Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

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Catherine Zhang[email protected]

How to Start a Startup at Cornell

Student Groups

Cornell Alpha Kappa Psi - Co-ed professional business fraternity

Cornell Association of Computer Science Undergraduates (ACSU) - Cornell's chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery

Design and Tech Initiative (DTI) - engineering group that develops software solutions for the community. You can apply to various project teams within the club to learn more about web development, product management, and more

Big Red MicroEnterprise - a student-run educational experience that spurs microenterprise development by helping self-employed individuals reach their business goals.

Cornell AppDev - project team dedicated to developing web and mobile solutions to problems facing the Cornell and greater Ithaca community

Cornell Data Science - undergraduate project team that builds data-driven solutions to a variety of real-world problems from disaster response to creating a better Amazon user experience

CU Sustainability Hub - The Hub develops innovative sustainability initiatives to improve the infrastructure and operations on campus, related to clean energy, waste reduction, and carbon neutrality.

Design Connect Cornell - provides practical experience to students through cooperation with local municipalities and non-profit organizations while providing design and planning services for these groups that may not have the resources to hire professionals.

Theta Tau - Professional Engineering Fraternity at Cornell

Cornell Underrepresented Minorities in Computing (URMC) - the purpose of URMC is to promote diversity within the computing fields and foster an environment that empowers underrepresented minorities with technological aspirations through career development, community building and academic support.

Women in Computing at Cornell (WICC) - aims to foster a supportive community of women* and allies equipped with the resources needed to recognize and overcome challenges through outreach events, career development programming and community building

Accelerators and Incubators

ELab - an accelerator for student startups that takes no equity. Offers mentorship, $5k investment, legal consultation and more.

McGovern Center - a startup incubator to help develop young Cornell life science companies

Praxis Center for Venture Development - helps Cornell engineering, digital and physical science startup companies grow from interesting ideas to self sufficient enterprises. The Center focuses on accelerating the development of client companies' technologies or products, validating client companies' value propositions and strengthening client companies' management teams.

Rev: Ithaca Startup Works - a business incubator and workspace in Ithaca, NY. Offers business mentorship, workspace, and startup resources for any new or growing business that will create jobs in the community.

Rev's Summer Hardware Accelerator - an 11-week Napkin-to-Prototype Hardware Accelerator summer program that leads product teams through a process for determining if their ideas are commercially desirable, technologically viable, and economically feasible. Upon completion of our program, Hardware Alums are positioned to recruit team members, bring on partners, work with contract manufacturers, and pitch to investors.

LifeChanging Labs Summer Incubator -an 8-week program that enables founders and life changers to develop their company and consult with experts in fields ranging from legal corporations to branding and marketing.

Hackathons and Competitions

BigRed//Hacks - Cornell's oldest and largest hackathon each September - completely student-run, spans 3 days

Cornell Animal Health Hackathon - an interdisciplinary hackathon that brings together students from diverse backgrounds including veterinary medicine, engineering, and business to solve animal health challenges in a fun and competitive learning environment.

Cornell DigitalAg Hackathon - Cornell's digital agriculture hackathon - any student in any major is welcome. Programming includes conversations with senior leaders and faculty from four colleges, networking with companies creating the agri-tech industry, and ~36 hours to level up your digital ag experience. Up to $8000 in cash prizes

Hospitality Business Plan Competition - annual competition that begins at the start of the academic year when students form teams and develop executive summaries for their business plans. The competition ends in early spring during Hotel Ezra Cornell (HEC), when the student teams submit their final business plans and semi-finalist teams make their presentations to a judging panel that selects the top three concepts as winners. Cash prizes for the top three finishers total over $35,000

University Resources

Cornell Startup Tree - Online platform to find Cornell startups, co-founders, and employees

Blackstone Launchpad - provides founders in college with entrepreneurship opportunities and education, mentorship, global programming and more. A go-to resource that is easily accessible at any stage in the startup creation process

Societal Solutions Scholars Program - Provides mentorship from faculty and social entrepreneurs, as well as up to $20,000 in funding

Student Business of the Year - Each year, Entrepreneurship at Cornell honors one Cornell student business as the Student Business of the Year in April. There is a $5000 cash prize for the winning team.

Jacobs Technion Cornell Institute - Fosters radical experimentation at the intersection of research, education, and entrepreneurship

Cornell Tech Campus - Campus in NYC with a focus on tech entrepreneurship opportunities and resources

[email protected] - Diverse, university-wide program that finds and fosters the entrepreneurial spirit in participants from every college, every field, and in every stage of life

Janet McKinley '74 Grant​ - $5,000 in funding for sophomore entrepreneurial projects

Cornell Cvisors - Collection of Cornell alumni mentors for students to access

Societal Solutions Scholars Program - facilitates student-driven innovation through a 2 year program within the Dyson School

Environmental Finance and Impact Investing Fellows Program - Trains Cornell S.C. Johnson students to innovate at the intersection of sustainability and finance on projects that address climate change, ecosystem services, and poverty alleviation

Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at Johnson - Pioneers new approaches to business model creation and sustainable global strategies

Center for Transformative Action - provides fiscal sponsorship to innovative, non-profit social entrepreneurs within New York State

Ehub - Co-working and collaboration space for Cornell students

Notable Courses

AEM 3249 - Entrepreneurial Marketing and Strategy

HADM 4130 - Entrepreneurial Management

NBA 5380 - The Business Idea Factory

ILRHR 6611 - Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurial Organizations

AEM 3110 - Design and Innovation

NBA 6910 - Physical Product Entrepreneurship

ENGRG 4610/ MAE 4610 / ORIE 4152 - Entrepreneurship for Engineers

NBA 6029 - Leading Agile Innovation

NBA 6230 / NBA 6330 Actualizing Your Startup - Part I and Part II - Cornell's competitive student business accelerator program open to students in any college/school

Entrepreneurship Course Listing


Contrary - University-focused venture fund investing up to $500K in emerging startups launching from the university scene around the US

Dorm Room Fund - First Round Capital's pre-seed investing branch - providing up to $20k to student startups

RDV - General Catalyst's pre-seed investing branch - student team building a large network of student founders

Big Red Ventures - Early stage fund run by Johnson MBA students

Red Bear Angels - Network of Cornell alumni angel investors

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