICE is also a partner with Brown University's Leadership Institute in the Creative Entrepreneurship Summer Program. This pre-collegiate experience merges curriculum from Brown and Berklee with hands-on leadership and innovation practices for students ages 15 to 17 from across the globe. It deploys music as the metaphoric language for entrepreneurial thinking, and features workshops and lectures from renowned music professionals, innovators, and entrepreneurs in the fields of technology, business, and art. Upon completion of the 10-day program, students receive a certificate from both Brown University and Berklee.

The institute is expanding another sponsored initiative: the BerkleeICE Ambassadors Intern Program. This opportunity pairs Berklee undergraduate and graduate students with sought-after employers in the creative and technology industries, including electric car manufacturer Faraday Future, video game publisher Harmonix, and BMW 7 series audio system designer Bowers & Wilkins.

Through the generosity of our donors, the college is able to offer support for these internships and other BerkleeICE initiatives. We thank Len and Mary Anne Baker, Mike Cassidy, John and Stephanie Connaughton, Mike and Laura Dreese, Jim and Audrey Foster, Stefan and Sonchu Gavell, Caren and Dan Harple, Michael and Cynthia Malone, and Tania Zouikin for their support of this forward-looking program.

“The mission of BerkleeICE is to broaden the value of a music degree, to give our students the tools, skills, mindset, and networks needed to succeed in their careers, irrespective of path,” Panay says.

For more information or to support the BerkleeICE program, contact Beverly Tryon at (617) 747-2660 or via email at btryon@berklee.edu.