Center for Entrepreneurship leader named local ‘Millennial on the Move’
Lynchburg Business Magazine recently honored Liberty University Center for Entrepreneurship Program Administrator Alexandru Barker as one of its 2018 “Millennials on the Move” in recognition of his role in training up the next generation of business shakers.
Barker started his career in law enforcement before recognizing his passion for entrepreneurship and joining Liberty’s staff to run the center.
At 24 years old, Barker has already dabbled in a number of areas of business, including real estate and some technology startups, including two involving drones.
Entrepreneurship, he said, provides “the freedom and ability to do what you want with the mindset to create and to change culture and change the world.”
“That is where I know God has called me, to change the world in some sense,” Barker said. “I know He has called me not just to start businesses but to really make a spiritual, relational impact in dealing with people and the startup community.”
And that makes Liberty’s Center for Entrepreneurship, which he joined earlier this year, a natural fit.
“This is a great opportunity to help make other people successful, to help give people everything that I wish I had starting out,” he said. “Even if I can just encourage students to get out there and do something, to be a leader and start this change, it’s valuable.”
The center works with students to develop their ideas, connect with successful mentors, and prepare them for marketplace success. The flagship program of the center is its Spark! Incubator, wherein students work one-on-one with a professional mentor for eight weeks. During the program, they develop a business plan and sharpen a pitch to investors. Each semester, participants take part in a pitch-off where they have the opportunity to earn startup money for their idea.
“The goal is to drive students to express entrepreneurship and innovation throughout campus,” Barker said.
Programs develop based on student needs and interests. Because many students have expressed interest in starting their own restaurants and food trucks, the center is developing a specific incubator focused on the food industry. This fall, Barker will begin offering opportunities for online students to connect. Also, each Monday during the academic year, aspiring entrepreneurs are invited to networking events where they can interact with one another and meet local leaders.
At the end of the day, the goal is to help Liberty students make a positive impact on the world.
“The ultimate goal is to prepare students for success — in whatever they do, whether they go get a job, they start a company and create jobs, or they have the next big ‘Facebook idea,’” Barker said. “Entrepreneurship is helping people, solving problems, and changing the world, and that’s what we focus on here with the students. We ask: ‘Where do you see yourself in that picture?’ And then, ‘How can we help you get there? What are the things you need to do to get that real-world experience to get the knowledge?’”
The resources that the center offers — all free of charge — give students a leg up as they launch their careers, helping Liberty fulfill its mission to impact the world with Champions for Christ in every profession.