Letter to the Editor: The Garage is a valuable resource to student start-ups

We were disappointed by the story and headline of the February 12 story that ran in The Daily Northwestern’s Monthly issue, “The Garage lacks resources after founders graduate, allowing many to fail” featuring our quotes. When a Northwestern student reaches out to talk about our different experiences at The Garage, we want to help with the hope that we can inspire more students to start companies during college. 

It was frustrating to feel like the writer mischaracterize our perspectives and cast a negative light on The Garage, when our experiences with the organization were one of the most valuable parts of our college careers. We feel it is important to express our disagreement with the headline and characterization of The Garage in the article.

As advocates for greater inclusion and equity in entrepreneurship, it saddens us to think that this article has distorted our stories in a way that may discourage aspiring student entrepreneurs from accessing the incredible resources The Garage has to offer.

Today, we are both working on our own companies — Sarah is the co-founder of Mistro and Sam is the founder of Bossy Chicago. Sarah and her co-founder, another alum of The Garage, have raised a pre-seed round of capital thanks in part to connections made through The Garage, and are working out of The Garage San Francisco space. Sam is working fulltime as a founder of Bossy Chicago in the city with a sustainable business model.

When we spoke with The Daily Northwestern over three months ago, The Garage San Francisco was still in development — and we would’ve spoken about the endeavor. Mike Raab, Director of The Garage San Francisco, has done a tremendous job building a community with Northwestern founders and investors in the Bay Area.

To say “The Garage lacks resources after founders graduate, allowing many to fail” or that the “resources disappear” after graduation, is inaccurate. The truth is The Garage is actively working to strengthen this community even outside of its immediate vicinity of Chicago, all the way in San Francisco. None of the incredible resources The Garage offered to us while we were students disappeared after graduation. In fact, every time we’ve contacted or visited The Garage since graduation, the staff and mentors there ask about our progress and continue to offer introductions and advice.

Failure is a part of entrepreneurship, and there is no secret sauce to success. Even the best

accelerators in the world can’t guarantee success — building a company is a very difficult process. What The Garage does is provide resources for student founders that are interested in

entrepreneurship to receive first-hand experience building a company. And there is no better time or place to do it than the low-risk environment of school.

Together, we strongly encourage any student who has aspirations of starting a company or working for themselves in any capacity post-graduation to get involved with The Garage while they are a student. We know they will continue to be a resource for years to come. No matter the fate of the company, the learning experience and resulting network pays dividends in the long term, stretching way beyond graduation.

— Sarah Ahmad and Sam Letscher, McCormick BS ‘18