Jeffrey Carr of NYU Stern’s Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship Talks About Need for Mentors in NY Startup Scene

Let’s be honest; the rush to grab funding in the New York startup community has brought out committed entrepreneurs as well as the ne’er-do-wells looking to make a quick buck. Not everyone is born with the savvy to create a killer idea, but Jeffrey Carr works to help those who—with the right mentors—can produce solid businesses. “One of the hurdles New York City has is, as good as the tech scene is, you’ve got to get those people together,” he says.

Carr is the executive director of the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship at the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University, which connects its students with experienced entrepreneurs and others from the business community eager to share their knowledge. Carr says such mentors can help new entrepreneurs who keep open minds about their real world prospects. “I’m not naïve enough to think people actually learn from other people’s mistakes,” he says.

Brian Cohen, vice chairman of investor group New York Angels, says the local startup community needs more stringent scrutiny to separate the business ideas with potential from the driftwood. “There is a lot of room for improvement on the rigor that startups require,” he says.

At the NY Tech Meetup on Sept. 6, Cohen presented Carr and his team from the Berkley Center with the first ever Outstanding Professionals for their Entrepreneurial Leadership (OPEL) Award for their efforts counseling entrepreneurs and connecting them with experiences mentors. The award, created by New York Angels, will be presented annually to leaders who help nurture the local startup community.

Carr says New York’s entrepreneurial scene is very different compared with the hubs on the West Coast. He sees a need for more mentors and investors in New York who raise questions about the marketability of fledgling companies. “A lot of money here comes out of Wall Street; they’re private equity people,” Carr says. “In Silicon Valley, … Next Page »

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