Spotlight on Student Entrepreneurs

Heart Pocket Watch Necklace by Jezie Jewelry. Photo courtesy of Jezie Jewelry.

Written by Lauren Tai

Entrepreneurship is becoming a new buzzword at Stern, with more students joining clubs like the Stern Entrepreneurial Exchange Group and the CAS Entrepreneurship Association. It has become a greater topic of discussion and an option for many students taking an active interest in the field.

Gallatin freshman Taylor Tobin is the creator of OneRightWater, a social venture in the business of selling reusable water bottles. For every bottle sold online, one water filter is donated to citizens of Myanmar, through a partnership with Thirst Aid. Her idea came about after reading about the global water crisis and realizing that she could create a nonprofit to help solve this issue. By creating a tangible product, she felt that her generation could easily contribute to her social impact goal.

Tobin’s most difficult challenges were in managing logistics and establishing credibility in the market. Over the course of two years, her organization has directly helped over 4,985 people in Myanmar. When asked what advice she would give other interested students, Tobin said, “If you really want to be successful, be prepared to face difficulties but try to have fun at the same time. You have to love it.”

Stern freshman Stephanie Zhang offers the same advice. Zhang is the creator of Jezie Jewelry, an online store specializing in hand-made jewelry. “Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved Do-It-Yourself activities and arts and crafts so I always made jewelry for fun,” said Zhang, “It was then that I made a little online store with originally only five items that has now expanded to over fifty items and have shipped to over twenty countries.” Zhang is the head of speaker series for EEG and hopes that one day her business will expand to boutiques and celebrities.

“The reason I believe that less people go into entrepreneurship after Stern is because we have a heavy focus on finance,” said Gordon Wong, Stern freshman and Director of Operations for EEG, “However, entrepreneurship is a growing industry and with the right means people can become very successful.”

The list of successful NYU alumni entrepreneurs includes the founders of Audible.com, Foursquare, Etsy, Seamless and Twitter.

Budding entrepreneurs at Stern can take part in various events, such as the EEX Conference held on April 4th, hosted by EEG, which included a diverse line-up of speakers, a keynote by Arianna Huffington, as well as panels on innovation, mobile technology and food entrepreneurship.

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