More than 300 students visited eHub in Collegetown Sept. 6 for the annual Entrepreneurship Kickoff, learning about a revamped minor, hearing students pitch their businesses and connecting to staff representing more than 20 campus resources.
“Our kickoff event always offers a vivid example of how much entrepreneurial energy exists on our campus,” said Zach Shulman ’87 J.D. ’90, director of Entrepreneurship at Cornell. “Students come away with so many connections to help them learn about our entrepreneurship ecosystem or move their business ideas forward.”
Cornell was recently ranked by Crunchbase as the No. 6 top school in the country for producing entrepreneurs who have raised capital, and the No. 1 university in New York State, said Matt Marx, the Bruce F. Failing, Sr. Professor of Personal Enterprise in the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, part of the SC Johnson College of Business.
“This place is an entrepreneurial powerhouse,” Marx told students at the event, as he also explained updates to the entrepreneurship minor, which is open to undergraduate students in any college. “When you walk around campus, you can think, one out of seven people here will become an entrepreneur someday.”
The event also included a pitch contest among three student businesses, with the winner earning automatic admission into eLab, Cornell’s student business accelerator for both undergraduate and graduate students.
Jonah Gershon ’24, a student in the Nolan School of Hotel Administration, won the pitch contest with his product, Spekld, a form of brown butter that can be purchased in a stick similar to traditional butter.
Gershon was a winner in the Northeastern Dairy Product Innovation Competition last spring and worked over the summer to refine his product, selling out in three hours at a popup stand this summer and finalizing a packaging design.
“I feel like I’ll gain so much from the networking aspect of eLab and from being around other people working on their business ideas,” Gershon said. He’ll also be working with the Cornell Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture in Geneva this semester, developing a production plan, he said.
Harmony Prado ’24, a student in the Dyson school, and her business partner Richlove Nkansah ’26, a student in the College of Arts & Sciences, came to the event to spread the word about their business, Harmony’s Room, a digital mental health platform that connects high school students to mental health professionals of color and culturally competent resources.
They also found out that they’ve been admitted to eLab for this semester. “We’re so excited,” Prado said.
Staff at the event shared information with students about upcoming entrepreneurship opportunities, including hackathons, business idea competitions, mentorship through Blackstone Launchpad and Entrepreneurship at Cornell’s annual Eclectic Convergence conference in New York City.
To find out more about entrepreneurship resources on campus, visit the Entrepreneurship at Cornell website.