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Some graduates diving right in to business

May 06, 2013   |   by Scott Kirsner   |   The Boston Globe

Growing up in Wisconsin, says Alison Stace-Naughton '11 Th'13, “my family always played card games, especially poker. And I was always the one who’d be all-in, the biggest risk-taker.”

So when she told her parents a few months back that she was planning to continue working on her start-up, Spiral-E, after earning her engineering degree from Dartmouth, “I don’t think it was unexpected, or a shock.”

Alison Stace-Naughton
Alison Stace-Naughton '11 Th'13

Leaping into entrepreneurship immediately after graduation, she says, is simply a way to keep her idea alive. After winning $25,000 last year in a start-up competition run by Dartmouth’s business school, she is now trying to raise more money to nudge a new kind of device for endoscopic surgery toward the market.

Stace-Naughton, 24, is part of what seems to be a growing cadre of recent grads choosing to create their own jobs after picking up their diplomas. One survey by Payscale and Millennial Branding found that those in the current generation of students, often called “millennials,” are more than twice as likely to start their own business upon graduation than any preceding generation...

...Stace-Naughton says that for now the headquarters of her medical device start-up remains the sofa in her apartment in Hanover, N.H. “We’re bootstrapping the company, while we try to raise enough money for clinical trials and the FDA approval process,” she explains, referring to the Food and Drug Administration. She says she might wind up taking a part-time job or seeking consulting work to make sure she can cover her rent.

But despite the financial worries, Stace-Naughton — like the rest of the Start-Up Class of 2013 — doesn’t lack for confidence. “It’s going to work out,” she says. “Entrepreneurship is kind of a personality and a lifestyle, more than a career. You just have to be willing to make it work.”

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