Baruch College Nutures Innovative Thinkers and Produces Entrepreneurs
Students sign up to participate in the SmartPitch Challenge 2014.
NEW YORK, NY- February 4, 2014 -Baruch College takes pride in nurturing undergraduate and graduate students’ creativity, innovation and drive by offering them a quality higher education that is affordable and enriching.
One of the many disciplines of study that attract students to Baruch College is Entrepreneurship.
In 2013, for the sixth year in a row, Baruch College was included on the “Top 25 Undergraduate Programs for Entrepreneurship” list by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine. Evaluations were based on key criteria such as teaching entrepreneurship business fundamentals in the classroom; staffing departments with successful entrepreneurs; excellence in mentorship; and providing experiential or entrepreneurial opportunities outside of the classroom.
Through the undergraduate and graduate Entrepreneurship programs at Baruch, students learn the skills that will help them make their entrepreneurial dreams a reality.
Such is the case for Elizabeth Alpern, a student in the part-time MBA program in the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College. The entrepreneurship major, who plans to graduate in May 2015, was recently named to Forbes “30 Under 30” in the category of “Food and Wine.”
Elizabeth and her business partner Jeffrey Yoskowitz, opened their business The Gefilteria, in Brooklyn, NY in 2012. The Gefilteria offers Old World Jewish foods, like gefilte fish, borscht and kvass, to the modern world. Their products are available in stores throughout the New York Metro Area and in other cities including Philadelphia, PA; Columbus, OH; and Los Angeles, CA. Their products can also be purchased online and shipped nationwide.
Elizabeth admits she started the business with very little business knowledge or experience, but she has been able expand her knowledge and learn skills through Baruch College’s MBA Program.
“I was an ambitious cook, but I knew that I had a lot to learn,” Elizabeth says. “I came to Baruch to get solid analytical skills for making business decisions. I am now in my second year here and I have not been disappointed. Much of what I learn in class translates directly to my business.”
Students, like Elizabeth, have been able to acquire essential skills through courses, workshops and networking opportunities offered by The Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship at Zicklin School of Business. Along with Baruch’s Small Business Development Center Business (SBDC), the Field Center brings together advisors, alumni and volunteers to support the entrepreneurial endeavors of start-ups and established businesses and the college’s constituents.
In addition, the Field Center hosts a variety of events and competition that explore different levels of entrepreneurship. This spring a diverse group of young entrepreneurs from the City University of New York (CUNY) will compete in the 12th Annual IVE SmartPitch Challenge, hosted by Baruch and the Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship. SmartPitch, created by the CUNY Institute for Virtual Enterprise, gives student entrepreneurs an opportunity to create and validate a business concept, pitch their idea and follow a business plan to ultimately launch their business.
Baruch MBA student John Fout, founder of Sohha Savory Yogurt, took advantage of this opportunity and won a $2,500 prize during the SmartPitch Challenge in 2013. John entered SmartPitch with his idea for Greek yogurt, made from a family recipe featuring sea salt, cultures and the highest quality milk rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Sohha Savory Yogurt offers an alternative to other popular high-sugar Greek yogurts and does not contain any genetically modified ingredients.
John values the experience he received from the competition hosted by the Field Center at Baruch.
“One of the great things about the competition is that you're pitching the business and the concept,” said John, who started the company along with his wife, by selling their creation in local farmers markets in Park Slope, Bushwick, and Morningside Heights. “You're already selling people on the product. It helps you build up your story to get people excited about the product. The competition helps you plan; the process just helps you develop everything.”
After his success in SmartPitch, John has been able to open a store in NYC’s Chelsea Market, and continues new ways to combine yogurt with vegetables and other savory toppings like spices and nuts, as is popular in Mediterranean countries.
"Doing well in the competition helped to get validation for the business,” John said about his success in establishing a store in Chelsea Market. “I’m grateful for what I learned through the entire experience.”
About Baruch College:
Baruch College is a senior college in the City University of New York (CUNY) with a total enrollment of more than 17,000 students, who represent 160 countries and speak more than 100 languages. Ranked among the top 15% of U.S. colleges and the No. 5 public regional university, Baruch College is regularly recognized as among the most ethnically diverse colleges in the country. As a public institution with a tradition of academic excellence, Baruch College offers accessibility and opportunity for students from every corner of New York City and from around the world. For more about Baruch College, go to http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/.
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