June 20, 2013

Columbia Entrepreneurs Lab Opens Its Doors

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A program to bridge the educational and cultural gaps between Chinese and American students, an app to help motorists get their cars fixed, and a news aggregator are among the 13 ideas selected for the first-ever Columbia Entrepreneurs Lab.

Run by the School’s Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center, the lab is a co-working space, located on the Morningside Heights Campus, where teams of students from across the University can collaborate on their business ventures over the summer free of charge. In the first class, more than 20 students, representing seven different schools at Columbia, are participating.

“I think this class of entrepreneurs provides a solid start to the CEL initiative,” said Derek Lee ’08, one of two facilitators, along with Barbara Roberts, who will mentor the students. “Our goal is to provide them with skills and, perhaps more importantly, experiences they can bring with them into the fall.”

Lee is an entrepreneur himself, specializing in quantitative finance, social media, advertising technology, and real estate. His most recent ventures (LG Fairmont Group and RealVertical) focus on combining modern Internet and mobile-based customer acquisition with hyper-efficient resource allocation to the real estate industry.

Roberts, an adjunct professor at the Business School, is director of the Columbia Community Business Program, which supports the growth and development of for-profit businesses in Upper Manhattan. Among other roles, she also co-facilitates the Lang Center’s New Venture Track Program with Lee, which provides a peer network and coaching to entrepreneurial students over the summer.