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Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship Applauds Women Entrepreneurs



NEW YORK, NY- November 18, 2014 - The Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship at Baruch College is celebrating women entrepreneurs who have brought their business ideas to life with the help of the Field Center and its services.

New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo has proclaimed November 19 as Women’s Entrepreneurship Day in recognition of the growth of women entrepreneurs and their businesses. The proclamation is part of an international event held at the United Nations in partnership with Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) and the U.S. Department of State on November 19.

The Field Center was founded in 1993 as the Small Business Lab with a grant from the CUNY Workforce Development Initiative and support from Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business to assist New York City residents in starting businesses. In 1998, the Center was named after Lawrence N. Field in appreciation for his generous contribution. Since its inception, the Center’s role as an engine for economic impact has been substantial: 16,277 businesses have been served; $110,551,952 invested in the area’s economy; and 5,676 jobs have been saved or created.

Ulas Neftci, Director of the Baruch Small Business Development Center, part of the Field Center for Entrepreneurship, says he has seen a wide range of businesses that have come in for assistance. “This can be from the mom and pop to the high growth technology venture,” he says. “These different stages and industries require different assistance but since we have advisors, faculty and students with a various array of backgrounds and experience we are able to cater to the needs of many.”

Neftci estimates more than 50% of the entrepreneurs that come to the Field Center for assistance are women entrepreneurs and women/men business partnerships. “There is great interest from women in various stages of their personal and professional life,” he says. “We see women who are ready to leave their current jobs to start a business or instead of joining the workforce they choose to start their business. We also have mothers who seek our assistance so they can start a business at home.”

Some of the Center’s most successful clients are women entrepreneurs, who have established their businesses in a variety of industries.

Here are some exemplars of success:

 

LorenBrillLoren Brill, Founder and SweetEO
Sweet Loren’s 100% Natural Baking Co.

1. How did you first get your idea for your business? What inspired you?

I started Sweet Loren's out of a personal need. At the age of 22, I overcame Hodgkin's Lymphoma and started to look at food very differently. I only wanted the best ingredients in my body ones that were natural, whole, and made from real ingredients. When I couldn't find any treats in the marketplace that I loved, and loved their ingredients, I knew that I was going to have to make my own. So, I started experimenting with cookie dough recipes using my sister as my Official Taste Tester. I believe that there's nothing better than a warm chocolate chip cookie...so I decided to create a cookie dough that you could actually feel great about eating. Food is best fresh without preservatives, and I think it's important for us all to cook fresh food as much as possible, which I hope Sweet Loren's helps people do.

2. How did you learn about the Field Center and its services?

I got into Columbia University's Columbia Community Business program. They hosted advisors to sign up with for 30 minutes at a time to help you problem solve. I got paired with Ulas who worked at Baruch Business Center. I was amazed with how helpful he was and how incredibly smart he was too. He invited me to come down to Baruch to chat more, and I had to take him up on it.

3. What did you find most beneficial from working with the Field Center?

Talking with Ulas was incredibly helpful. I met another woman who helped me with my business plan. I even got connected to Orrick Law Firm, who then took Sweet Loren's pro-bono. These were all huge in helping me launch the business as I started it all by myself, and needed to figure out how to create a business.

4. Do you have any advice for other women entrepreneurs who are seeking to start a business? If so, what is your one piece of advice?

My advice would be to work on your idea on the side until your idea really has legs and you know that you are on to something that can really make a difference in the world. Then, jump in with a plan 100%! You'll be learning tons along the way, the whole time, so enjoy the journey and pivot often as you learn from your customers and the marketplace changes. Continually improve and iterate your product or service. Nothing is more powerful than combining your passion with a business opportunity it's what brings magic into the world. I fully support women starting a business, just be ready for the rollercoaster it brings.

 

 

JillianFlexnerJillian Flexner, Co-founder and Executive Director
Fresh Squeezed Opera Company

1. How did you first get your idea for your business? What inspired you?

I have been a composer since I was a child. One of the biggest deterrents any composer faces is the constant question of “will this get performed.” These days, it is very hard to find ensembles that are willing to take risks with new music. My fascination for opera started when I studied abroad in Vienna, Austria for six months in college. When I came home, I entertained the idea of writing my own opera. But that thought of “will this get performed” kept popping in my head. I looked around for opera companies that performed new operas. The Metropolitan Opera performed 1 out of 26 every season, New York City Opera performed two, but other than that, it was slim pickin's. I started talking to my best friend, Mezzo-Soprano Maggie Rascoe about this hole in the market. Opera companies around the world did not want to take the risk with new music, and wanted to appease their ever-aging audience with the same old repertoire. I noticed from my peers that there was a growing interest in new and contemporary music. This launched our dream to start an opera company dedicated to presenting new operas.

2. How did you learn about the Field Center and its services?

I learned about the Field Center from a fellow Entrepreneurship MBA Major. I didn’t know the full extent of its services until I called and spoke to a representative on the phone. The possibilities of help from the Center seemed endless! It was actually a bit overwhelming at first.

3. What did you find most beneficial from working with the Field Center?

The Field Center will tailor their service to meet your needs. They have a variety of entrepreneurship advisers from many backgrounds that are ready to tackle any problem. The first time I came in, I needed help understanding how to start my non-profit opera company. They have an adviser that specifically helps non-profit businesses. Your adviser works and grows with your business ideas. The Field Center is not just a one-time consultation if you don’t want it to be. They are equipped with the tools and patience to help you see your business through to conception and beyond.

I was having trouble figuring out where to start. There is a lot to do in founding a company especially if it is a non-profit. The Field Center helped me create a timeline of what needed to be done in what order, from filing for a certificate of incorporation, to planning guerrilla marketing for our first production. They laid it all out in easy-to-handle steps.

4. Do you have any advice for other women entrepreneurs who are seeking to start a business? If so, what is your one piece of advice?

My advice to other women entrepreneurs is to be brave and take risks. I find that many of my peers shrink away from their dreams when it comes time to make a risky decision. They would rather stay in a comfortable job that might not be what they enjoy doing, rather than switch careers or even fields. But with enough hard work and patience, you can achieve anything. Help other women. Help each other. The Fresh Squeezed Opera Company hopes to host a call for scores exclusively for women to promote female composers and their performances.

 

ElizabethAlpernElizabeth Alpern, co-owner
The Gefilteria

1. How did you first get your idea for your business? What inspired you?

I have always been passionate about food, especially the food of my culture, Eastern European Jewish food. One day my now business partner, Jeffrey Yoskowitz, and I were discussing the sad state of the Jewish food we saw around us. As older generations got older and stopped making traditional foods, younger generations were not necessarily picking up where the older generations left off. We felt that there was a real need to reclaim and revitalize our food, and we saw friends from other cultural backgrounds who were doing so with their traditional foods. We were inspired to breathe new life into the foods we loved. Since we have opened, business has been doing great. Jeffrey and I will be publishing a book in 2016. The book will be published by Flatiron Books and it is titled: The Gefilte Manifesto: New Recipes for Old World Jewish Foods. It's going to be a really special book, a sort of extension of the original vision of The Gefilteria.

2. How did you learn about the Field Center and its services?

I'm not totally sure who first told me about it, but once I went as I client, I kept coming back and meeting with different specialists. Eventually I became a Field Fellow and

3. What did you find most beneficial from working with the Field Center?

I learned so much from each and every client that walked through the door. In particular, there is a lot of information to gain from the questions that people ask. Patterns start to emerge, and you see where roadblocks occur for entrepreneurs and then how they overcome them. The professors I worked with were patient with each client, helping them work through their challenges. I learned about how much your attitude can change everything, and even more importantly, how to be practical when planning your business so that you lay a solid foundation for growth.

4. Do you have any advice for other women entrepreneurs who are seeking to start a business? If so, what is your one piece of advice?

Save up your money for a while and then go for it and take a risk. There's no reason to be unhappy or stuck in your job. The potential is there and you just need to identify it and go for it.

 

ElenaKosarnajaElena Kosharny, Founder
FIVEAM Lingerie Co.

1. How did you first get your idea for your business? What inspired you?

I’ve always been interested in fashion and business and have an independent personality. The lingerie industry is dominated by large companies and I saw an opportunity to introduce a new concept and offer an alternative to the mainstream brands. Our upcoming holiday campaign will focus on inspiring women to be confident with their body and their image.

2. How did you learn about the Field Center and its services?

I was introduced to the Field Center by one of my entrepreneurship professors as a place for counseling, guidance, advice, and mentorship for young entrepreneurs taking their first steps in building a business. I also was truly inspired by Professor Alison Lehr-Samuels who taught me how to think out of the box and trust your instincts. Likewise, Professor Mary Ann Holley, who is an amazing example of a successful, smart, and confident entrepreneur, always made me think of how important it is for women entrepreneurs to support each other and don’t give up even when things fall apart.

3. What did you find most beneficial from working with the Field Center?

I attended many amazing workshops for marketing, branding, and positioning. These workshops helped me navigate the business into the right direction, with a solid vision of where I am headed and what market I am catering to. This is a crucial point for a business to have a clear understanding of what your product is, and who is your customer.

4. Do you have any advice for other women entrepreneurs who are seeking to start a business? If so, what is your one piece of advice?

Don’t be afraid to fail, be criticized or misunderstood. Let that serve as your motivation to succeed and excel. Set a specific goal, have that image in your head vividly, and don’t doubt that you will ever reach it. Unfortunately, it is still a challenge for women to build their careers as entrepreneurs, because of common misconceptions about women in business, but that can only change if more and more women will be confident and persistent in fulfilling their dreams. Mine is FIVE AM.

 

For more information about The Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship and Baruch Small Business Development Center, call (646) 312-4790 or email EShip@baruch.cuny.edu.

 

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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. 4 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/.

 

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Manny Romero, (646) 660-6141, manuel.romero@baruch.cuny.edu
Mercedes Sanchez, (646) 660-6112, mercedes.sanchez@baruch.cuny.edu
Celene McDermott, (646) 660-6134 celene.mcdermott@baruch.cuny.edu



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