Well, the NYU entrepreneurial community did it again. On February 28th and March 1st a talented and dynamic group of NYU students hosted over 1,000 entrepreneurs, fellow students, and alumni to celebrate entrepreneurship at the 3rd annual NYU Entrepreneurs Festival (NYUEF). I had the privilege to attend as an NYU alumna for the first time.
What’s great about entrepreneurship at NYU, above all, is the people. Walking into the Festival was more like a reunion than a conference. I was in the good company of fellow NYU entrepreneurs I now consider friends, from my Co-founder, Miriam, whom I met on the first day of graduate school at NYU Wagner, to a fellow NYU Summer Launch Pad member, Doug of Databetes.
As an alumna I participated in the Festival by way of the Venture Showcase with my startup, Kinvolved. What was awesome about the Showcase was that to my right, a newly made friend, Tiffany of Lovability, Inc. displayed her startup, and to my left was a former classmate, Libby, who recently founded a women-inspired jewelry company. Floating throughout the Showcase were current NYU students who cheerfully welcomed us, and other alumni who I caught up with. I was also featured in the Entrepreneurs of New York University, a creative play on Humans of New York – just another example of how savvy and creative the current students at NYU are.
I also spoke on a Roundtable, alongside Jerry, founder of Catch Coffee, another friend and entrepreneur I met by way to the NYU Entrepreneurs Network and the LaunchPad. We had the opportunity to share our experiences as inaugural Launch Pad members. We talked about how it is hard to believe that it was just one year ago we were in current students' shoes, and now we are doing everything from hiring new employees at Kinvolved, to working at the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute and continuing to build out CatchCoffee's business model.
I cannot speak for other Universities, but I believe that NYU has arrived on the scene as a leader in inspiring, cultivating, and developing student entrepreneurs. This brings me back to the importance of the people who our ecosystem is composed of. Entrepreneurship is what it is at NYU because of everyone from Frank, Lindsey, Allison, Adam, and Risa at the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute, and the newly launched eLab, to Billy and Scott, the fearless leaders of the NYUEF, to Micah, Steve, Emily, and Samir of the NYU Incubators.
Starting a company is hard. There is no doubt about it, and it does not get easier a year after graduating from NYU. However, coming back to campus for the NYUEF seeing friends, launching companies like Vengo and Violet Health, has made this process easier and even more enjoyable.
Thank you for hosting the Festival, giving us an opportunity to celebrate our success and failures. It is events like these that remind me that we are all in this together – and that there is nothing else I would rather be doing.