City College gives students entrepreneurial launch pad

Dr.+Jon+Anton+teaches+the+Enterprise+Launch+class+examples+of+student-made+business+ideas+on+Friday%2C+Feb.+21%2C+in+the+Scheinfeld+Center.

Katelyn Biedrzycki

Dr. Jon Anton teaches the Enterprise Launch class examples of student-made business ideas on Friday, Feb. 21, in the Scheinfeld Center.

David C. Ridings, Channels Staff

Bringing entrepreneurial ideas to life, the Scheinfeld Center offers a unique opportunity for City College students to work with mentors in a business environment.

“Take what skills you have and turn it into a money machine,” said Dr. Jon Anton, entrepreneur-in-residence and mentor. “The hardest part of the start-up is in fact, starting up.”

Students are given the opportunity to “rapid launch” their ideas in a matter of a semester in Business 290: Work Experience, Enterprise Launch.

E-Launch course instructor and director of the Scheinfeld Center, Melissa Moreno, as well as six mentors meet with their class for three hours every Friday. The class consists of workshops and exercises that build knowledge of the world of business and innovation.

“I’ve wanted to be an entrepreneur since I was 14-years-old,” said Christian Barry, business, emphasis in entrepreneurship, major. “Any information I can get to help make a living is information that I want.”

On the first day of class, Anton passes around two bricks of money, each consisting of $1,000 in singles and asks the students to take a deep breath of the freshly minted bills. The students become full of zest as the incentive makes its way around the room.

Dr. Jon Anton teaches the Enterprise Launch class examples of student-made business ideas on Friday, Feb. 21, in the Scheinfeld Center.
Dr. Jon Anton teaches the Enterprise Launch class examples of student-made business ideas on Friday, Feb. 21, in the Scheinfeld Center.

Moreno and Anton explained that every two weeks students can win $200 from his bricks as a reward for the best business pitch.

All of the people who enter the classroom must sign a non-disclosure agreement in order to legally protect the student’s business ideas from being stolen.

Moreno asks students to pitch an original 60-second business proposition to the class as their first exercise of the semester—if they have one, that is.

This semester, out of a class of about 50 students, there were 28 different pitches presented on day one. Moreno mentioned that she only expected about 10 pitches.

The six mentors sit along-side the students during class. There’s always new information being thrown around from all angles of the room.

“Don’t get all hung up on inventing the one product that will make you good,” Anton said. “It’s much better to allow us to teach you the steps of starting a company and you can do that with almost any product.”

Moreno and the mentors build professional relationships with their students during the semester.

“I give credit to Bonnie Chavez [class mentor] for informing me about the program and for helping me grow interest in starting my own business,” said Vasu Patel, business administration major.

The class aims to produce 10-12 products between 10-12 teams. Moreno mentioned that there’s a little bit of competition between mentors and their teams.

The students enrolled in the E-Launch course are eligible to use their business idea for the New Venture Challenge. This is an event where students will have the opportunity to pitch a business presentation to a panel of “sharks” for a cash prize of $1,000.

Mentor David Pollock mentioned that the concepts and principles learned in the class can not only be applied to individual ideas but also a career after the class is over.