Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Students work late into the night at eHub.

November 12, 2017

‘Literally Endless’ Resources Help Support Student Startups

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Colby Triolo ’19 is one of hundreds of students running a startup at Cornell, and she remembers the “very second” the idea for her startup came to her.

After suffering from post-concussion syndrome for almost two years, Triolo had her first headache free day in 724 days. Two weeks later, she was in the car with her dad explaining how she overcame her condition and was back to exercising. While talking about it she said the words “You make you,” and they both knew that this slogan was something that “needs to be shared.”

Flash forward three years and YouMakeYou® is now the name of Triolo’s startup, which focuses on happiness, healthiness and fitness.

Triolo said the entrepreneurship resources available to her at Cornell are “literally endless,” and for good reason. Entrepreneurship at Cornell — a university-wide program offering entrepreneurship services, programs and resources — offers robust support to aspiring student entrepreneurs like Triolo.

“What I think is amazing about it is that anyone can get involved, you just have to take the first step,” Triolo said. “I have learned that anyone,whether it be a professor or Cornell entrepreneur alum, is so happy to sit down with anyone and chat. If you are willing to put yourself out there, yes there are many resources.”

Cornell supports student entrepreneurs through programs such as eLab, which aims to help students juggle both their startups and school work at the same time. Triolo said eLab helps students by giving them school credits to work on their startups and helping them develop their startups through boot camps and coaching meetings.

In 1980, Donald Berens ’47 and Margi Berens ’47 created the Berens Professor of Entrepreneurship. Since then, additional donations and endowments has allowed Entrepreneurship at Cornell to expand into a campus-wide program governed by the deans of the 12 participating Cornell schools and colleges in 2014.

In 2016, Entrepreneurship at Cornell opened up two eHub locations, one in Kennedy Hall and another in Collegetown, to create a space for collaboration and entrepreneurship skills.

“eHub is our dedicated space for entrepreneurship where students are coming together to connect and develop their ideas. With over 15,000 square feet of open co-working space, it is the place to find other entrepreneurial students and pursue your project or venture,” said William Larkin ’14 of Life Changing Labs.

As of right now, there are over 4,000 registered eHub members.

“Many of our key entrepreneurship programs and initiatives take place in eHub including the eLab accelerator, Life Changing Labs, hackathons and more,” Larkin said. “Over the past four months alone, there have been a total of 277 events which include venture/project meetings, entrepreneurial club meetings, entrepreneurship workshop and classes, office hours, plus more.”

Cornell has expanded the entrepreneurial mindset beyond its undergraduate students to graduate students by launching Cornell Tech, which offers many different master programs, Ph.D.s, postdoctoral programs and a studio program.

Triolo participated in a three day hackathon from Nov. 3 to 5 and is now on the hackathon’s leadership board.

“The tools and resources gained in the three days are incredible and irreplaceable,” Triolo said. “You essentially build an idea from just that, a thought, to a full fledged product with business plan in 72 hours with the guidance of experienced entrepreneurs.”

Open to students and alumni, Life Changing Labs empowers the Cornell startup community in an eight-week long summer incubator program. During the program, each startup can receive mentorship from entrepreneurs and advisors and resources up to $100,000 in value.

Cornell Entrepreneurship Club president Peter Cetale ’19, who co-founded the app Religio at Cornell, met his chief technology officer Albert Caldarelli ’19 during his freshman year and, through Life Changing Labs, was able to create a development team.

“I would just say there are a lot of organizations on campus that can ease the balance for startup and school. An example would be the Cornell marketing organization that frequently works with startups to do customer discovery, marketing and public relations,” Catale said.

“I think it does a great job. I think it’s really necessary now to have incubator programs. You see a lot of businesses that are growing. I think it’s very smart that Cornell is doing things along these lines to allow these companies to grow very rapidly,” Cetale said.