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BMCC Hosts Eleventh Annual Entrepreneurial Summit

May 3, 2017

Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) students, faculty and staff filled Richard Harris Terrace Tuesday May 2 for the college's eleventh annual Entrepreneurial Summit.

The BMCC Small Business and Entrepreneurship program, the BMCC Student Business Enterprise club and the Student Government Association hosted this year's event.  This year's theme was "Started from the bottom, now we're here."

“The goal of the Entrepreneurial Summit is to connect students with individuals who are leading successful businesses,” said Business Management Professor Shane Snipes, one of the summit organizers. “Students majoring in Small Business and Entrepreneurship at BMCC who dream of starting their own business can ask the event speakers questions about where to pitch innovative ideas, how to secure funding or land a job at a startup.”

Snipes says New York City is filled with startups, and there are incubators, support services and funding mechanisms that transform innovative ideas into functioning small businesses.

In fact, 421 New York City-based startup tech companies secured more than $9.5 billion in venture capital funding in 2016, according to Built in NYC, an online community for New York City tech startups.

“The wide range of business sectors and industries represented by this year’s summit speakers provides students with real-life insight into whether or not they may want to start a business,” said BMCC Business Management Professor Shamira Soren Malekar.

Many of the summit’s speakers are creating jobs, according to Snipes. He cites panelist Michael Chernow, who has created close to 100 jobs through his sustainable seafood restaurant Seamore’s and functional beverage venture WellWell.

“There’s a real sense in today’s economy that employers want to have a team that understands what it means to innovate. Understanding the challenges and rewards of entrepreneurship is critical to get started,” said Snipes.

This year's summit speakers and panelist included: Michael Chernow, founder of Seamore’s and WellWell and host of the FYI network show “Food Porn”; Yanti Amos, owner of Earth Yoga NYC; Evelyn Badia, owner of Eveland BnB; Jimmy Chen, founder and CEO of Propel Tech; Robert Cintron,film industry expert currently working on the full-length movie “Unwelcome Advances”; Patrick Devaney, award-winning actor, producer, director and writer; Michael Marino and Jorge Moret,co-founders of City Saucery; Gunjan Rekhi, owner of Rekhi Law Offices; Donna Olah Reiken, CEO of Preferred Small Business; Harry S. Schleiff, group president at Discovery Chanel and Sha-Rhonda Wilson, COO, Ms/Mrs. Corporate America.    

“BMCC’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship program provides students with the skill set to think like an entrepreneur, even if they work for a company in any role, which helps them advance up the ladder,” said Snipes.

Three BMCC students were recently named finalists in the CUNY & Capital One Community College Innovation Challenge.  BMCC Business Enterprise club president Emily Long designed an app that she describes as a social seating tool for airline passengers where they are able to enhance their flying experience. "; Cristina Reece designed an app to connect local farmers with consumers and Andres Curcuru designed an online concierge app that provides curated travel experiences. 

BMCC Business Management chairperson Mahatapa Palit says BMCC's Small Business and Enterpreneurship program is designed to help students develop and entrepreneurial mindset. Over the past two years, the program has added a number of new offerings including a class in e-retailing, she says. 

"Our program has articulations with two four-year colleges; York College and recently an articulation agreement was approved with Long Island University's Brooklyn campus," said Palit.

For more information on the Small Business and Entrepreneurship program, click here.

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  • Students learned how to pitch ideas or find jobs at startups
  • Panelists talked about growing New York City startup community

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