Crain’s New York Business, Education Report: “Startup Factories”

New York’s colleges are stepping up support of budding entrepreneurs with courses, mentoring, networking, awards. High marks were given to Pace’s Lubin School of Business, where a 2011 pitch contest drew an audience of 400 — including venture capitalists, angel investors and bankers.

A special Education Report in the April 23 issue of Crain’s New York Business focuses on how New York’s colleges and universities have ratcheted up their commitment to supporting budding entrepreneurs in recent years.  With courses, mentoring, networking and cash awards, they are growing crops of would-be entrepreneurs that they say are far better prepared than their predecessors. 

Lubin Professor Bruce Bachenheimer,  Director of Pace’s new Entrepreneurship Lab, was interviewed by Steve Garmhausen for the article and his comments are highlighted below.  Read the Education Report in its entirety by clicking here:

  • One of the latest manifestations of the trend: the February launch, by Pace University’s Lubin School of Business, of an entrepreneurship lab that aims to facilitate collaborations between students in schools as diverse as nursing and business.  “The idea is that it will involve all Pace students and faculty from all the schools,” said Bruce Bachenheimer, director of the lab and of Lubin’s entrepreneurship program. “We’re stressing an interdisciplinary, hands-on experience to find new ways to solve difficult problems.”
  • Entrepreneurship programs are trying to teach just about everything else. The most straightforward subjects include writing a business plan and doing financial, competitive and market analysis.  “When it comes to the harder stuff, such as the ability to recognize opportunities, Pace and other schools use case studies, brainstorming lessons and other exercises to nurture that skill. “It’s kind of like teaching music or painting,” explained Mr. Bachenheimer.
  • Pitch programs—in which teams of students, alumni and others vie for cash prizes by developing and pitching business ideas—are a centerpiece of the entrepreneurship push among the city’s schools.  Pitch contests have also proved to be a great way to network and meet investors. The most recent contest at Pace drew an audience of 400, including venture capitalists, angel investors and bankers, said Mr. Bachenheimer.
  • Schools are grappling with the question of how to gauge the success of their entrepreneurship programs.  And by one definition, entrepreneurship training doesn’t have to result in a business launch to be successful. If a person is trained to size up opportunities and take initiatives, he and his employer have an edge, said Mr. Bachenheimer. “The nature of work is changing dramatically,” he said. “There’s no more ‘Give me a job and tell me what to do.’ ”