Entrepreneurial Greenhouse Program

Jennifer Wright-Laracy '09 of GreenBox on her business, the MBA entrepreneurial experience, and pitching to ABC's Shark Tank.

The Entrepreneurial Greenhouse Program helps second year Columbia Business School students to prepare their businesses for investment by providing support and guidance throughout the semester, funding for pre-launch expenses, access to experts in key fields, and opportunities to present business concepts to professional investors. In its inaugural year, more than half of the ventures incubated in the Greenhouse were launched by graduation.

A highly selective screening process determines entrance into this class. To apply, second year students submit an application and make a formal presentation to the Greenhouse Selection Committee in the fall semester.

During their participation in the class, students consult with seed funders to refine their presentations. Sponsors — which include venture capital firms, Internet incubators, law firms, technology providers, and accounting and consulting firms — provide financial support, pro bono services, and advice.

The Greenhouse class provides seed funders with the opportunity to invest in student projects and also helps many students prepare for application to the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurial Initiative Fund. 

Application / Selection Requirements and Details

  1. Detailed application, which includes several questions on the applicant’s venture and team. **Want to review the questions before officially submitting? Download the Greenhouse application sneak peek.**
  2. One-peer and one-CBS-affiliated (faculty or staff) letter of recommendation. **Each recommendation should be limited to 150 words or less. You will copy and paste the content into the form.  Alternatively you can send your recommendation letters directly to Sandra Merrill at skm2147@columbia.edu. Please indicate in the subject heading: "Greenhouse letter of Recommendation," and make sure your name is saved as part of the documents' name.
  3. 1-minute video describing the team and product/service, uploaded to YouTube.

2015 Application Deadline

Deadline 2015 to be announced.

A selection committee reviews all applications to determine who will be invited to present for admissions consideration in front of a handpicked board of investors and other industry experts.

Teams selected to present in front of the board for admission into the program are required to share an up to 15 slide presentation deck for a corresponding 5 minute pitch with Sandra Merrill (skm2147@columbia.edu). This year's admissions process will take place on December 4, 2015. See below on what to expect.

Presentations should cover (this is subject to change):

  • Overview of business including financials (3 min)
  • How the Greenhouse Program will help to achieve business objectives & plans following graduation (1 min)
  • Team structure and relationship /closing remarks (1 minute)

What to Expect on Presentation Day

Finalists present to a handpicked group of venture capitalists. The length of your presentation will be 5 minutes followed by 5 minutes of Q&A. The 5 minute time frame is a strict and hard one –please practice!  We encourage you to limit your slide deck to a maximum of 10 slides. Evaluation forms will be completed by the venture capitalists in your room after every presentation. We will do our best to stay on schedule. To prepare for delays, however, please plan on being available at least 5-10 minutes prior to your presentation time and plan on staying at least 15 minutes after.


Please wear business attire and your official Columbia Business School name badge.

Evaluation Criteria

 Presentations will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Feasibility including market assessment
  • Profitability for profit-making ventures/financial sustainability for not for profit ventures
  • Competitive insulation and strategic differentiation/advantage
  • Risk identification and management
  • Passion and commitment of founder
  • Quality of presentation
  • Knowledge of key elements of the business 

Admission Decisions

You will receive an email from The Lang Center informing you of your admittance into the program very shortly after the admissions event. Students admitted into the course must bid 1,000 points in order to officially reserve a seat.

Have a question or need help?

Sandra Merrill
The Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center
2M Uris Hall