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Saturday, September 6, 2014

BUSINESS NEWS | Cornell Named Top Ivy For Entrepreneurship 09-06

BUSINESS NEWS | Cornell Named Top Ivy For Entrepreneurship

By ANUSHKA MEHROTRA
Cornell has recently been named the nation’s “Silicon Ivy” by Forbes Magazine due to its focus on student entrepreneurship.
As a result of the University’s “entrepreneurial tradition,” Cornell received fourth place — the highest of any Ivy League institution — and the Silicon Ivy title in Forbes’ Aug. 18 ranking of the country’s most entrepreneurial colleges.
Student entrepreneurs from a variety of fields use University resources such as eLab and POPSHOP to pursue their ventures. (Dani Neuharth-Keusch)
Student entrepreneurs from a variety of fields use University resources such as eLab and POPSHOP to pursue their ventures. (Dani Neuharth-Keusch)
Student entrepreneurs at Cornell have access to a large network of resources, including eLab, Cornell’s startup accelerator and POPSHOP, a collaborative student-run workplace, the article noted.
eLab was established in 2008 by Entrepreneurship at Cornell due to a “growing need” to support Cornell entrepreneurs with their ventures, according to Peter Cortle, eLab’s program manager.
“Nearly 150 students have participated in the program,” Cortle said. “eLab largely provides students with guidance and mentorship — the program is designed to provide students with lessons they can apply right away to accelerate their growth.”
According to Cortle, eLab takes place over eight months during both semesters and gives students the opportunity to earn 5.5 credits while “pushing forward their venture.”
Cortle added that eLab seeks to recruit any student who has a strong passion for entrepreneurship and is not focused on any particular type of startup.
“[We are] focused on working with the right teams with amazing passion for their concept,” he said “With each [year,] you typically see a good mix of teams ranging from software to consumer products and everything in between.”
Students involved in startups also have access to the Student Agencies Foundation, the nation’s oldest student-run company and Life Changing Labs a Cornell-based startup network, among other resources.
POPSHOP, for example, serves as an “ideation lab” for Cornell, according to Jake Reisch ’15, a member of the organization’s steering committee.
“It’s a total catalyst for the university and offers a place for students to ‘do’ entrepreneurship rather than just learn about it,” said Reisch, who is also CEO of Party Headphones, a Cornell startup that provides headphones for silent discos.
Additionally, Reisch said he believes Cornell students have extremely diverse startups, reflecting the wide range of academic disciplines at the University.
“Cornell has a unique convergence of world-class schools in not only engineering, but also agriculture, hospitality and business — this leads to businesses in a range of areas,” Reisch said. “Our company designs and develops audio technology for group listening.”
Resich added that eLab was a “huge help” in launching Party Headphones, as he was able to earn academic credit for working on his startup.
Pujaa Rajan ’17, co-president of Life Changing Labs, said the company has given her the opportunity to “explore and experience” entrepreneurship.
“I find it hard to tell you what we do here at Life Changing Labs because we do so much,” she said. “[We] help Cornell’s best entrepreneurs and startups grow and develop from just a big fantasy to a bigger and better reality.”
Next Tuesday, Life Changing Labs will host Cornell’s first-ever Entrepreneurship Kickoff, featuring an open house, startup showcase and pitch competition with over $1,500 in prizes, according to the event’s Facebook page.
Like Rajan and Reisch, Rahul Shah ’16 said he has utilized Cornell’s resources to develop his entrepreneurial interests.
In 2013, Shah founded Speare, a company that he says uses data analytics to help news and media sites “engage” their audiences.
“We applied to eLab for a grant,” he said “They really helped us [grow] from a bunch of computer scientists with technology to identifying a business need in a news media space and apply that technology to learn and grow.”
The team currently consists of 13 Cornell students, according to Shah. He added that he thinks the most useful part of eLab is the opportunity to “take lessons” from other student entrepreneurs.
“The ability for me to have an active set of mentors on campus to help and guide me through obstacles and motivate me to go further is useful,” he said. “But, the most important thing about eLab … is seeing 15 other startups around you pull it off.”
The support from the Cornell entrepreneurial community has been a crucial factor in Speare’s success, according to Shah.
“I think that support network is the reason we still exist,” he said.