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Office Hours

Working on a new venture and have questions? Get advice from peers and professionals on how to take the next step.  Areas of expertise include how to to “plug in” and get started at the Apex Center, next steps in building your company, and introductions to alumni-mentors.

About this program

Office Hours put students in a room one-on-one with peers or professionals to answer your questions about starting a new venture.

Office Hours are held on-demand using automated calendar scheduling through StartupTree.  Students book a slot and come with questions.

Meet our Experts

Benjamin Butler

Marketing Consultant – Startup Hokies

Ben Butler

Ben is a junior majoring in Business Information Technology (BIT) with minors in Data and Decisions and Digital Marketing Strategy in the Pamplin College of Business.  In his role as a Startup Hokies Consultant, Ben works with student startup teams on product messaging and copy writing.  He currently serves as an undergraduate data science researcher and as an Advising Ambassador for Virginia Tech Academic Advising Initiatives.

Ask Ben about:

  • Marketing Messaging (Features & Benefits)
  • Digital Marketing Strategies

Schedule time with Ben

Jonathan Kebede

Startup Hokies Ambassador

Jonathan Kebede

Jonathan is a sophomore majoring in Finance in the Pamplin College of Business. He has been a Junior Analyst at Commodity Investing by Students (COINS), where his role is to assist in investing up to $1M on behalf of the Virginia Tech Foundation for the nation’s only student-run commodity trading group diversified in futures-based ETFs, ETNs, and covered call options since 2020.  In his role as a Startup Hokies consultant, Jonathan works with students to help get started on their entrepreneurship journey with the Apex Center. He also currently serves as a Student Ambassador for The Morning Brew newsletter.

Ask Jonathan about:

  • Getting Started with the Apex Center
  • Plugging into the Startup Hokies Community
  • Creating a new profile in Startup Tree

Schedule time with Jonathan

Rida Ali

Startup Hokies Marketing Consultant

A sophomore at Virginia Tech studying Business Information Technology, a member of Collegiate Women in Business and a member of the VT Honors College. Highly motivated and experienced in leadership within the school community. Interested in earning technical and interpersonal skills to pursue business ventures.

Ask Rida about:

  • Getting Started with the Apex Center
  • Plugging into the Startup Hokies Community
  • Creating a new profile in Startup Tree

Schedule time with Rida

Robert Lalayan

General Consultant

Robert is a junior majoring in Business Administration and Management in the Pamplin College of Business. In his role as a Startup Hokies Consultant, he works with student founders to connect with Apex Center programs and resources.

Ask Robert about:

  • Programs
  • Funding opportunities

Schedule time with Robert

Questions?  Don’t see who you are looking for?  Swing by our co-working space at 432 North Main Street in Blacksburg,  Email us or give us a call (540)231-1328

Schedule Office Hours:

  1. View profiles of our Startup Hokies student consultants below
  2. Click the “schedule time” link to reserve a 30 minute session
  3. It’s fast, easy and free!

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