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Fordham Welcomes New Venture Fellows

Fordham Welcomes New Venture Fellows

Contact: Tom Stoekler
(212) 636-7576

The 2013 cohort of NYC Venture Fellows descended on Fordham's Lincoln Center campus from various parts of the globe on Feb. 27 to get tips from some of New York City’s most successful industry leaders.

Co-organized by Fordham's Office of the Provost, New York City Economic Development Corp. (NYCEDC) and Connectivity Capital Partners, the Leaders Breakfast Panel gave Fellows a chance to hear from David Aronoff, general partner and head of Flybridge Capital; Tom Chernaik, CEO at CMP.LY; Steven Greenwood, founder and CEO of Brewster; and Denmark West, principal at Forrer Street Co.
David Arnoff (center) weighs in, while Tom Chernaik and moderator Denmark West look on.
Photo by Chris Taggart

The leaders shared their business acumen on topics ranging from how to deal with boards and investors, to New York City’s vision as a leading hub for technology businesses.

Fordham has been a host institution of NYC Venture Fellows since it was established in 2010. The program seeks to foster the next generation of global entrepreneurs and help them "make it" in New York City. With an average of two-dozen leaders chosen every year, the selection process is highly competitive. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, sits on the selection jury with other global leaders of diverse experience.

“The Venture Fellows program is a model for partnerships between universities, government, and private industry,” said Stephen Freedman, Ph.D., provost of the University and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. “The exposure to current business needs benefits Fordham’s faculty and curriculum, and our intellectual capital is a terrific resource for the fellows and the firms involved in the program.”

Once Fellows are chosen, they are matched with several executive-level mentors and provided with resources to help them scale their businesses.

Venture Fellow Constantin Bjerke at the breakfast.
Photo by Chris Taggart
Venture Fellow Constantin Bjerke, CEO of the London-based Crane.TV, a digital media company which dubs itself the "world's first video magazine and branded entertainment agency," said that the experienced panellists struck a chord with the new entrepreneurs.

"We've only been in the program for three days, but my overall impression is that it is phenomenal," Bjerke said. "In many ways it’s common sense for people who have a wealth of knowledge to mentor the ambitions of young entrepreneurs."

Bjerke's firm, which was named by the Wall Street Journal as a “Top Ten Startup,” already has an office on Madison Avenue. He said New York City, as a leading center for media and tech innovation, offers an ideal environment for his company to expand—which is one of the criteria that the jury considers when choosing its Fellows.

"The access to NYC talent will also benefit us hugely," he said, noting that London has no similar setup.

"This program is distinctly New York," he said. "This city lives and breathes entrepreneurship, and programs like this shows that they put their money where their mouth is."

Founded in 1841, Fordham is the Jesuit University of New York, offering exceptional education distinguished by the Jesuit tradition to more than 15,100 students in its four undergraduate colleges and its six graduate and professional schools. It has residential campuses in the Bronx and Manhattan, a campus in West Harrison, N.Y., the Louis Calder Center Biological Field Station in Armonk, N.Y., and the London Centre at Heythrop College, University of London, in the United Kingdom.

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