Entrepreneurship students connect at the launch event
Almost 300 students flocked to eHub in Collegetown on September 9 for a launch event hosted by Entrepreneurship at Cornell, where two teams of students were declared winners of the eLab pitch competition.
Agcess, a company focused on helping small-scale farmers access precision farming knowledge, and The Poool, which seeks to create coworking spaces for fashion designers, won the night’s pitch competitions. Each team won $ 1,000 and automatic entry into the ELab business accelerator, a one-year program offering classes, mentoring, coworking space, access to resources and legal services, and a $ 5,000 investment in the business for student teams wishing to develop and grow their own startups.
“I am delighted to take this opportunity to be with other student collaborators and learn from them,” said Somil Aggarwal ’22, one of the co-founders of Agcess, with Fernando Galvan ’25 and Khusel Avirmed ’21.
“We have great ideas, but as students we need some concrete advice from someone who has done this before,” Avirmed said.
Jackson Kwon ’22 and Beca Boudet ’22, both fashion students at the College of Human Ecology, want to create a makerspace for young fashion designers, who are often hampered by the costs of machines and studio space.
“Now that there are real people to help us out, I feel like the idea of the actualization process could be a lot more realistic,” Kwon said.
Along with the pitch competition, students attending the launch event could visit tables hosted by various programs, clubs and organizations on campus with resources for entrepreneurs, from Student Agencies Inc. to the Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship To Epsilon Nu Tau (ENT), a new entrepreneurial fraternity on campus.
Hannah Chadwick ’22, CEO of the fraternity, said she transferred to Cornell due to its entrepreneurship programs and was excited to learn more about the fraternity for students interested in entrepreneurship.
“A lot of our members haven’t started a business, but they have a real passion for entrepreneurship,” she said. The club helps students connect with each other to talk about their business ideas, as well as find alumni and other mentors to help them move forward.
Chadwick was joined at the table by members of the Mingyang Xu ’23 fraternity, which is starting a synthetic biology company to combat heavy metal pollution in soil and water, and Martin Stoyanov ’23, a student from a hotel school interested in travel and tourism applications.
“Entrepreneurship is more of a mindset,” Chadwick said. “You can work in consulting while being an entrepreneur; they are not exclusive.
Zachary Shulman ’87, JD ’90, director of entrepreneurship at Cornell, said he was thrilled with the participation in the event and the energy of the students, who continue to create ideas and businesses despite the challenges of the pandemic.
“Each year our launch event is a fantastic way to start the semester,” said Shulman. “This year was particularly special given that the 2020 kickoff was virtual. Nothing beats a live event when it comes to bringing together students full of entrepreneurial energy.
Kathy Hovis is an Entrepreneurship Writer at Cornell.