St. Francis College Partners with Startup Nursery to Launch Innovation Center
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, NY – For college students to succeed in our modern economy, there is no substitute for hands-on experience. SFC Innovate, a new office dedicated to enhancing co-curricular experiences and career exploration opens this month at Industry City in Brooklyn, NY. The office, a partnership between St. Francis College and Ikove Venture Partners, gives St. Francis College students the opportunity to intern with startup companies and network with the hundreds of companies based in Industry City.
SFC Innovate will connect students to 21st-century jobs and internships by offering experiences in a variety of career fields, from management and accounting to communications and public service.
"St. Francis College has done an amazing job over the past few years bringing professionals from all fields to our campus to train students how to be successful in modern careers," says Jennifer Lancaster, vice president for Academics and academic dean. "Now we're going to the center of an amazing small business hub, giving our students access to new and growing companies where they can put their skills to use."
SFC Innovate is expected to open in August, shortly before the Fall 2018 semester begins. It will hire two new Entrepreneurs in Residence, serving as liaison between the college and the more than 450 businesses in residence at Industry City. The Entrepreneurs in Residence will coach student entrepreneurs and assist them in developing business skills including leadership, self-reflection, managing others, and communication. In addition, they will work to raise the profile of the college and forge relationships with other companies at Industry City.
"The Ikove team as well as our portfolio companies are excited to expand our presence through this partnership with SFC," says Rodolfo Bellesi, co-founder and principal of Ikove Venture Partners. "In our Startup Nursery, we focus on turning concepts into companies and look forward to sharing our business acumen with the talented students entering our workforce."
SFC Innovate will be home to Ikove's newly launched FinTech Startup Nursery and serve as a launchpad for Ikove's technology portfolio. Launching an internship program with SFC, Ikove will hire student interns to help with business development.
"While there is little doubt our professors provide a first-rate education for SFC students, this partnership will place faculty and students alike in an entrepreneurial eco-system that is second to none while also expanding learning opportunities in very significant ways," adds St. Francis College President Miguel Martinez-Saenz. "In addition, the collaboration with Ikove will provide students with a first-hand look at the world of start-ups in ways that are sure to transform their understanding of what is possible."
"Academic institutions are an integral component of the innovation economy ecosystem we are building at Industry City," said Andrew Kimball, CEO of Industry City. "The integration of academic institutions like St. Francis College into our community of 450+ tech, media, design, and production companies will strengthen the local talent pipeline and fuel creative and research-based collaborations between our tenants and beyond."
Ikove Venture Partners is a venture development company founded to pursue early stage investments with an emphasis on technology commercialization. Through its proprietary Startup Nursery, in partnership with multiple U.S. research institutions, Ikove identifies and validates developing high-impact technologies, providing capital and resources to bridge the commercialization gap between lab and market. Over the last three years, Ikove has successfully launched 10 technology companies and created over $100M in equity value through its Startup Nursery.
Industry City is a 6-million-square-foot mixed-use complex comprised of 16 buildings spanning 35 acres on the waterfront in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The property's ownership—led by Belvedere Capital, Jamestown and Angelo Gordon & Co. —is transforming the complex, while cultivating a diverse tenant mix that fuses today's burgeoning innovation economy with traditional manufacturing and artisanal craft. To date, the transformation has included over $250 million of infrastructure improvements, the addition of destination courtyards, experience-driven dining, retail, and other amenitization and event programing. This work is paving the way toward a vibrant and diverse community of forward-thinking companies that support good-paying jobs for workers across skill and experience levels. Since the new partnership was forged in August 2013, businesses based at Industry city have grown by an average of 100 jobs per month, increasing employment from 1,900 jobs in 2013 to 7,000 jobs today.
St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, NY. Since its founding, the college has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City's five boroughs and beyond.