Dieumerci Christel will represent North Dakota State University in San Fransisco
Dieumerci Christel, a management major in the college of business, was recently selected as a fellow for the National Public Radio’s summit which will be held in San Francisco on Oct. 22 and 23.
‘How I Built This Summit with Guy Raz’ gives student entrepreneurs from unrepresented communities the chance to meet successful leaders and network with them.
“In North Dakota as a whole, I believe there is about two to four percent minority/new American owned companies. This isn’t just a problem here, but a problem around the country,” Christel said.
“NPR has been very generous to bring us (minority students) there. They gave me a free ticket to attend the conference. Coming from an immigrant family, my family can’t afford to buy me a ticket for that conference.”
According to Christel, this opportunity feels like inclusion, a rarity for minorities. “It’s a way for NPR to show that minorities are building cool companies too.”
Minorities are often battling a lack of confidence while pursuing their entrepreneurial goals according to Christel. “Most entrepreneurs that are minorities start car shops or boutiques. They don’t think they can be the Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg.” Christel said. “For me, I had to go out and build from scratch. Not everyone has the courage to build from scratch.”
“I think that if you’re ambitious enough like I am and passionate about what you’re doing, you will go find it. If there’s a will, there’s a way,” Christel added.
Christel then explained the purpose of the summit. “To build a network of other founders who are basically on this crazy journey that we’re all going through. It’s like a network of going somewhere and learning with other people on the same journey so you don’t feel lonely. Sometimes entrepreneurship can be lonely,” Christel explained.
“They give you access to founders from all around the world so if you have a question, you can always reach out and ask them,” Christel said.
Concerning what he wants to get out of the summit, Christel claimed: “Meeting people is one of the biggest things. This fellowship will give me the chance to expand my roots. The second thing is learning. I love to learn and bring back to our community.”
This past summer Christel went to another fellowship in Hawaii. Since he is the president of the entrepreneurship club, Christel said he brought back what he learned throughout the week and taught his fellow classmates.
“You can go along and go fast, but if you really want to go far, you have to go with more people.”Dieumerci Christel
When talking about how the upcoming summit will help his future, Christel’s main focus was on the people he will associate with.”The biggest thing is networking. The people that I meet there are going to be people that I can always go back to in the future. They are going to be leaders, they are going to be in major industries, and they are going to be successful.”
Christel is the creator of Enlight, an app that helps teachers become more effective in the classroom by giving them the chance to learn more about their students. According to
“I’m looking to build my own job. My biggest passion is solving other peoples’ problems,” Christel said.
Currently, Christel is working on building an engineering team for his company. “I’ve built the business from the ground up, but now I’m looking for other people to join me on this adventure,” Christel said. “That’s the next step for me to build a team and actually execute. You can go along and go fast, but if you really want to go far, you have to go with more people.”
Christel is looking for computer science majors to help build his team.
Christel said mentors are not in short supply at NDSU referencing his “brilliant professors.”
“I have professors that I can go talk to. They have been there in my journey, they’re helping me push forward,” Christel said.
Scott Meyer, the executive director of entrepreneurship, was mentioned by Christel as being a mentor for his studies and work. Christel also briefly brought up the new Challey Institutes partnership with NDSU for helping him along the way.