Business oriented City College students asked successful entrepreneurs questions and networked on Friday afternoon at the Scheinfeld Center’s biannual Enlightened Entrepreneur Series.
Twice a year a significant chief executive officer or business founder visits the event hosted at the center. Although geared toward students, the event is open to the public. The founders of prominent companies including Patagonia, Lucky Brand Jeans, and Kinko’s are previous attendees of the event. The audience shapes the discussion by submitting individual topics through a Google form prior to the event.
This year the series welcomed a panel of six; Gary Kravetz, Robin Eschler, Mike Panesis, Susan Block, Robert Herr and Norah Eddy. Herr and Eddy are both funded entrepreneurs who shared knowledge they gained through their experiences building a business at a young age. Kravetz, Eschler, Panesis, and Block have professional backgrounds in different types of investing and provided information about building a startup from the investors side of the process.
The variety of the age and background on the panel provided the audience with a selection of advice to be inspired from.
Julie Samson, director of the center, opened the series by introducing the panel members one by one as they took their seat on stage on stage in the Fe Bland Forum in the Scheinfeld Center. Samson stayed on stage with the panel for the remainder of the event to ask questions.
Samson asked what types of funding the investors are best suited for considering they all specialize in different forms of investing. Kravetz explained that venture capital is geared toward small businesses.
“When I’m interested in funding a kickstarter there are specific qualities I’m looking for; years of backhistory, a client who shows enough interest, and good credit and equity,” said Kravetz.
Eschler specializes in crowdfunding, or the practice of funding a project or venture by collecting contributions from a large number of people. GoFundMe is a popular non-profit crowdfunding site. Panesis is an Angel Investor. Angel investing is a more serious deal that is geared towards making profit through ownership equity.
Herr and Eddy emphasized the importance of making connections.
The panel continued to discuss gender as being another disadvantage of the business world, but emphasized that women should not be discouraged from pursuing business.
“Although men have more popular startups, women are better at getting contributors and forming relationships meaning they typically get more money regardless of how popular business,” Eschler said.
The series ended with a networking session for the audience to get an opportunity for personal discussions with the panel members.
“I’m incredibly thankful for the established entrepreneurs in our community who supported this and made today possible.” said Samson.