Twenty-year-old Vincent Lepore has never set foot on a plane. But that’s about to change this summer.
With an expedited passport in hand, Lepore is flying to Germany to participate in a highly selective global entrepreneurship competition called Journey Re. The competition is centered on creating new, innovative business models in the reinsurance market and is hosted by Hannover Re, the third-largest reinsurer in the world.
Only six young professionals, graduates, and students from across the U.S. were selected to participate. The U.S. participants were split into two teams of three and are both based in Boston. Lepore, a junior finance major at Suffolk’s Sawyer Business School, is the youngest on his team, which includes a Harvard MBA student and alum. His group is competing against the other U.S. team, as well as teams in Berlin, Dublin, and Johannesburg.
In July, Lepore will spend five days at the Hannover Re headquarters in Germany, where he’ll learn about the reinsurance industry and explore innovation methods around design thinking and customer centricity. Then he and his team will spend six months working at the WeWork incubator space in Boston, where they’ll develop disruptive ideas in the reinsurance/insurance industry. Each team will receive a working budget to create prototypes of their ideas. “We’re trying to find somewhere we can innovate. Technology will likely play a key role,” Lepore said.
Throughout the summer, Lepore’s team will meet periodically with Hannover experts and coaches from BearingPoint—a global business consulting firm. And then in December, they’ll go back to Germany and present their ideas to Hannover Re executives. The winning team will receive 50’000€, and the runner-up will receive 20’000€.
“This is such an incredible opportunity. I’m excited about learning—the competition ties into my major, and I’ll be meeting and presenting to CEOs and executives from a major global company. It doesn’t get much better than that,” said Lepore.
Lepore first heard about the competition from Francesco Daniele at Suffolk’s Career Development Center. He was applying for nearby internships when Daniele came across the opportunity. “Francesco thought I had a good shot since I recently won the Merrill Lynch competition at Suffolk,” said Lepore, who received a full academic scholarship to attend Suffolk. “I’m definitely a driven person. I always work as hard as I can, and I’m excited to take on this new challenge.”