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NYU Stern Receives $6.5 Million to Support Emerging Entrepreneurs & Enterprise Development Research

Coinciding with the introduction of a new leadership team at its Berkley Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, New York University Stern School of Business recently received gifts from multiple donors totaling $6.5 million.

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This increased funding comes at a time when interest in business ownership among Stern students and alumni is at an all time high. A sign of the surging wave of interest in creating new ventures is the record-setting 155 student and alumni teams that entered the Berkley Center’s business plan competition this year.

New Gifts

Stern Board of Overseer Ira Leon Rennert, Chairman and CEO of the private investment firm the Renco Group and longstanding supporter of entrepreneurship at the School, committed $3.5 million. His gift will enhance the seed funding currently awarded to traditional track winners in Stern’s nationally recognized Business Plan Competition, as well as create a new faculty chair in entrepreneurship to support a top research scholar in the field.

Separately, home computer market pioneer Beny Alagem, founder of Packard Bell Electronics and the owner of the world famous Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, and the Alagem Family gave a gift of $3 million to support the entrepreneurship programming and resources available to Stern’s students, alumni and faculty.

“As a macroeconomist, I value entrepreneurship as an engine of growth for the economy that generates new ideas, creates new jobs and fosters progress,” said Thomas F. Cooley, Dean, NYU Stern School of Business. “This generous funding brings new energy to the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, enabling us to support the next generation of scholars and entrepreneurs.”

Leading Knowledge Creation in Social Entrepreneurship

These financial awards complement recent recognition by The Aspen Institute’s Center for Business Education, which selected NYU Stern Professor Jeffrey Robinson as its 2007 “Faculty Pioneer Rising Star” for his socially-oriented research and pedagogical leadership. His work assessing how social entrepreneurs navigated social and institutional barriers to create economic value in the rebuilding of New Orleans, and his research project to inform a best-in-class model for teaching social entrepreneurship around the world, were cited.

Business Plan Competition Draws 50 Percent More Aspiring Entrepreneurs

More than 25 years ago, NYU Stern established The Berkley Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, a dedicated hub at the School leading the dialogue on enterprise development with students, alumni, faculty and the new venture business community at-large. Its flagship Business Plan Competition, now in its ninth year, includes tracks for both traditional entrepreneurs, as well as social entrepreneurs seeking to create double bottom-line businesses, with $200,000 in total seed funding available for team winners. This fall nearly 500 aspiring student and alumni entrepreneurs attended the Business Plan Competition kick-off, an almost 50 percent annual increase over last year’s kick-off, which culminated in a record-setting 155 team entrants. Teams benefit from a nearly year-long series of workshops, team-building events, networking forums and coaching sessions, and the potential to secure significant seed funding.

Former Entrepreneurs to Lead Berkley Center

Clinical Professor Jeffrey Carr, who has been teaching marketing and entrepreneurship at Stern for a decade and is a successful entrepreneur and marketing consultant in his own right, was appointed the new Executive Director of the Berkley Center and is honing the Center’s focus to establish it as the “go-to” resource for emerging entrepreneurs. Joining him as Director is Stern alumna and entrepreneur Cynthia Franklin, founder of the award-winning KIP Business Report newspaper, which delivers insights to entrepreneurs, economic and community development professionals, policy makers, executives and business leaders in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area.

“With the Alagem and Rennert gifts, we are positioned to take our commitment to emerging Stern entrepreneurs to a new level, both inside and outside of the classroom,” said Jeff Carr. “We have the financial support and expertise to make our vision of serving as the ‘go-to’ source for Stern start-ups a reality and to create new knowledge to further the field.”

About The Berkley Center for Entrepreneurial Studies

The Berkley Center for Entrepreneurial Studies is dedicated to creating and disseminating knowledge to help traditional for-profit and social venture organizations become more successful. The Center’s singular focus on start-up and early stage phases enables it to provide dedicated programming that supports Stern students and alumni in launching, and managing, their businesses. Offering a practical approach, the Center delivers workshops, networking events and seminars, in addition to its flagship Business Plan Competition, Stern Incubator and Annual Conference on Social Entrepreneurship.

The Center offers approximately 30 courses at the MBA and undergraduate levels, including a graduate-level specialization in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. To promote new knowledge creation, the Center underwrites research designed to better understand the entrepreneurial process, and the public policy and educational issues associated with encouraging new enterprise development.