NYU among top startup schools for women

Ludovica Grieco, Contributing Writer

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  • NYU Women of Entrepreneurship (WoE) Fall Meetup took place on Wednesday, September 30, 6pm – 8pm in the Leslie eLab.

  • A full room of students attend the event and connect with one another.

  • Cadence Daniels (left) and Pilar Harris (right), Co-Presidents of Women of Entrepreneurship at NYU, introduce the organization to audience.

  • A full room of students attend the event and connect with one another.

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A recent study published by Crunchbase shows that NYU is one of the top universities  in the United States for female startup founders.

The data collected shows that between 2009 and 2014, the number of women in startups has doubled, statistics that are reflective of a paradigm shift that is occurring in terms of gender participation in entrepreneurship.

Last year, Statista reported that women made up 10 percent of tech jobs at Twitter, and 17 percent at both Google and Facebook. When factoring in the total workforce, women had 30 percent of the jobs at each of these companies.

Part of Crunchbase’s research was focused on the role of female founders in startup companies throughout national universities. The study looked at over 3,000 female founders in the Crunchbase database whose startups have received funding since 2009. NYU was seventh on the list with 91 female founders.

NYU’s Entrepreneurship Institute was founded in 2012 in the hopes of providing the community with the materials and resources necessary for accommodating entrepreneurial initiatives. Chairman of the executive board at the institute Paul Horn said he is not surprised at NYU’s track record of nurturing female-fronted startups, given the opportunities that NYU affords aspiring entrepreneurs.

“It cuts across gender, across demographic groups and across fields of study,” Horn said. “We’re proud of NYU’s record of producing startups, and especially proud — though maybe not surprised to find ourselves ranked among the top schools for producing startups founded by women.”

Horn added that the Entrepreneurship Institute has many initiatives to promote startup culture. Yearly events such as the Entrepreneurs Festival and the Summer Launchpad Program are just a few examples of the significant investment the institute has been making in order to encourage members of the NYU community to pitch their ideas.

Lindsey Marshall Gray, director of the Entrepreneurial Institute, mentioned that half the participants at this summer’s NYU Summer Launchpad program had a female co-founder.

“There is greater interest and participation in startup activities at NYU than ever before, by individuals from all parts of the university,” Gray said. “Women make up a significant part of the growing NYU startup community.”

Although the institute does not specifically promote the work of women, it resulted in the creation of the NYU Women of Entrepreneurship group.  This initiative began in spring 2015, founded by NYU students Cadence Daniels and Pilar Harris in association with the CAS Entrepreneurs Association.

“The mission of Women of Entrepreneurship at NYU is to build community and connect the dots between the campuses’ existing resources with a cross-university cohort of female innovators, makers and entrepreneurs,” Daniels said.

When it became clear that there was a large gap between the gender of entrepreneurs at NYU, Daniels and Harris were motivated to inspire the female community to bring the numbers to balance.

“This includes the coders, designers, entrepreneurs and business students across the schools,” Daniels said. Many students are not aware of the entrepreneurial community available to people of all stages of innovation and change, especially women.”

Currently, the group hosts talks and promotes startup ideas by holding conferences and meetings with the overall goal of motivating the entire NYU community. The resources available to students today have increased in the past few years, making startup founding more accessible for everyone.

Irene Ryabaya, an NYU alumna and the co-founder of female-oriented social media platform Monarq, said she’s pleased with the way that NYU has created an opportunity for everyone to explore their ideas.

“When I was a student at NYU over 10 years ago, I was a ‘developer’ and not an ‘entrepreneur,’” Ryabaya said. “I started our company Monarq with Diana Murakhovskaya earlier this year and was excited to learn that NYU now has an entire center devoted to entrepreneurship. It is lovely to see all the resources available at the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute, working toward empowering cross-disciplinary startups.”

Email Ludovica Grieco at [email protected]