i2e, the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) philosophy of invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship, has been around for a very long time. Innovation and invention abound in school: students find better ways to conduct lab work, pore over ideas for patents, and research emerging technologies. But the path to entrepreneurship is less obvious. The NYU-Poly Entrepreneurship and Innovation Association (EIA) is trying to change that.
Recently, EIA hosted a Teamhunt Kick-off Event. Billed as “speed dating for builder and thinkers." The event buzzed with energy. Undergraduate, graduate, and former students as well as people working around New York City flooded the room. Those with potential startup ideas were given beads and those willing to collaborate were given color-coded stickers (I chose orange as an engineer). Even before the event officially started, the entire room was alive with introductions, idea sharing, and networking.
At the beginning of the meeting, advisor and founder of EIA, Steve Kuyan moved around the room, talking to one person after the other, workshopping ideas, and encouraging people to sit with others they might not know. “Few generations before had the potential to make the same impact on society as this one, utilize your time at NYU-Poly and take advantage of resources like EIA,” Kuyan told the attendees at the beginning of the meeting.
The idea that everyone has an idea worth exploring was a recurring theme at the event. Ali Al-Ebrahim, president of EIA, also explored the idea that the failure of a startup is not a failure in the classic sense. As Ali eloquently said, “If your startup does not work out, instead of simply being a failure, with a startup you have gained valuable experience.”
“There are three types of people,” Ali joked, “People who have ideas, but don’t know where to start, people who are excited to try something, but have no ideas, and the most common type of people at NYU-Poly, people who have no idea where they are. EIA targets all of these people.” The focus of EIA is teaching entrepreneurship as a skillset. The founders and members all agree that EIA gives students the opportunity to make use of the resources provided to them by Poly.
EIA will also host a series of classes throughout this year for students interested in entrepreneurship. The topics will cover everything from how to find time to run a company while juggling schoolwork to prototyping potential ideas. Each of the classes and steps funnel startups into the annual Inno/Vention Competition.
By providing a forum for students from various backgrounds and areas of interest who are all interested in exploring the next big thing, EIA has done something no class at NYU-Poly ever could; they have found a way for students to realize the full potential of their ideas while still in school.
For more information about EIA, click here.