Category

Rochester

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

2018 Spring Review

By Ain CFE Staff

To build upon our busy Fall semester, the Ain Center launched a variety new programs and hosted a number of entrepreneurial events during Spring 2018. Below is just an overview of the competitions, talks, and entrepreneurial projects that happened this semester!

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Business Competitions

Throughout this spring, the Ain Center offered three competitions to entrepreneurial students. The first, held in April, was the New York Business Plan Competition – Finger Lakes Regional Contest at St. John Fisher College. Teams from six local colleges participated. Three U of R teams won their category – Humans for Education in Social Entrepreneurship & Nonprofit, Pollinate in Services, and Solid Cell in Clean Technology; they went on to compete in the statewide finals in Albany.

Second, the Forbes Entrepreneurial Competition featured seven student teams with a focus on engineering innovation. Among the winning ideas were an app to connect seniors, a textbook swap platform, and an entrepreneurial project in Liberia. The winners were:

  • 1st Place: UR Connected – Allen Chen, Krista Pipho, Brandon Smart, Hetince Zhao
  • 2nd Place (TIE): BarterOut – Vlad Cazacu, Zixu Chen, Duncan Grubbs, Annmarie Hamburgen, Luis Nova
  • 2nd Place (TIE): HORN Empowers – Maria Christina Gil Diaz, Paula Guerra, Emmanuel Gweamee, Amie Laurent Twizerimana
  • 2nd Place (TIE): Uptick – Sidhant Ahluwalia, Obed Badillo Moreno

The Mark Ain Business Model Competition, our final contest of the semester, showcased the top entrepreneurial teams from the entire University. After making it through two preliminary rounds, five groups were able to pitch their ventures to a panel of distinguished judges on May 16. Winners were announced that afternoon:

  • 1st Place: CompreSure Medical – Alyssa Lopez, Gregory Dadourian, Meghann Meyer, Rachel Zimmer
  • 2nd Place: ADASI – Rebecca Amorese, Amanda Smith, Evan Sosnow
  • 3rd Place: Prosthesis for a New Syria – Ibrahim Mohammad, Omar Soufan
Student Organization Events

Meliora LaunchPad, one of the University’s student entrepreneurship clubs, hosted an Entrepreneurship Expo at the beginning of May. Only about a year and half old, the club created a fantastic event to highlight student innovators and to celebrate their graduating seniors. In February, we also co-hosted Club Rochester with other interdisciplinary groups on campus, including the Rochester Center for Community Leadership, iZone, and the Gwen M. Greene Career & Internship Center.

Ain Center Lecture Series

One of the University of Rochester’s defining aspects is its commitment to medical discovery and healing. Because the field of medicine is ever-changing (and at the U of R, becoming ever better), the Ain Center and the School of Nursing hosted Dr. Mattia Gilmartin of New York University. Dr. Gilmartin, a former health clinician and current faculty member, spoke to innovators from throughout UR. She shared her perspective as a practitioner, intrapreneur, and educator, with her talk zeroing in on the importance of taking risks and building on your experiences to create something worthwhile.

Ain Center Events

In addition to the formal competitions and lectures, we also hosted smaller, more granular workshops and events, which allowed all members of the UR community to grow their entrepreneurial skillset and mingle with experienced entrepreneurs in fields outside of their own. In March, we shuttled students to NextCorps at Sibley Square, where our Incubator is located. Students were able to network with real startups and see the new space for the first time.

We also started a number of online or indirect modes of collaboration. In March, we debuted our Entrepreneur Connector – a physical wall outside the Ain Center filled with postings for teamwork opportunities (students can submit in person or online). In May, the Ain Center became an admin in the newly launched Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group on The Meliora Collective, a platform for the UR community.

Buzz Lab Boot Camp

Designed for entrepreneurs, small business owners, and aspiring small business owners in the greater Rochester area, the Buzz Lab Boot Camp held its inaugural sessions this February. For four Saturdays, participants from the region gathered on River Campus to learn about a variety of topics – including Pricing, Marketing, and Human Resources Management. The wildly successful program was supported by a grant from the Economic Development Administration and is likely to run again next spring!

UR Next Gen Challenge

Each semester, the MS in Technical Entrepreneurship and Management (TEAM) program hosts the Next Gen Challenge. A think-tank style competition allows STEM students to solve real-world problems with professional scientists and engineers, as well as industry representatives. February’s competition took place at Ortho Clinical Diagnostics. These winning teams were awarded cash prizes:

  • 1st Place: Sherry Xiao, Sereen Assi, Lennard Emanuel, Aman Tugnawat
  • 2nd Place: Ivanah Desoloc, Devin Marino, Omar Soufan, Sarat Tirumala
  • 3rd Place: Joshua Ivery, Siqi Xiong, Diego Martinez, Obed Badillo Moreno, Hadi Wehbe
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As the semester comes to a close, want to thank all of our wonderful partners and participants. This spring has inspired us to provide more opportunities for our students, build new relationships University-wide, and establish deeper roots in the Rochester community.
Keep up with our summer planning and adventures on our social media channels – we’ll be back with more stories in the fall!

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

Fulbright-RAF Scholar’s

Experience at U of R

By Vladimir Tanasiev (originally published on the Fulbright-Romania Webpage)

Via the Fulbright-RAF Scholar Award program, I had the opportunity, together with another five Romanian professors, to study Entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester. Although is difficult to sum up my whole experience, I will try to convey the essence of it. Entrepreneurial culture in the United States is growing and channeled around universities, with the support of the entrepreneurship centers. I have clearly understood that there are numerous possibilities to support entrepreneurship and it takes time to get the best results – success doesn’t come overnight.

I noticed that USA universities make considerable efforts – both human and financial – to help students think in terms of entrepreneurship, playing in this respect a crucial role in developing the entrepreneurship culture. This continuous effort is strengthened through countless events dedicated to technical, transversal and social topics, contests, debates with investors, etc. The atmosphere created at the university, around students not only helps them to use their imagination, but also offers them the support for turning their ideas into products or services with economic potential. Life on campus is also quite different from my experience back home. During the whole semester, the students are involved, alongside the theoretical and practical classes, in activities aimed at personal and professional development and networking.

One question I have come across quite often was “Can entrepreneurship be taught?”. And the answer is yes, it can be taught, but it’s difficult to measure its impact. An entrepreneur can follow this path only when he feels prepared and this decision can take time. I have also learned that many of the success stories are paved with the determination of those who faced several failures before. To understand the entrepreneurial ecosystem built around the university is one aspect of the problem, but in order to understand its mission and ways to develop, you need guidance. I will take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to my mentors, Dennis Kessler and Duncan Moore, who helped me understand how entrepreneurship is cultivated and how it could be institutionalized. Furthermore, whether I was talking to a salesman at the weekly fair or to a university professor, I could always notice the kindness of the people. I had the same feeling when I was talking to colleagues from other universities and many others. During my whole stay I met nice and hospitable people, interested in our culture and open to future collaborations. Additionally, I really enjoyed meeting members of the Romanian community from Rochester who helped me and my colleagues adapt smoothly from the very start.

During my professional or leisure trips, I had the opportunity to discover the beauty of the USA, equally present in large cities, small towns and its national parks. These trips offered my colleagues – Dragos Vintila, Mihai Dragomir, Anca Nicolau, Corina Forascu, Alma Pentescu – and myself the context to get to know each other better, to become friends and to work together on future plans.

Vladimir Tanasiev was one of six Romanian professors in 2017 to receive a Fulbright-RAF research grant to learn about entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester. Tanasiev is an Assistant Professor within the faculty of Power Engineering at the University Politehnica of Bucharest, Romania. His Fulbright-RAF experience allowed him to develop an action plan to insert entrepreneurship into his projects, as well as to reflect on how he can help entrepreneurship flourish in Romania.

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

Talent Nyumbani:

A Social-Driven Project to Grow Africa’s Talent

By Joshua “Dewey” Bazirake

As a college student, with all of the assignments, course loads, and social life demands, how can you grow your entrepreneurial spirit and pursue the project of your dreams?

Talent Nyumbani is a social non-profit organization that I founded in Kampala, Uganda before arriving at the University of Rochester in 2016. This organization aims to bring out the best in the youth of Uganda. We continue to promote and showcase talents, as well as innovations in science and technology, art and photography, dance and music, and poetry and rap.

On a flight back home from United World College in Costa Rica, I was highly energized and motivated to start a new venture that would create impact in my home country. I first thought about setting up a house party for friends and charging a fee, but this idea was flawed. What value was I was creating for my peers in Uganda? As I thought deeper about it, I referred to a book that I pleaded with my brother to get me. This was The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman, a concise guide on how to start and manage a successful business. The first chapter was about ‘value creation’, an element that gave purpose to a business. As I assessed my background & surroundings, I began to wonder why some students who were smarter than me in class weren’t recognized for their creativity and skills. I realized that there was a gap in giving opportunities to the youth and young people lacked an avenue to share their unique talents. From that moment, I knew that I wanted to create a “house party” that empowered the youth to bring out the best of who they are; this is where the idea of Talent Nyumbani stemmed from.The literal translation of “Talent Nyumbani” in Swahili means the house with talents – a welcoming place for youth to explore, discover, and share their talents. 

BUILDING A TEAM

In the summer of 2016, I set out on an “undercover” search for the dream team: a team that displayed passion and a zeal for success. The quest to find the right team members is cumbersome, but the outcome of a great team who shares your vision is invaluable.  A common saying in the startup scene is, “ you would rather have a bad idea and a good team as opposed to a good idea and a bad team.” The team I found was able to share, criticize and objectively make decisions which steered Talent Nyumbani in the direction it is today.

Now and again, there are disappointments that arise with the expectations you have with some of the team members. An example is I found some team members interested in short term gains and quick profits. I approached the situation by being observant rather than judgmental to objectively identify the strengths and weaknesses of each team member. In the end, an entrepreneur retains the team members who add the most value to the project and passionately driven to achieve the mission/vision.

MAKING IT HAPPEN

Our first event took place in July, 2016. My original idea was to have a month-long event with different activities on each day (such as workshops, performances and networking sessions). With advice from my team, we pivoted to a shorter period of one week. The first day was terrifying as we barely got any attendees. Painters and photographers came to display their work but no one had come to view it.

Was this a failure?

Had I wasted all my time and effort on something that wasn’t needed?

Resiliently, we waited for turn out. Over the course of the week, we had an increase in the number of attendees which boosted our confidence and, with appreciation for the idea, our team saw the need to hold a second event.

The second event was held on January 12, 2018. This event was a success with a turn out of 170 individuals, more than 100% increase from the last event. We also incorporated a hackathon that brought rise to technological ideas with a potential to disrupt the agricultural sector in Uganda. We had more partners on board this time such as the University of Rochester, Outbox Uganda, Innovation Village, FundiBotz, amongst others. This event was also graced by the presence of Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation in Uganda.

DEALING WITH FAILURE

Failure is common when it comes to startups and it comes in so many forms: failure to secure funding, failure to get the team to agree on a particular direction to take, failure to get the right location and failure with the idea itself. For Talent Nyumbani, my goal of creating an open house seemed impossible to achieve when I failed to get a location and when we failed to advertise in time.

Day in and day out, I invested my time, effort and resources to make the impossible possible. I received feedback of all sorts, some saying that I didn’t have enough expertise to get the project going or that the idea wasn’t ready for a market like Uganda. The process of starting from an idea and working towards a finished product is what builds an entrepreneur through failure and continuous progress. The best way to deal with failure is by being calm in the most difficult situations, understanding the root cause of a problem and crafting solutions together as a team. Without the support structure of your team, a leader is destined for failure. Whenever an issue arose, I’d gather the team and we’d tackle the problem together. Each team member had a unique contribution and perspective. Problem solving requires robust brainstorming and immediate action in order to mitigate any future challenges. In the end, we encountered financial, logistical, management and service delivery problems. However, we conquered these because of our team spirit and vision for the project.

WHAT’S NEXT?

When starting up, it is advised to have the long-term vision in mind. We are currently working on improving our presence online in order to be more accessible to other youth in Uganda and surrounding neighbouring countries. It is our intention to conduct regular events at high schools and universities around Uganda in the upcoming year. With the growing partnerships we create, we are incorporating mentorship, skills development and outsourcing internships. We welcome anyone who is interested in empowering the youth and solving the issue of unemployment in developing countries.

Our long-term vision is to bring out the most outstanding talent in Africa and share it with the rest of the world.

Joshua “Dewey” Bazirake is a member of the class of 2020, studying Financial Economics. During his first year at UR, Bazirake founded Kwetu, a student organization dedicated to promoting and encouraging entrepreneurship and development on the African continent. Recently, Kwetu co-hosted the inaugural Africa Business Conference with Simon Business School. Bazirake has also participated in the NSF I-Corps Site grant and training program, to learn how to conduct customer discovery in his efforts to commercialize and idea to harness data to streamline group travel.

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

Experiencing Meliora

By Anca Nicolau (originally published on the Fulbright-Romania Webpage)

My experience as Fulbright visiting professor was an exceptional one for several reasons. First of all, it was not a lonely experience, but a group one as I was a Fulbrighter together with other five Romanians; each of us having a different background and representing a different university, but registered under the same program at the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship from the University of Rochester. The program, specially designed on the request of the Romanian American Foundation, aimed at introducing us to education on entrepreneurship. Step by step, I was convinced that entrepreneurship can be studied while learning some tools to filter ideas, understanding the market mechanism, studying how to transform a business idea into a company, practicing evaluation of startup companies and gaining business understanding from the stories of successful entrepreneurs. Therefore, from this point of view, it was a wonderful educational experience that I will use in the benefit of the Romanian educational system.

As our program involved meeting people from different institutions and organizations in town, I began to feel that I am no longer a visitor to Rochester, but one of its inhabitants. This was special too, as I was a Rochesterian when the town celebrated the bicentennial anniversary of the Erie Canal; prepared its rebirth after the failure of the Kodak Company and relocation of the Xerox Corporation to Norwalk, CT; reconfigured the highway crossing the town; worked hard to preserve the landscape designed by Frederick Law Olmstead in Highland Park; and started the moving process of its technology and business incubator (High Tech Rochester) from Henrietta (outside the town) to the Sibley building (downtown) in an attempt to become the supporter of the new Downtown Innovation Zone.

Secondly, it was an unforgettable cultural experience as well. I have to confess that it was pretty challenging to act in the multicultural U of R’s environment and the first lesson learned was to behave properly in multinational teams. Then, when I met the Romanian community, I was impressed to see how my co-nationals balanced the American customs with the Romanian traditions. Moreover, it was fascinating to celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve in America while enjoying the atmosphere and learning some recipes of dishes traditionally made on these occasions. My cultural experience was enriched by the variety of performances I have seen: “The Magic Flute” at MET, “Chicago” on Broadway, “The Nutcracker” with the Boston Ballet, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” with the music performed by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra at Eastman Theater, the Songs of Erie Canal interpreted by the Brockport Symphony Orchestra and the Golden Eagle String Band, “When Shakespeare’s Ladies Meet” presented during the Rochester Fringe Festival, the rock of the ’80s in a local brewery, and music of Leonard Bernstein played by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra on New Year’s Eve.

Thirdly, it was a travel experience, as the Fulbright scholarship allowed me to go around Rochester and see spectacular places like Niagara Falls, Chimney Bluffs, Letchworth State Park, Watkins Glen and Taughannock Falls. Additionally, I was able to visit other prestigious universities as MIT, Harvard, Cornell and Miami, and to see three of the most beautiful cities in the US: New York, Boston and Washington. Long story short, my Fulbright experience was extraordinary because it was a multi-facet one, extremely rich and complex. Due to it, I am now a “Meliora” person, with nice memories of the people I met and places I have been.

Anca Nicolau was one of six Romanian professors in 2017 to receive a Fulbright-RAF research grant to learn about entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester. Nicolau is a Professor of Food Science and Engineering at Dunarea de Jos University of Galati. She currently studies food safety issues, including detection of pathogens in food and food processing environments, as well as the destruction of microorganisms using alternative technologies.

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

Growing in the US,

Changing Mindsets in Romania

By Mihai Dragomir (originally published on the Fulbright-Romania Webpage)

I have always been an admirer of the American way of life and I am glad the Fulbright-RAF (Romanian-American Foundation) Scholar Award gave me the possibility to spend a semester immersed in the academic environment in the United States. This period of time brought to our entire Romanian group excellent learning opportunities at the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester, other universities across the USA, and various organizations involved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of upstate New York. We had the opportunity to discover firsthand how entrepreneurship and innovation are transforming the region and giving it the competitive edge it needs for the 21st century.

The lessons we learned and the great models and practices we discovered will certainly guide our activity back home in our universities. One of the defining aspects of this program is the desire to infuse the same passion and courage into the young generation in Romania as the ones we have seen in the US. In a world that becomes very dynamic and uncertain, I consider it to be essential to have young people who are not afraid of work and risk taking and are willing to fight for what they believe in. I came back to Romania with a fresh and optimistic outlook about establishing new ways to deliver entrepreneurial education and foster into our students the desire to be innovative and create new ventures based around their engineering skills. So, I must confess I am really excited to contribute to this long but rewarding journey within Technical University of Cluj-Napoca.

I think living and working in the USA has a wonderful way of changing the way you feel about freedom and opportunity: infusing you with self-confidence and the desire to change the world around you. Getting to experience the American culture first hand, from food and drinks to arts and sports, and being able to travel and visit some of the spectacular cities and sites of the US – Niagara Falls, a natural wonder of the world, definitely comes to mind here – really put into context for me the sheer scale and complexity of this amazing country and its people.

Mihai Dragomir was one of six Romanian professors in 2017 to receive a Fulbright-RAF research grant to learn about entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester. Dragomir is an Associate Professor of Machine Building in the department of Design Engineering and Robotics at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca. He enjoys investigating new product development, quality engineering, and computer-aided engineering.

By | Innovation, People, Rochester, Science, Social Entrepreneurship, Technology

Introducing the

Entrepreneur Connector

By Ain CFE Staff

WANTED: [you fill in the rest!]

On a regular basis, the U of R community asks us how to find teammates and fellow innovators. To give everyone a space to contribute, we have created the Entrepreneur Connector: an interactive wall that allows you to share what you need and/or what you are willing to give.

Inspired by the entrepreneurial spaces at universities like Harvard and MIT, our Connector wall serves as a touchstone for those who want to get involved, but may not know how to get started. Jot down your information for a short project or fill out a sheet to seek someone to co-launch your new venture… whatever you are looking for, you can find it on the Connector.

Click around on the picture below to learn more!

STEP ONE: Navigate through the tunnels or come in through Dewey Hall to visit the wall outside of room 1-211. (Tip: You can also come in through Carol Simon Hall!)
STEP TWO: If you are advertising a position in your startup or posting a want ad, grab a marker and find an empty board. Fill out what you are looking for and be sure to add your contact info.
STEP THREE: Are you hoping to join a team? Check out the listings and snap a photo of any projects you are interested in. If nothing catches your attention, write down your info so others can recruit you for their projects!
STEP FOUR: Postings will stay up for three weeks, unless otherwise asked. Feel free to stop by the Ain Center if you have any questions!

Want to make your mark?

Head over to Dewey Hall, right outside of room 1-211!

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

Meliora: A New Idea for Romanian Entrepreneurs

By Dragos Vintila (originally published on the Fulbright-Romania Webpage)

You learn, you try, and you apply. Education is continuous. We always strive for more, but reading every book ever written about rock climbing is nothing compared to reaching your first mountaintop. Nonetheless, that challenge would be impossible without some beforehand knowledge. Theory and practice are both required for success. Similarly, the gears of the entrepreneurial ‘engine’ work best when they are all nurtured. When we talk about entrepreneurship, we talk about knowledge, education, economy, innovation, R&D and people coming together, discussing and collaborating. The one thing I think is different and exciting in the United States and their entrepreneurial system is how these are all connected. Learning happens in classrooms and conference rooms. You discuss business plans with your partners and with your teachers.

There are countless ways one can learn about entrepreneurship. One of them is experiencing the U.S. way of life. Essentially a society developed by businesspeople and entrepreneurs, it is bright, bold and fascinating. I have had the pleasure of being a Fulbright-RAF award winner and spent one semester at the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester. We participated in classes, attended business meetings, had wonderful discussions and traveled around the country for a while.

Being a teacher myself at the Ovidius University of Constanta, Romania, I have had the opportunity of placing myself both in the students’ and the professors’ seats during lectures. Here, the educational process is based on dialogue and is completed by self-study. The bibliography is flexible and most ‘assignments’ represent team projects with actual real-world applicability. The feedback is rich and valuable, and there are moments when you feel like you have transcended the lecture and landed in the middle of a business meeting. Students also have frequent mentor meetings, where they communicate with affluent businesspeople, hear their success stories, previous failures and advice for their future endeavors. It is an environment that stimulates, engages and fascinates everyone, inside and outside the University.

Furthermore, we took part in the pitch sessions at Excell Partners, where entrepreneurs present their design, concept and business approach, and gather the feedback and critique of the board. These weekly meetings gathered professors from all fields of study at the University of Rochester to discuss, analyze and eventually finance private ventures. As visiting professors, this was an invaluable process and learning experience, evaluating enterprises from diverse domains (e.g. medicine, navigation) while understanding the development strategies of American companies, allowing all that fit the criteria to participate, while choosing to finance only the best ideas and business plans.

We also had the opportunity to travel, visiting landmarks like Niagara Falls, the Statue of Liberty and the National Mall, as well as other prestigious institutions like the MIT Innovation Initiative, the Harvard Innovation Lab, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs. We met inspiring people, had productive discussions, visited magnificent places and ate mountains of pancakes each morning – providing energy for the day. Everything is connected.

Dragos Vintila was one of six Romanian professors in 2017 to receive a Fulbright-RAF research grant to learn about entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester. Vintila is an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at Ovidius University of Constanta. His research focuses on structural stability, safety analysis, spatial planning, and – of course – entrepreneurship.

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

Fulbright-RAF Experience

at University of Rochester

By Alma Pentescu (originally published on the Fulbright-Romania Webpage)

Last year a “new chapter of my life” was to be written. As a proud winner of a Fulbright-RAF award, I had the opportunity to spend a semester in the United States of America. As a teaching assistant and marketing Ph.D. at the Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu – The Faculty of Economic Sciences, I teach marketing and trade related subjects. However, this opportunity emerged due to the fact that my colleagues and I work on developing entrepreneurship education at our university. Thus, in order to find out more about how an entrepreneurial ecosystem works, how to build one and how to adapt to an ever-changing environment, I went to the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship – University of Rochester, NY.

During my stay in Rochester I did so many interesting things. I took the Upstate New York National Science Foundation I-Corps short course as well as two other courses, spoke with different professors; attended pitching/business plan competitions and various speaker series; been to conferences on entrepreneurship topics; took part at the meetings of Excell Partners, Rochester Angel Network, the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council; attended different events (organized by students, alumni or the community), both professional and for leisure. I traveled to New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois and beyond, and have seen several entrepreneurship centers, as well as incredible places. I had a glimpse of the American life by attending different events such as the Clothesline Festival, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s concerts, The Blue & Gold Gala, Thanksgiving and others.

The United States of America are well known for entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship education and research. Being able to learn from such experienced people about how they started their entrepreneurial initiatives, how they’ve grown, what worked for them and what didn’t was a huge opportunity for me and my colleagues (the ones in this program as well as the ones at my university). But it wasn’t just about the things I’ve learnt. The main benefit came from the people I’ve met. Kind and willing to share their knowledge, ideas and experience. Thus, I want to thank all the inspiring people I’ve met thanks to this award and to all the wonderful people who made this opportunity possible. This is not the end of the story, but, hopefully, the beginning of a fruitful collaboration.

Alma Pentescu was one of six Romanian professors in 2017 to receive a Fulbright-RAF research grant to learn about entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester. A Teaching Assistant at Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, she is located in the Department of Management, Marketing, and Business Administration. During her time at the U of R, she pursued the project, “Entrepreneurial Education: The Foundation of an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.”

By | People, Rochester

ENT Club Spotlight:

UR Consulting Group

By Theresa Xu
University of Rochester Consulting Group (URCG) is a student-run pro-bono consulting group available to all undergraduates from any major and any year at the U of R. Our meetings focus on interview preparation, career workshops, and professional development to assist our members in their goals of obtaining their ideal internship or job. Last semester, we held a “Common Mistakes in Interviewing” workshop and a “Case Study Preparation” workshop that discussed firsthand experiences interviewing for different companies, detailing what was successful and what wasn’t. To determine what our meetings are centered around, we survey our members at the beginning of the semester to cater to their interests. We provide them the options of public speaking, panels, resume workshops, or anything else they might want to see.
Aside from our bi-weekly meetings, we also have engagement projects that our members can apply to be a part of. These projects allow our members to gather a glimpse inside what working on a consulting project with a team in the real-world is like. The teams have around 5 members each that work with a client to solve a specific problem the client has, whether it be strategy and operations or marketing campaigns. We believe that we provide knowledge and a unique perspective that can benefit our clients who are seeking help. Last semester, we had the privilege of drafting marketing proposals and strategies for Brue Coffee, College Truckers and College Town. Although we are considered a consulting club, our organization benefits anyone who is interested in developing their leadership abilities and teamwork skills, which is essential for any career path. By gathering first-hand experience working with different clients, we believe that our members are even more prepared for their respective futures in any industry.
For the upcoming semester, we have some exciting plans and events to offer to our members. We hope to host a Case Study Competition where our members work in teams to solve intricate problems and present their unique solutions to a panel of judges. This event targets and hones participants’ critical thinking abilities and creativity, which is an important factor in interviewing for the top consulting internships that typically conduct case study interviews. Additionally, in order for our members to have a better understanding of the career opportunities out there for them, we hope to invite students who have successfully completed summer internships in various companies and positions to present about their experiences to educate others. This serves as both a networking and learning opportunity for everyone.
Meeting and contact information can be found on CCC!

Theresa Xu is a senior studying Financial Economics with a minor in Computer Science. Due to her involvement in URCG, she found interest in consulting and just finished her internship at Ernst & Young in New York City, where she will return after graduation.

By | Innovation, Rochester

UR’s Ain Center for Entrepreneurship

By Ain CFE Staff

We are the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship: a growing team of experienced entrepreneurs, incredible faculty, and knowledgeable staff. Serving the entire University of Rochester, we focus on a broad definition of entrepreneurship, turning the generation and transformation of ideas into valuable experiences, opportunities, and enterprises. Within the Ain Center, we see entrepreneurship as a mindset – both an approach to critical thinking and a teachable trait of character.

A Little of Our History

The University of Rochester’s Center for Entrepreneurship was launched in 2006, following a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. In 2015, we became the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship, recognizing the generous support of Mark S. Ain ‘67S (MBA) and his wife Carolyn. In addition to their investment in entrepreneurship, the Ain family is known for their visionary leadership and support of innovation at the University.

We also house the Technical Entrepreneurship and Management, or TEAM, graduate program. TEAM is designed for those with a technical background (such as engineering, science, or mathematics) who want to combine their expertise with a business and entrepreneurial skills set. The interdisciplinary nature of TEAM mirrors our understanding of working across traditional boundaries to create something revolutionary.

Here, we recognize entrepreneurship as a true combination of the idealistic and the pragmatic. Though an idea can start within one individual, the creation of meaningful projects takes a village. By emphasizing core traits – initiative, intuition, awareness, and determination – the Ain Center knows what is possible when everyone rallies around an imaginative concept. A science and an art, entrepreneurship is a primary way in which a society grows, improves, and changes: not only in its economy, but also in its culture and values.

The Ain Center for Entrepreneurship is located in 1-211 Carol Simon Hall.

How We Can Help You

Far more than just a specific set of business skills, entrepreneurship is a practice that is applicable to many realms of experience and interest. As a main function, the Ain Center identifies potential partnerships with students, alumni, local businesses and non-profit organizations. These collaborations provide each participant with resources, materials, and a network of support. Additionally, we coordinate entrepreneurship courses and signature programming (such as an array of business competitions, the Ain CFE Lecture Series, and our popular Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program). Though many of our students pursue technical or economic ventures, we also provide information on social entrepreneurship, a growing field that does good for both business and community.

Recently, the Ain Center won a variety of grants to help encourage entrepreneurship throughout the U of R. As a result, we host visiting faculty from Romania, cultivate fruitful relationships with other universities in upstate New York, and attain research funding for young startups. Overall, the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship facilitates creativity and gives entrepreneurs a chance to make their vision a reality.

Let’s Keep in Touch

Beginning in Fall 2017, the Ain Center stepped up its presence on social media, establishing new ways to connect to our vast community, both on-campus and online. Find us on Facebook (@UR.AinCenter), Twitter (@UR_AinCenter), and Instagram (@ur_aincenter). Keep an eye out for our blog updates and feel free to send suggestions for future posts to AinCFE@rochester.edu.

We look forward to helping you build the future.