Students and alumni prepare for Entrepreneurs Festival


Students and alumni will gather on Feb. 28 at Tisch Hall to kick off the Third Annual NYU Entrepreneurs Festival. Spread over two days, more than 70 speakers from startup industries will share their advice and stories with attendees in over 20 different events. The event will also feature a showcase in which 50 student startup companies will showcase their products and companies.

Speakers and experts will lead panels, roundtable discussions and workshops. Three keynote speakers — John Johnson, co-founder of Buzzfeed and director of Harmony Institute, Glen De Vries, co-founder and president of Medidata Solutions, and Jeffrey Dachis, co-founder of Razorfish and founder of Dachis Group — will deliver talks on their experiences and give advice to attendees.

The five most popular student startups will move on to the pitch competition where they will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges.

CAS junior Billy Sustano, one of the students who helped administrators organize this year’s event, said the goal of the event is to recognize individual entrepreneurs, rather than businesses.

The festival is open to all current and future entrepreneurs — not just those involved in the technology industry, Sustano added.

“I want to encourage students from diverse majors to pursue whatever their interests are through creating their own company and project,” he said.

To help facilitate this goal, the leaders launched a social media-based branding campaign called “Stories” to draw attention to the event. Attendees and speakers were asked to share their entrepreneurial stories using the hashtag #NYUEF.

Frank Rimalovski, director of the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute, came up with the idea for the festival in January 2011 after he was a guest speaker at the first NYU ITP Women’s Entrepreneurs Festival.

Rimalovski started working with the student leaders of the NYU Entrepreneurs Network to launch the event. The goal for the first festival was to inspire future NYU entrepreneurs by having experienced NYU entrepreneurs share their stories.

“This year will be bigger and better, with a continued focus on inspiring NYU entrepreneurs, connecting and creating the entrepreneurial community within NYU, and continuing to create opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to build their skills and confidence to get started,” Rimalovski said.

Tickets are available online for $20 for NYU students and researchers, $50 for alumni, faculty, staff and non-NYU students, and $100 for the general public.

Julianne McShane is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]