Stevens Institute hosts showcase of female entrepreneurs supported by NJ EDA

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The Stevens Institute of Technology hosted a showcase for female entrepreneurs backed by the NJ Chapter of Golden Seeds, which is supported by the New Jersey Economic Development Agency.

By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View

Specifically, the Stevens Launchpad and iSTEM Winter Showcase was  hosted by the venture capital firm Golden Seeds and the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken.

The NJ Chapter of Golden Seeds supports the growth of female-led startups by increasing access to capital and creating mentoring opportunities with angel investors and entrepreneurs.

The forum featured presentations from innovative founders and investors, as well as providing networking sessions for attendees.

Stevens Institute Center for Entrepreneurship Education Director Mukund Iyengar explained he spearheads the program on campus.

“In the past five years, we are fortunate to have helped launch 23 student-led companies. Some of them were acquired. Some of them were backed by some of the best VC (Venture Capital) firms in the world,” Iyengar said.

He added they have worked with the NJEDA, alumni, and the school on the program.

“Golden Seeds is one of the largest and most active early-stage investment groups that focuses on women entrepreneurs,” Iyengar noted.

He explained their role in fostering student-run businesses. Iyengar noted the NJ EDA helps foster new businesses by working with different stakeholders.

“Tonight is a celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation at Stevens,” Stevens Vice Provost for Academic Innovation and Faculty Affairs Dr. David Zeng said.

He explained that their launchpad program is a 12-month program where they work with successful entrepreneurs to build their businesses.

Zeng further stated that they focus on many tech-based businesses. The program was launched in 2017 and has held companies collectively valued around $100 million.

“The start-up garage is our state-of-the-art incubator space funded by state money and philanthropic gifts. It serves as an interactive collaborative hub where our launch pad and iStevens students work together and share ideas. The garage has 26 workstations, a media room, 3D printers, and high-end servers for AI training,” he explained.

He continued that at an expo last year, they showcased more than 200 business projects.

Zeng added philanthropy and alumni helped provide the resources to the student entrepreneurs.

NJ EDA Chief Economic Transformation Officer Kathleen Coviello said that Gov. Phil Murphy (D) had “a bold vision for innovation” when he first took office. “We’ve really been on steroids.”

They have worked very closely with NJ Golden Seeds to foster business in the state, continuing that they wanted to emphasize a range of business owners.

“For the first time, we have a Chief Diversity Officer in the EDA that keeps me on my toes,” Coviello explained.

She noted she’s often the only woman in business settings, a trend they want to change.

“We are not a subsidiary of New York. We have our own identity. There’s tremendous talent here. We have the top schools here,” she stated.

Coviello said the Stevens Institute’s engineering and business programs go well together to foster successful companies.

“You only get a ticket to be an entrepreneur if you have a trust fund or a rich uncle. That is no longer the case in New Jersey,” Coviello noted about many traditional start-ups, as well as that they have funneled money to fund a variety of businesses.

“The governor and the legislature stepped up to fund us … How wonderful that Stevens is nurturing this. You don’t have to go across the river.”

Among the student entrepreneurs, Faris and Parmida created a platform called “Nourable” to invest in solar farms and pitched the crowd, seeking $500,000 to launch the business.

Fairs said they’re aiming to be the “Nasdaq of sustainable energy.”

Next, was Daia Smarter Sugar Sharing by Ariana, which helps regulate glucose to help diabetics. They sought a $400,000 investment.

Additionally, Vasili Karalwich, a Stevens student, showcased his App Fit Check for fashion for GenZers to organize his wardrobe and promote it on social media.


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