Google, New York City, Cornell University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology join forces to form a school offering classes in computer coding, but it is looking to compete with online education empires offering courses in venture management and bent on building a good reputation. Twenty-two thousand feet of the Google campus in New York opens in July for this venture dubbed “CornellNYC Tech.” Intended to function like the entrepreneurial incubators of the dot com era, this new school combines entrepreneurial skills-building with science. Google’s NYC campus Envisioned as an applied-sciences school while the institution’s new campus is built on Roosevelt Island in the East River.
This project is an outgrowth of a drive to create a new model for entrepreneurial and job creation activity. The idea is to provide a place where world class academic researchers interact with entrepreneurial thinkers, business talent and early stage seed capital to produce an ever-flowing pipeline of new products. The hope of all parties is that medical researchers understand the imperatives of profitability and manufacturability; business people garner a deeper understanding of science and discovery and that both produce new solutions to a wide variety of problems.
Just as the incubators of Silicon Valley formed to nurture new business ventures, CornellNYC Tech ‘s mandate is engaging and encouraging scientists and techies to create new businesses in close proximity to the venture capital sources of New York. There is a fairly long history of success with similar concepts in California and Massachussets. MIT founded and runs the Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship.
A report first published in 2009 and updated in 2011, “Entrepreneurial Impact: The Role of MIT” summarized the economic impact of companies founded by MIT entrepreneur alumni. Based on one of the largest surveys of entrepreneur alumni ever conducted, the report estimates that there were 25,600 active companies founded by living MIT alumni, employing 3.3 million people and generating annual world revenues of nearly $2 trillion by the end of 2006. Professor Edward Roberts, the Trust Center founder and chair and Charles Eesley, who authored the report stated that: “This group of companies, if its own nation, would be the 11th-largest economy in the world.”
MIT’s findings that entrepreneurship can be fostered are echoed in a similar report from the Kauffman Foundation’s center for Entrepreneurs. The Kauffman center report found that entrepreneurs are made and not born. There is no single entrepreneurial gene, but there are a constellation of traits and experiences that determine the likelihood of success, these include things like: prior experience in the industry/discipline of the venture; in lieu of experience, an entrepreneur needs an advanced degree in the industry/discipline; willingness to take risks as well as humility.
Some of the key problems that entrepreneurs face in beginning new businesses are things like: finding people with the right values and skills; people with broad business knowledge as well as deep technical knowledge and finally, the biggest problem of all is access to financing at critical times during the growth of the company.
If it uses the lessons learned by MIT, Silicon Valley and the Kauffman Center, New York’s CornellNYC Tech might prove a fount of innovation and revival for the city at a time when it is sorely needed.