eLab reflects on first year


Calvin Falk

Leslie eLab, located at 16 Washington Place, is where NYU students who work to combat food insecurity Skype their counterparts at other universities. (Photo by Calvin Falk)

Tegan Mosugu, Contributing Writer

The Mark and Debra Leslie Entrepreneurs Lab celebrated its one year anniversary on Thursday to commemorate its accomplishments of the past year and inspire future entrepreneurial ventures. Two years ago, students with an interest in entrepreneurship did not have a place to call home on campus. However, that all changed in 2014 when the eLab opened in the heart of NYU’s Washington Square Campus.

The space was created to serve the needs of NYU’s entrepreneurs across schools and interests in the university. Moreover, the eLab acts as a connection between student, faculty and researchers. The goal was to design a space that fosters cross-industry collaboration between the NYU and NYC entrepreneurial community.

Freia Lobo, Vice President of Tech@NYU, attributes the lab’s creation and accomplishments to the work of Vivek Patel, co-founder of Tech@NYU. Lobo said the eLab has provided a much-needed space for students to have meetings, build community and also form friendships.

“Even in a year, we’ve seen such a massive difference in turnout, community and friendships within our club,” Lobo said. “Now, when people have a free moment and want to hang out with someone or work on a project there is a physical space they can go to.”

The lab organized 275 events within its first year of inception, with less than half organized by the staff of the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute. Students from nearly all of NYU’s colleges have used or continue to use resources the lab has to offer, and despite reports of a widening gender gap in Silicon Valley, 41 percent of the people who use the lab are female.

CAS senior Terri Burns, president of Tech@NYU, said eLab is the only space on campus where students can put their hands on startup initiatives.

“The lab provides a space for students to explore their entrepreneurial interests in a really organic and seamless way,” Burns said. “The lab was built specifically for people to work on, explore and share their business and startup ideas.”

Like many other students, Burns feels grateful for having the rare opportunity to test out new apps and programs created by her peers, and that such experiences help her learn not only as a student but also as a professional.

Frank Rimalovski, Executive Director of the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute, hopes that in the years ahead the lab will continue to expand its influence across the university.

“The lab will continue to endow students with the skills and perspectives on what it takes to build a successful startup,” Rimalovski said.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 14 print edition. Email Tegan Mosugu at [email protected].

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article referred to Terri Burns as a sophomore, when she is actually a senior.