NYC Venture Fellows Week
By David Gilford, Elena Mayer, Ann Li and Steven Strauss
Center for Economic Transformation
The all-star first class of NYC Venture Fellows—a year-long fellowship program that connects emerging business leaders from around the world with mentors from leading companies—gathered together in August for a week of events to develop their business networks in New York City. By doing so, the program assists foreign companies in opening offices and employing people here, while facilitating the international growth of local companies.
International Fellows traveled from China, India, the UK, Germany, and Vancouver, Canada to participate. The week gave Fellows an opportunity to connect with each other, spending time sharing the latest developments in their organizations and other best practices since joining the program in December.
The highlights? An entrepreneurship discussion with a cross-section of NYC’s vibrant startup community: Silicon Alley 100 members, NYC Turing Fellows, TechStars, FinTech Innovation Lab, NYC Seedstart, HackNY Summer Fellows, ER Accelerator, and DreamIt New York. “Our mentors, [with] their expertise and their connections, can help us a lot,” said Haidong Pan, founder, Chairman and CEO of Hudong, the Chinese equivalent of Wikipedia.
Carlos Moncayo, co-founder and CEO of ASIAM, a China-based garment manufacturing management company that provides an edge to Latin American clothing brands, said that his mentors Albert Wenger of Union Square Ventures and Ken Hicks of Foot Locker were extremely helpful resources during his explorations on how to expand ASIAM’s global presence.
The program also helped Fellows Olga Kubassova, founder and Managing Director of Image Analysis Ltd., and Felix Haas, co-founder and CEO of event registration software amiando, develop a strong understanding for how to do business in the United States, a market that both believe would be promising for their companies. In addition, both found that doing business in the United States was remarkably efficient compared to their European experiences, as they accomplished significant business development leads in only a few days’ time in NYC.
Another highlight of the week was a visit to Hunts Point to meet with Fellow Adam Green’s social venture, Rocking the Boat (see photos above). Fellows rowed on the Bronx River while learning about how Adam’s non-profit uses traditional boatbuilding techniques and on-water training to help young people in the South Bronx develop into empowered and responsible adults. To brainstorm development and fundraising strategies, the not-for-profit Fellows also met with experts from Fordham University, NYCEDC’s partner in the NYC Venture Fellows program.
The Fellows will next be together as an entire class to close out their year in the program in early 2012, while welcoming the next class of Fellows.