Nov 21, 2017
Lisa Jervey Lennox
In Cornell Institute for Public Affairs

A generous donation from a Cornell alumnus covered the travel expenses and registration fees for seven CIPA students to attend the annual Entrepreneurship at Cornell Summit in New York City on Nov. 3.

"Because of this alum’s generosity, these students were exposed to cutting edge practices in entrepreneurship,” said CIPA Executive Director Thomas O’Toole. “I think this experience was particularly important for students pursuing careers in the public and nonprofit sectors, insofar as entrepreneurship has traditionally been "owned" by the private sector. It's time to change that mentality.”

CIPA's entrepreneurship students

Vanisha Sharma ’18, one of the seven CIPA students who attended the Summit, found the event highly inspirational. “We were able to interact with young and established entrepreneurs face-to-face, and learn from their real-life success stories,” she said. “For me, the highlight was an interview by Jennifer Hyman, the CEO and Co-Founder of Rent-the-Runway. An online business that promotes renting of clothes rather than buying, Rent-the-Runway aims to bring about a behavioral change in consumers, encouraging them to become more environmentally friendly.”

Second-year student Molly Warrington was grateful that an alum came forward to sponsor this event. “If it was not for the generosity of the donor, we would not have been able to attend the Summit. It was great to be able to interact with so many impressive individuals from the Cornell community. I left feeling inspired to follow their lead.”

The Summit featured leaders involved in a wide variety of entrepreneurship ventures across the public and private sectors. Cornell President Martha Pollack served as the keynote speaker. Other presenters included Liza Landsman, President of; JJ Ramberg, host of MSNBC's Your Business; and Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Vista Equity Partners and winner of the 2017 Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year Award.