During the Fall 2018 semester, there was a call for applications among graduate students and upper-level undergraduates at The New School who sought support developing financially sustainable ventures with the potential for scalable impact. Eleven teams were selected to participate in the Spring 2018 Venture Lab course and given the opportunity to pitch for prize money. Two of the eleven were Milano teams: Anthony Meyer (OCM) Leading ChangeMakers; Cheryl Bennett (EPSM) and Ralph Olacio (EPSM) Nightingale Farms.
Hosted by The New School’s Impact Entrepreneurship Initiative (IEI), the competition gave students enrolled in the Venture Lab course the chance to sell their ideas and receive constructive feedback from New York City-based socially engaged entrepreneurs. Shaun Johnson, co-founder of Startup Institute, gave a keynote address.
Four winners were announced at the recent pitch event, including Milano student Anthony Meyer. Anthony is the founder of Leading ChangeMakers, an initiative that provides professionals of color in the nonprofit arts and culture sector with leadership development opportunities.
Cheryl Bennett is the founder of Nightingale Farms, an abandoned coffee farm in the Jamaica Blue Mountains that will be agro- ecologically restored in an effort to create a green economy for smallholding farmers in the region. Once restored, the farm will offer ecotourism retreats to facilitate meaningful connections between the visitor/consumer and farmer/producer. In collaboration with educational institutions, the farm will also develop an ongoing service learning program to promote sustainable farming practices.
Reflecting The New School’s focus on social engagement and entrepreneurship, Venture Lab provides students with the support, resources, and capacity they need to build financially sustainable businesses that address critical societal challenges.
“The world of careers has changed so much in the last decade,” says Michele Kahane, faculty director of IEI, Milano professor of professional practice, and associate dean for social engagement. “Through Venture Lab, students develop a broad range of skills and a mindset that is not only crucial to advancing their careers but also critical to addressing pressing issues.”
Congratulations to both Milano teams!
Anthony Meyer (OCM) Pitch Event Winner Cheryl Bennett (EPSM) and Ralph Olacio (EPSM)