November 17, 2011

Johnson School Celebrates Entrepreneur Week

Print More

The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute at the Samuel Curtis Johnson School of Management celebrated its first Global Entrepreneurship Week at Cornell this week.

From Monday to Friday, budding entrepreneurs participated in activities, such as the 3-Day Start-up, a lecture series and the Fourth Elevator Pitch Competition.

“Every week is an entrepreneurship week at Cornell,” said Prof. Rhett Weiss, management, executive director of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute at the Samuel Curtis Johnson School of Management.

EII aims to develop and provide knowledge of entrepreneurship, networking and real-world opportunities, said Weiss, who will be attending the Future of Entrepreneurship Education Summit at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C., as a part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week.

“[EII] was seen as a missing element in entrepreneurship and innovation programming, and it provided with the ability to form a community of people interested in entrepreneurship,” Weiss said.

Weiss emphasized EII’s holistic stance toward business.

“From an academic perspective, what we try to do is synthesize what students learn in different classes and bring it together, so that they can holistically see how a business comes together and how it functions instead of just looking at one aspect of the entire process,” Weiss said.

He said that EII offers students networking experience, including opportunities to organize events and participate in competitions.

“Networking includes business plan competitions, pitch fests and idea competitions that give entrepreneurs the opportunity to mix with investors and technologists, who can actually help flush out an idea and even fund it,” Weiss said.

Other Cornell organizations, such as the BR Venture Fund, help fund new entrepreneurs to help them to grow their ideas, Weiss said.

“BR Venture Fund is the only student-run venture capital fund in the world. There is no other fund that is completely managed by students,” said Aaron Holiday MBA ’12, Chief Operating Officer and fund manager of BR Venture Fund.

He said that BRV has established a new vision that will garner recognition for the Johnson School for producing both venture capital leaders and entrepreneurial leaders.

“Although BRV has been around for 11 years, we are starting to plug ourselves in the Cornell community much more than ever before,” Holiday said.

According to Holiday, BRV has collaborated with EII, Entrepreneurship@Cornell and eLab to provide more entrepreneurial opportunities to students at Cornell.

“The eLab is an on-campus accelerator that helps undergraduates grow and commercialize their businesses. After eLab, they come to BRV for funding when their concepts are ready,” Holiday said.

Holiday said that EII and BRV worked together to build a relationship with an accelerator, Plug and Play, and are trying to create internship opportunities for the students at the Johnson School. Weiss added that Innovation Interface, which is affiliated with EII, provides students with the chance to become involved with consulting and solving innovation challenges.

“EII aims at instilling in entrepreneurs at Cornell how to recognize opportunities, and if they are still inclined, then how to capture them and take advantage of them,” Weiss said.

To improve entrepreneurial skills, BRV holds information sessions where people can learn about business opportunities and how a business functions. He added that the BRV established Cornell Venture Challenge.

“During CVC, which is a business plan competition, people all around the world affiliated with Cornell can present their business ideas to [BRV] and a panel of venture capitalists to compete for 10,000 dollars and being a part of our deal sourcing pipeline,” Holiday said.

Original Author: Manu Rathore