Entrepreneurs of New York Fund Comes to Broad Street


Sarah Hinton

This summer, in an incubator space at 20 Utica Street in Hamilton, Colgate students and alumni alike worked to promote their homegrown businesses through the Entrepreneurs of New York (ENY) Fund.   

After starting last spring, ENY is an initiative that helps plant businesses in upstate New York. Alumni who strongly support the endeavors of Colgate entrepreneurs have provided funding and mentorship to students and young alumni to help nurture their fledgling businesses. The fund was started by alumni who want students to take advantage of the liberal arts education and the resources Colgate provides to students. Instead of taking a class in business, students are able to experience the real work world while in school. The fund is a unique opportunity for students to follow their dreams and passions with a network of support.

During the spring semester of 2013, over 40 teams with business plans applied for the grants worth $15,000 each. Proposals were judged based on the group’s demonstrated ability to execute, as well as the projects’ proposed social impact, marketing viability and development strategies. After consideration by a board of alumni, six groups were awarded the fund.  

These included GateSwap, an online resource for college students to exchange goods and services; Recipe into Reality, an application where one can purchase the ingredients to various recipes; Real Abroad, a travel site entirely dedicated to students; ProtoExchange, a 3D printing network; Good Nature Brewing, a brewery that uses all local ingredients; and Shindig, an application dedicated to discovering new drinks and cocktails.

The groups worked in the space formerly occupied by Parry’s Hardware Store for 10 weeks this summer to address the top priorities of their ventures. In the space, the groups were able to work together, gaining insight from other students and their business experiences.

The students received advice and mentorship from successful entrepreneurs, Colgate alumni and Parents, David Perry of Google, Andy Greenfield of Greenfield Consulting Group, Dan Rosensweig of Chegg and Wills

Hapworth of Darkhorse Investors.

“Our goal is to build companies organically from the bottom-up,” co-founder of another Colgate entrepreneur initiative Thought into Action Wills Hapworth ’07 said. “Colgate builds a unique character like no other, and the students are innovative. They come ready to take their ideas to the next level. It is awesome that these students actually work on a venture that interests and inspires them. They are not sitting in a class; they are

gaining real experience.”

“It was a great summer,” Co-Founder of GateSwap junior Gabe Zetter said. “We were able to hire a computer programmer with the fund and work on our site. We’re developing a mobile site, so it is more accessible from your phone.”

“We had this idea our freshman year, and its actually coming together. It’s pretty cool,”

Zetter said.

Those involved in ENY look forward to the continued growth of this new program and hope it will continue to provide the access and opportunity that it has for the six groups this summer.

“We hope this fund can grow.  It really has given such amazing opportunities to develop a

business,” Hapworth said.

Contact Sara Hinton at [email protected]