By: Lyndsey Taylor
Technology Entrepreneur Center (TEC) and University of Illinois alum Eric Berthene is a travel junkie with a social entrepreneur’s spirit.
After studying abroad in Poland and traveling to the Middle East for a graduation trip, he entered the working world as a service delivery analyst at a consulting and software company called MatterSight.
Since returning state side, Berthene said he likes working for a medium-sized company, and describes the job as a combination of technical work and client interaction.
But Berthene isn’t just a service delivery analyst. He is an avid volleyball player, reader, Euchre league card player, and innovative thinker.
Since TEC and the Illini Entrepreneurship Network(IEN) sparked his interest in starting a new venture, he has been working on several startup ideas during his off-time.
One of his goals is to help improve education. The discovery of high numbers in student high school drop-out statistics fueled Berthene to begin working on a venture to help resolve the issue.
“I’ve been so grateful to have friends that think critically about it (the startup idea) and give suggestions to improve it.”
Although he said it seems like a big issue to tackle, Berthene’s engineering spirit pushes him to refine his ideas.
Berthene said he never thought about pursuing entrepreneurship until his involvement with TEC and IEN, but once his creative gears began to turn, he became an active member on the TEC student advisory board, and competed in both the 2010 Cozad New Venture Competition and Idea to Product Competition.
“It was a good experience to go in front of people and pitch my ideas.”
He said taking entrepreneurship classes and gaining a sense of small business has “resonated” with him and the business-savvy knowledge has translated well into his career thus far.
“Everyone I met through TEC and IEN…I wanted to be like them and be around them. They were so innovative and just the right amount of revolutionary, but not hippies,” he laughed.
Berthene dreams of becoming his own boss and applying his entrepreneurship knowledge to his own company.
“Certainly in a perfect world I’d love to be my own boss for something for profit ideally that can sustain a comfortable way of life but also provide a service or product that really benefits society.”
He encouraged students to “be ambidextrous by using your left brain to solve problems in a novel way that only your creative right half could think of. It's easier said than done, but once you figure out how to leverage both parts in unison, it’s just a matter of time before the next big idea comes your way.”