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Meghan Plate

By | Entrepreneurship

Ready to be an Entrepreneurial Leader?

We recently worked with the Office of the Dean of Students to create an entrepreneurship track for the existing Medallion Program, a leadership training initiative.

Learn more about the Ain Center’s new track in the Medallion Program here.

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

Ready to be an Entrepreneurial Leader?

By Ain Center Staff

Being an entrepreneur means being a leader. It requires steering a group of people toward a certain vision while navigating inevitable pitfalls. It entails an understanding of and ability to implement frameworks to transform an idea into reality. It necessitates a rise to challenges, as well as the determination to learn from failure. Being an entrepreneur is more than monitoring profit and loss; the experience is about becoming a better version of the self.

This is why the Ain Center is excited to debut its new partnership with the Office of the Dean of Students’ Medallion Program. The Medallion Program is an initiative that “aims to educate student leaders by providing opportunities for intentional learning, self-reflection, and skill development.” Bolstered by a variety of training sessions, this is a professional development program that focuses on a student’s leadership skills. The Ain Center has collaborated with ODOS to create a new Entrepreneurship Track within the program to offer students a structured, entrepreneurial leadership experience.

The Entrepreneurship Track is designed for innovative-minded students who aim to deepen their leadership skills while assembling their entrepreneurial “toolkit.” The blend of leadership and entrepreneurship workshops – plus the culminating experiential project – will immerse students in what it means to be an entrepreneurial leader.

Fully integrated into the basic requirements of the Medallion Program, the Entrepreneurship Track provides opportunities at each of the program’s three levels. This starts with six entrepreneurship-focused workshops that fold into the required leadership workshops of Levels 1 and 2. These workshops cover some essential topics:

  • Team Building
  • Voice of the Customer
  • Learning from Failure
  • Business Planning
  • Startup Finances
  • Pitching and Storytelling

Ultimately, the Track culminates in a Level 3 entrepreneurship-focused experiential learning opportunity. This is shaped by the student and guided by the Ain Center. A sort of capstone, this is a chance for students to test out the skills they gain through Levels 1 and 2, and to actually create something of their own. This could be a range of things, such as making measurable progress on an entrepreneurial project or venture, or developing and delivering a workshop to support the entrepreneurial activities of the Ain Center. The flexibility of the Level 3 project will let students dive deep into what they’re passionate about. And, once the program is complete, participants will have a solid foundation to build upon as they continue to grow as an innovative leader.

Ready to learn more about the Track and get started on the program? Contact Matthew Spielmann, Senior Program Manager at the Ain Center, to sign up! 

By | Entrepreneurship

We Made it Through Spring 2019! [Part II]

A follow up to our first review post, this one sums up the rest of our fantastic events. Thank you for participating, congratulations to our 2019 graduates, and we’ll see the rest of you in the fall!

Read about all of the Ain Center happenings from the second half of spring 2019 here.

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

We Made it Through

Spring 2019! [Part II]

By Ain Center Staff

The mark of a great semester? We had to split up our review post! (You can find Part I here.) We are so grateful to have engaged students, faculty, staff, and community members who aim for constant innovation. We started the semester off with fantastic events and kept that momentum throughout the second half.

e5 Capstone Presentations & Poster Session

In April, we celebrated another year of the e5 Program, a tuition-free fifth year for select students to pursue an entrepreneurial project. Four students completed their e5 year and shared their findings at a presentation session. Here is a summary of their projects:

  • Alexander Abrams ’19 – Working with Mira Agneshwar, Alexander developed UR Next Step, a website to help students prepare for the next step after their senior year.
  • Max Berlin ’19 and Grant O’Brien ’19 – Max and Grant spent their e5 year working on Empire Film and Media Ensemble, a nonprofit designed to perform and record a film music repertoire.
  • John Uchal ’19 – John dedicated his fifth year to analyzing the practices and methods of musical instrument design, and brainstorming ways to leverage technology to improve the creation of these instruments.

Money Matters Workshop

Financials are a fundamental aspect of an entrepreneurial venture. UR alumnus Jack Greco shared tips on how to get started. 

Storytelling Workshop

The ability to share your venture depends greatly on building relationships. EIR and VC Kate Cartini offered advice on how to start.

Martin Babinec Lunch & Lecture

This spring we welcomed Martin Babinec to deliver the Spring 2019 Ain Center Lecture. Martin founded TriNet in 1988, serving as CEO for 20 years and now continues as board director. TriNet’s cloud-based HR services cover 17,000+ clients and generate $4B+ annual revenue. Martin is a champion for entrepreneurship and economic development in upstate New York, where he serves as Managing Director of UpVentures Capital, Founder/Chairman of Upstate Venture Connect, and Co-Founder/Chairman of StartFast Venture Accelerator. Martin’s background garnered excitement on and off-campus – more than 70 individuals attended his talk.

In addition to the traditional lecture, Martin and his colleague Phil Levinson (VP and Head of Marketing for EdCast) also spoke during an informal networking lunch. Members of the entrepreneurship faculty, the Simon School Venture Capital Fund, Simon Entrepreneurs Association, the Ain Team, and other guests joined Martin and Phil t0 discuss the nature of investing and entrepreneurship.

New York Business Plan Competition

Hosted on the UR River Campus, the New York Business Plan Competition Finger Lakes Regional Contest was held on April 10. Twenty-six student teams represented seven universities to vie for spots in the statewide finals. Three University of Rochester teams advanced to the Albany round and two of those took home top prizes on April 26. Our advancing teams were:

  • First Place in MedTech & Well-Being ($10,000 Cash Prize): Successful Heart Solutions – Vincent Costantino ’19S (MBA), Joseph Geiger ’19S (MBA), Yangyang Shao ’19 (MS) and Jonathan Yakubov ’19 (MS)
  • Second Place in MedTech & Well-Being ($2,500 Cash Prize): StrongBrain – Max Sims ’16 (BA and BS), ’19S (MBA)
  • Finalist in Technology & Entertainment: MyStohos – Arjun Arora ’19S (MBA), Steven Chew ’19S (MBA) and Michael Gounalakis ’18S (MS)
2019 Forbes Entrepreneurial Competition

A record-breaking 14 teams applied to the 2019 Charles and Janet Forbes Entrepreneurial Competition, designed to encourage undergrad engineering students to consider commercializing their research. This year, the five top teams were able to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges, including Ann Forbes ’75, Teddy Bradford, John Diehl, Annette Dunn, and Dean Faklis. Our 2019 winners are:

  • First Place ($5,000 Cash Prize): EZ Water – Afnan Ahmed ’21, Sara Anis ’20, Syed Muhammad Miqdad ’19, Claude Mulindi ’22, and Derrick Murekezi ’19
  • Second Place ($2,500 Cash Prize): WetWare Systems – Nicholas Drogo ’19, Andrew Kaseman ’21, Scott McKinney ’21, Oliver Ostriker ’19, and Bradley Smith ’20
  • Third Place ($1,000 Cash Prize): HORN Empowers – Terrikia Benjamin ’20, Emmanuel Gweamee ’20, and Aime Laurent Twizerimana ’20
2019 Mark Ain Business Plan Competition

Like the Forbes Competition, the 2019 Mark Ain Business Model Competition also received a record number of applicants. Out of 33 teams from across the University, just 10 were chosen to pitch during the semi-final round on May 2. Judges Annie Fitzpatrick Post ’06S (MBA), Jan Kamish, and Mike Kamish ’86 (MS) selected five teams to compete in the final round.

On May 15, those final five were given 10 minutes to share their idea with our distinguished judges, Mark Ain ’67S (MBA), Al Chesonis, Debora LaBudde ’92, ’93S (MBA), and Brennan Mulcahey ’09, ’11S (MBA).

  • First Place ($10,000 Cash Prize and Student Incubator Spot): Successful Heart Solutions – Vinny Costantino ’19 (MBA), Joe Geiger ’19 (MBA), Yangyang Shao ’19 (MS), and Jonathan Yakubov ’19 (MS)
  • Second Place ($2,500 Cash Prize): StrongBrain – Max Sims ’16 (BA and BS), ’19 (MBA)
  • Third Place ($1,000 Cash Prize): MyStohos – Arjun Arora ’19 (MBA) and Steven Chew ’19 (MBA)

We won’t be posting eLaunch content over the summer months, but we’ll be back with more stories, recaps, and student experiences in fall 2019. For now, we’re off to strike up new connections and strive for entrepreneurship programming ever better.

By | Entrepreneurship

We Made it Through Spring 2019!

Through exams, extreme weather (snow in April??), and exhaustion, we made it through the spring semester. While there were some trying times (seriously, though, the snow in April), the Ain Center had an awesome semester with all of you.

Read about the Ain Center happenings from spring 2019 here.