Alumnus Joe Nigro credits the University for preparing him for the real world.

“Suffolk provided me with the ‘book smarts’ to understand the complexities of entrepreneurship and, more importantly, the ‘go-out-and-do-it’ type of mentality,” said Nigro, the business development manager of Vsnap, a company that makes it easy to send short video messages as a more personal alternative to email.

Nigro is making a name for himself in the startup industry and spoke recently at a roundtable discussion before the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship in Washington, D.C.

He was invited to testify in a session on Perspectives from the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: Creating Jobs and Growing Business through Entrepreneurship.

“This opportunity reconfirmed that the men and women on Capitol Hill are serious about better understanding the entrepreneurial ecosystem and how best to implement legislation that will help startups on many levels,” said Nigro, who earned a BS in Business Administration at the Sawyer Business School in 2008.

Nigro said he is pleased that Congress supported a Crowdfunding Bill, signed into law in April, that would allow the general public to invest in startup companies over the Internet. Washington is “taking the time to better understand the needs and wants of us entrepreneurs,” he said.

The committee hearing included stakeholders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, including universities and entrepreneurship programs, investors, incubators, mentors, and successful entrepreneurs. The goal was to solicit input and determine the efficacy of policies now in place as well as to identify new ideas or best practices that can be implemented at the federal level.

Nigro said that entrepreneurship has changed considerably over the years, from the bricks and mortar of the Industrial Revolution to the age of the Internet, which offers a platform for anyone around the world to create and be rewarded.

“While we have seen two extremes in what defines entrepreneurship, the mentality is still the same – create a good service or product that provides great value to the consumer,” he said.

At Vsnap, Nigro is determined to provide consumer-facing businesses with a simple tool to engage people in a more personal way.

“Our team is very passionate about educating the public on the movement from text-based communication over to video engagement,and how this new behavior impacts the day-to-day lives of consumers and businesses all around the world,” said Nigro.

Looking back at his days at the University, he sang the praises of Stephen McDonald and George Moker, teachers who not only inspired him, but also taught him to realize the importance of data and implementation.

“They never accepted average,” he said. “They expected greatness in many facets, and to a young man looking to do big things, they provided just the right mix of experiences in order to succeed.”