Student Group Spotlight: Epsilon Nu Tau

Story by Jorge Martinez

It is no secret that the primary purpose of college is to serve as a stepping stone where one can be plucked and then placed into the mob that is the workforce. For many, it is a time of perpetual uncertainty. “Where will I end up?” and “Who will I become?” are questions as old as time.

However, there are some students on campus that look to assert a bit of will over their future. These students travel the same uncertain path as everyone else, but they are the ones actively looking to take the wheel. These students are entrepreneurs.

While entrepreneurs have always existed on any campus, Central Michigan University has become a place where this type of student can be well catered towards. A more specific home for where this niche of the student resides is in the registered student organization: Epsilon Nu Tau (ENT).

This organization is a co-ed entrepreneurship fraternity that is one of 11 chapters worldwide. The premise of the group is to provide a nurturing network of like-minded individuals. This means any student with any major, with some knack for innovation, has the potential to join.

ENT provides its members with professional development, idea creation and pitching skills to be the best entrepreneurs they can be.

In this tightly knit group, a pursuit of a business idea is not only accepted but encouraged. Members may not only meet good friends, but also potential business partners.

Fenton junior Alec Miller, current financial officer of ENT, is one of the next members looking to dive into his innovation. This summer, Miller said his plans are to pursue his startup “Kable Keeper” full time in the marinas of Florida.

Miller said this product is intended to facilitate some aspect of a boat’s docking process in a new way. Miller said, “ENT has always motivated me to be entrepreneurial and has always pushed me to pursue my business idea.”

Depending on the success of this summer Miller may potentially need to push schooling off in the fall, but he said, “ENT understands that.”

While not all members of the fraternity are currently invested in a startup or looking to pursue one in the very near future, there is a very rich pedigree of members who have already experienced some success in their ventures.

Saline senior Shannon O’Flynn, current ENT member, described how “members have collectively amassed close to $50,000+ in seed/competition money to pursue their businesses.” A notable feat considering the organization has only been on campus since 2013. The bulk of these winnings have come from members competing in Central’s very own New Venture Competition (NVC). This event is a contest for startups to attain real capital provided by various investors. ENT members have made an appearance in teams/businesses like High Hopes Hammocks, Forever and Always, Great Lakes Liberation Pet Food, Revolved Replication, RateGigs and Scrappy Technologies.

Highlighting Scrappy Technologies, winner of Best Technology ($10,000) in last year’s NVC, Grand Central sat down with co-founder Hailey Polidori, a Canton native in her last year at CMU.


Courtesy image of ENT members Bryan Caragay and Hailey Polidori at NVC 2017

What made you join ENT, and what have you gotten out of it?

Polidori said, “I joined ENT because I loved the people in how supportive they were of each other in the pursuit of entrepreneurship. These people were really out there creating things. My time in the fraternity has provided me with first-hand experience of what it takes to be an entrepreneur, and what it takes to be a leader.”

How would you describe your venture and how was it like competing in NVC?

“With Scrappy Technologies, me and my co-founder, Bryan Caragay, created an app called Guarded,” Polidori said. “We pretty much took the blue light phones on campus and made them more mobile. It is integrated with campus police, campus maps and hotlines to make students feel safer.”

She said, “Competing in New Venture was incredible. The entire day seemed like a rush. Winning some funding really helped validate our idea and get it kick started, but it was the connections we made through the process that helped us the most. I now have lifelong mentors that are quick to help with whatever I need. I think every student should take part in it even if they just observe.”

How is it being a full-time student and working on a venture, and why do you think more students should know about ENT the entrepreneurship program as a whole?

“Being a full-time student and working on a venture can be chaotic,” Polidori said. “It gets hard sometimes to focus on both, but the fraternity helped me a lot with that. Having a network of people checking in on me and looking for progress definitely helps me stay motivated. The entrepreneurship professors also helped me. It was in an entrepreneurship class that my partner Bryan, came up with the idea. From there everyone in the department has been super helpful and always willing to take an hour out of their day to help answer any questions we have.”

She said, “More students should know about ENT and the entrepreneurship program as a whole because the potential for networking is incredible. The professors care about their students and watching their ventures succeed. ENT provides a supportive group of individuals and lifelong friends. I love learning from my brothers and watching their ventures grow.”

Courtesy image of ENT members after NVC 2017.

Polidori said the backbone of this fraternity relied heavily on the support of the entrepreneurship department on campus. CMU is only one of 20 Midwest schools to offer a 4-year bachelor degree in entrepreneurship according to

CMU is also one of the very few schools to offer an online masters program in entrepreneurship. The department is lead by Jeff Thomas, a Harvard Law graduate who has spent the last couple of years sprouting entrepreneurship programs all over the country.

O’Flynn said, “The entrepreneurship program is set up in a way where you learn to identify a problem or a need in a market in your early classes. Later on, you learn what it takes to fill this needs, whether it be finding funding or overcome legal obstacles. By the time you get to your capstone you are theoretically able to create your business.”

ENT is a nurturing group on campus for all those that see themselves as a dormant or active innovator. Next week on April 11, Epsilon Nu Tau is sponsoring a speaking event in UC room 302 at 6 pm. CEO of Phobio and CMU alumn, Stephen Wakeling, will be discussing his experience in starting a multi-million dollar company.