Cornell eHub, a space where students with entrepreneurial ambitions can display and generate their unique business ideas, kicked off its programming for the academic year Wednesday, Sept. 6 at the eHub location in Collegetown with eShip, a pitch event for select applicants.
These applicants — Jonah Gershon ’24, Rachel Bonnet ’24 and Armita Jamshidi ’25 — had the opportunity to showcase their diverse ideas to judges Prof. Matt Marx, applied economics and management, and Zach Shulman, the director of Entrepreneurship at Cornell, a university-wide program supporting the entrepreneurship ecosystem that manages eHub, and compete for a $1,000 seed grant.
“I think that entrepreneurship at Cornell is a fabulous system,” said Nancy Almann ’83, the co-managing director of Blackstone Launchpad — a program designed to help university students with their entrepreneurial ventures. “I meet so many students with fantastic ideas, and I learn from them every day.”
Gershon won the seed grant with his product Spekld, the first brown butter stick product. He had previously won $20,000 in the inaugural Northeastern Dairy Product Innovation Competition, a competition for innovators in the dairy field working with products sourced from the Northeast.
“I’ve competed in a lot of pitch competitions,” Gershon said. “I’ve always placed in second or as a finalist, and I’ve never actually come in first place in one, and it feels good.”
Gershon highlighted eHub’s array of connections for accepted students. He attributes some of his success to the resources Cornell eHub has to offer.
“I’ve spoken to a few people who’ve been in [eHub] before,” Gershon said. “They get a lot of value out of the network and just being around other people who are involved in entrepreneurship who have their own startups.”
Cornell was ranked as the sixth-best university for startup founders by Pitchbook, with 826 founders and 772 companies coming from Cornell alums.
“Things have been very successful,” Shulman said. “Cornell views entrepreneurship as a cross-disciplinary sandbox where everyone plays together. When it comes to entrepreneurship, we all work together with a collective good, and that’s why Cornell ranks so high in my view.”
At the competition, Marx emphasized Cornell’s entrepreneurship minor, which has recently undergone curriculum changes.
“What we’re trying to do is get people educated on things like entrepreneurial strategy,” Marx said. “There are all kinds of things we want to teach people so that they don’t make the mistakes that a lot of entrepreneurs make.”
Marx said that the entrepreneurship minor has moved from 18 credits to 16.5 credits this year. He added that the minor aims to take a more hands-on approach with increased entrepreneurship activities for students.
“I would encourage anyone who looked at the entrepreneurship minor in passing to take another look,” Marx said. “There’s more course options, and it’s not just sitting in the classroom — it’s more action learning.”
Marx also encouraged students interested in entrepreneurship to look out for more opportunities at eHub.
“For eHub in particular — for people who have an idea and want a dedicated place to work on it, this place is fantastic,” Marx said.
Anthony Nagle ’27 is a Sun contributor and can be reached at [email protected].