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Meet the 2024 Student Founder of the Year: Jashin Lin of Growbie

Updated: Jul 10

Join us in congratulating Startup Boston’s Student Founder of the Year winner, Jashin Lin! Jashin is the Founder and CEO of Growbie. Founded in 2022, Growbie is the first career development platform for international students, utilizing a robust boot camp curriculum to develop their networking skills and unlock career potential.

We had the joy of speaking with Jashin to learn more about Growbie’s genesis story, her experience within Boston’s startup community, and more. We are thrilled to host Jashin as a Startup Boston Week speaker in September.

Startup curious or looking to expand your network? Register today to meet Jashin and other community founders!

SB: How did Growbie get started and what is your mission?

JL: Growbie stands for “GROWth mindset newBIEs”. Growbie is here to unlock career success for first-generation immigrants. We are the FIRST career development platform for international students that bridges the cultural gap, develops career readiness, and fosters a STEM talent pipeline.  We are focused on one problem, a problem that’s close to our hearts and have personally experienced: helping international students land their dream offers in America. There are one million international students in the US every year —  one million talented, motivated, high-skilled STEM talents. However, 80% of us leave the country after our education despite wanting to stay in the first place. Cultural differences, lack of network and career readiness skills, and regulatory challenges have shut millions of international students out of employers’ doors.

We are addressing this issue by focusing on a more efficient and unspoken channel for international students: networking. 85% of the jobs in the US are filled through networking, and yet we are still spending time submitting resumes online. Networking is scary to most international students due to language barriers and cultural gaps. But our team has dedicated our entire existence to mastering networking, from goal setting to follow-ups, step by step.

I first had the idea back in 2016 when I was graduating from BU's Questrom School of Business, but didn't know entrepreneurship was possible since no one around me was doing that. However, I have been helping international students in cultivating their soft skills for the past six years, after I had careers in banking, consulting, and tech. I feel like going to business school can help me launch my passion project into a real enterprise. Our goal in 2024 is to hit 3,000 paying customers and triple our revenue.

SB:  What is your favorite part of Boston's startup community?

JL: I am grateful to be part of several leading incubators' networks, including Harvard iLab, HBS Rock Center, MassChallenge, Visible Hands, and BU Build Lab. Boston is an education capital, which places us right in front of our customers —  international students! I truly appreciate the support and expertise from the community and how friendly and open everyone is to founders.

SB:  What advice would you give future founders?

JL: My advice to future founders is to start a niche, focus on getting traction through organic growth with content marketing, and always be networking. Starting a niche allows you to target a specific audience, making it easier to tailor your product or service to meet their needs and stand out in a crowded market. Prioritize organic growth by leveraging content marketing to build a loyal and engaged audience without heavy spending on advertising. Finally, always be networking to build valuable connections, gain insights, and open doors to opportunities that can help your venture grow and succeed.  


I also plan to start a reflection blog on my LinkedIn regarding entrepreneurship, give it a follow!

SB: What does this award mean to you?

JL: I am so excited and honored by this award. It signifies recognition of the hard work, dedication, and innovation I’ve put into my entrepreneurial endeavors. It validates my efforts in identifying a need, developing a solution, and successfully bringing a concept to fruition, all while balancing the demands of being a busy MBA student at Harvard Business School. I also want to give a huge shoutout to the community who showed up and voted for me; I really appreciate it. I hope to serve as an inspiration for other students with entrepreneurial aspirations. After all, how do you know if you don't try?

SB: How has Startup Boston been helpful on your journey?

JL: I love the community and the information that Startup Boston has curated. I read the newsletter every time! I will be one of the speakers at Startup Boston Week in the fall, and I look forward to meeting everyone interested in entrepreneurship.

Visit Growbie’s website to learn more about its incredible mission and services. 

Interested in learning more about Boston's startup community or getting involved in future events? Reach out to our team here, or sign up for our newsletter mailing list in the form below!

About the Author: Deanna DeFelice is an accomplished professional in the CPG sector. She is well-experienced with domestic and international supply chains and direct-to-consumer business operations. With a passion for mission-driven brand-building, strategy, and innovation, Deanna's current focus is on the FemTech space. You can connect with her here.


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