The Mark and Debra Leslie Entrepreneurs Lab, commonly known as the Leslie eLab, is an NYU space, where students and faculty can meet to develop their entrepreneurial skills and collaborate on their ideas. Washington Square News sat down with Remya Thomas, the communications manager for the eLab, to discuss the facility’s importance to the NYU community.
Washington Square News: What is the purpose of the Leslie eLab?
Remya Thomas: The Entrepreneur Institute [Leslie eLab] supports all students, faculty and researchers at this university — we have resources for students, faculty and researchers at all NYU schools and colleges. Essentially, if you’re looking to start a business [or] find a team member to work with you on your startup, this is the place you should be.
WSN: What resources does the eLab provide for its users?
RT: The eLab is a hub for students and faculty to come together when they’re trying to become entrepreneurs and want to connect with each other and want to work together. We provide resources, as in workshops and bootcamps; competitions and funding opportunities; [and] the physical space where you can come and work with your team or host meetings. We also support more than 25 entrepreneurial clubs around the university, coming from around more than 10 schools. They host weekly or monthly events here — it’s all free for the NYU community. We welcome anyone who wants to learn entrepreneurship and not just [those] starting a business, but [those who] want to expand their knowledge base.
WSN: What can the eLab offer the NYU community?
RT: Currently, we have initiatives known as the startup school, which is [a] semester-long workshop series that [is] open to all current NYU community members. Students can learn skill sets from foundations. So what are the essentials of building a business; then founders skills, [which is where] you learn Google analytics; Facebook ads and other specific skill sets; and also fundraising opportunities, as in grants that we have at NYU; competitions that you could be eligible for; and then other ways of raising seed funds for your startup.
WSN: Which clubs has the eLab already worked with?
RT: Tech at NYU, Bridge, EIA [Entrepreneurship and Innovation Association] are some of the clubs we have worked with extensively. Like I mentioned, we have over 25 clubs that take advantage of the opportunities here, and they come from more than 10 schools, so if you have not already come here, we encourage you to book a meeting or come and meet with any of us and learn how you can take advantage of the space.
WSN: What are some of your future plans?
RT: [One of] the events or initiatives that we have coming up that you should know about is the NYU Summer Launchpad, which is an accelerator program now in its fifth year. Essentially, we are looking for teams who have worked on their startup for a while and are ready to launch or scale up. The selected teams will win $10,000 in cash and no equity, will have access to 10 weeks of intense coaching program and startup bootcamps and then in addition to all this, they’ll also get $10,000 in benefits and products.
WSN: Why is the eLab important?
RT: We feel the Entrepreneur Institute is a critical addition to the university. As the largest research university in the country, which spends over $500 million on research, we feel our team can help the students and faculty who are coming up with great innovations. The Entrepreneurial Institute plays a big role in helping the NYU community in building the skills that they need to bring their products to market.
Email Polina Buchak and Natasha Roy at [email protected]