Students with an interest in entrepreneurship learned about all of Cornell's resources at the kickoff event Sept. 8.

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Yoga gear company wins entrepreneurship pitch contest

Pranjal Jain ’23 took home the top prize Sept. 8 in the eLab pitch fest, part of Entrepreneurship at Cornell’s kick-off event for the year.

Jain’s company, Pranam, will create a line of clothing for yoga manufactured by women in India using sustainable organic materials.

“I want to empower women and help them to understand the power of their identities,” said Jain, who’s a new member of eLab, one of Cornell’s premier student business accelerator programs. “It seemed strange to me that there’s a lack of yoga clothing companies in South Asia, which is where yoga began.”

Pranam’s line of clothing will be inclusive of all body types and identities, as well as beautiful and comfortable to wear, said Jain, who also founded a non-profit Global Girlhood, when she was 17.

“I’ve dreamed about this idea for two to three years, but last Sunday I went to an entrepreneurship workshop with Tiffany Norwood ‘89, the Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year for 2022, who has been mentoring me for the last year. I realized I wanted to be a part of this crazy community and make my dream a reality.”

Jain was one of four new elab company founders who pitched during the event, which also included a tabling session featuring entrepreneurial resources from across campus.

“The energy we see every year at this student-focused event inspires us in our work to help connect and expand resources for entrepreneurial students at Cornell,” said Zach Shulman ’87 J.D. ’90, director of Entrepreneurship at Cornell. “These students have ideas, enthusiasm and persistence and there are so many opportunities for them to grow as entrepreneurs at Cornell.”

More than 200 students flocked to the eHub space in Collegetown for the kick-off event.

Ragini Balachandran ’23 and Meera Balaji ’23 staffed the Cornell Venture Capital Club table. The group takes on projects with venture capitalists, many of them Cornell alumni, to help them make better investing decisions. Club members also work with VC portfolio companies.

“I worked with Kleiner Perkins when they were looking into a newer industry for them of dating apps and helped them explore what the dating app space would look like,” Balaji said.

Balachandran said the club helped her gain a new set of skills.

“I’m in mechanical engineering and this helped me transition into a finance role. Because of the research skills I’ve built up in this club, I can handle my career in finance, as well.”

Jake Jeramaz ’23 and Jack Lowe ’25 staffed the table of Epsilon Nu Tau, an entrepreneurship fraternity that began four years ago.

Their organization focuses on students who have entrepreneurial mindsets, whether or not they want to start their own businesses.

“We have events where people learn to pitch their ideas and formulate their presentations, giving them the confidence to do that,” Jeramaz said. “We have actual elevator pitches (in an elevator) so it’s very fun. We offer the tools if you want to develop an idea.”

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