Ogbemudia ’25 Builds Skincare Startup at Cornell
When Osaiyekemwen (Ruth) Ogbemudia ’25 stepped onto Cornell’s campus her freshman year, she wasted no time getting involved with the university’s robust entrepreneurial ecosystem. In just two years, she has made the most of opportunities like the Black Entrepreneurs in Training (BET) program, W.E. Cornell, and the Epperson Entrepreneurship Fund to develop her skincare startup, ÒMÓSÈ. Not only has she grown her company, but along the way, she’s also gained confidence in her abilities and acquired insight for other aspiring young entrepreneurs. ÒMÓSÈ is a skincare brand that makes regenerative creams to fade hyperpigmentation, scars, and stretch marks in all complexions, with a focus on celebrating underrepresented forms of beauty. The company is currently developing novel technology which will focus on minimizing waste and excess skincare product needs through reusable equipment that optimizes the skin’s barrier and biome. Ogbemudia’s sister, Osariemen, thought of the idea for the company in 2017 as a beauty and self-care enthusiast, and the siblings began to seriously pursue ÒMÓSÈ together during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. According to Ogbemudia, the goal of ÒMÓSÈ is to breathe Bini heritage into the beauty space and pass down to women the core tenets of self-love, self-esteem and self-care […]
W.E. Cornell Welcomes Fifth Cohort
W.E. Cornell is pleased to welcome 13 new STEM innovators to its Spring 2023 cohort. Now training its fifth cohort, the W.E. Cornell program offers a proven entrepreneurship and leadership-focused curriculum to help PhDs and postdocs bring their technology innovations to market. Participants receive opportunities to meet experienced mentors, build their professional networks, and hone their market fit and customer base before launching their businesses and pitching to investors and community members. “This group is joining a strong network of mentors and founders who share a passion for supporting women in entrepreneurship,” said program director Andrea Ippolito, B.S. ‘06, M.Eng ’07, who also serves as a lecturer in the College of Engineering. “The connections they make will help them throughout their careers, long after they complete the W.E. Cornell program.” The program operates annually in two semester-long phases, with Phase 1 taking place in the Fall and Phase 2 in the Spring. Phase 1 is open to all students at Cornell doing research at the graduate level and higher, including women, female-identified, and non-binary people. Participants attend workshops to learn more about entrepreneurship, leadership, and commercialization and network with potential mentors. A smaller group of participants is selected for Phase […]
Students to develop their ideas for social change
Alex Herazy ’25, a student in the College of Arts and Sciences, knows what the college application process is like for a first-generation student, so he’s been helping other first-gen friends from his high school with applications and scholarships.
Forte Protein Joins Center for Life Science Ventures
Forte Protein, a startup that has developed a technology to grow animal proteins inside plants, recently joined Cornell’s Center for Life Science Ventures business incubator. The startup was also in the news last year after being named a finalist in the 2022 Grow-NY Food & Agriculture business competition. Co-founder and CEO Kathleen Hefferon was a member of the first W.E. Cornell cohort in 2019, initially working to develop proteins for biofuels but changing focus to developing proteins for food during the COVID-19 pandemic. Forte Protein’s method can quickly, affordably, and sustainably grow animal proteins like collagen, myoglobin, ovalbumin, or casein in plants. With potential applications in food, beverage, health and wellness, and other industries, the company’s solution provides a low-carbon alternative to raising livestock. Learn more about Forte Protein in the Cornell Chronicle.
Mycocycle Founder Speaks to W.E. Cohort
The 2022 W.E. Cornell cohort celebrated the end of the semester on December 2 with a presentation from Joanne Rodriguez, founder and CEO of Mycocycle, a startup developing a process for using mushrooms to recycle waste. Rodriguez shared her experience building a company and offered advice to the cohort. Rodriguez started her presentation by asking the cohort to imagine a world without waste. “Most of the materials in the United States as well as globally are never reused, are never resourced again,” she said. “90% of materials that we manufacture, on average across all the industries globally, end up as trash. They end up in the waste stream. As you can imagine, that’s a very big problem.” Before becoming an entrepreneur, Rodriguez spent 30 years working in the construction industry and noticed problems with disposing of construction waste materials. She founded her startup when she learned that fungi have the power to naturally break down toxins. “What I developed is a company called Mycocycle that would license a patent-pending process to minimize waste, create new materials, and reduce greenhouse gases using mushrooms,” she said. Not only does Mycocycle’s process remediate waste, but the byproduct that results from the process can […]
Alum Shares Biotech Expertise with Entrepreneurial Community
Entrepreneurship allows biotechnology researchers to help people by bringing their innovations out of the lab and into the market. However, this process tends to be expensive and lengthy — not to mention the high failure rate of biotech startups. What does it take for a biotech company to succeed in such a challenging market? Stephanie Wisner ’16, cofounder of biotech startup Centivax, answers that question in her new book, “Building Backwards to Biotech: The Power of Entrepreneurship to Drive Cutting Edge Science to Market.” She discussed her findings, as well as her career path and expertise on the biotech industry, with the entrepreneurial community at Cornell on Nov. 18. Originally planning to attend medical school, Wisner noticed a twofold problem in the medical field: Innovations rarely make it out of the lab, yet patients desperately need new innovations to go to market. Identifying this problem led Wisner to complete a National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps Regional Course hosted by Cornell in 2017. The course showed her how entrepreneurship in science could bridge the innovation gap she had witnessed. “I always kind of thought the point of business is money, and I’m not really interested in money so I’m going to […]
Members of Cornell Community Featured in Entrepreneurship Article￼
Several members of the Cornell community recently contributed to “Think You’re Not an Entrepreneur? Think Again,” a piece published by the Association for Women in Science on how entrepreneurial skills can be applied beyond startups. The article’s authors include graduate student Rikki Serafina Laser, Ph.D. candidate Bhaavya Srivastava, and Susi Varvayanis, Executive Director of the Graduate School’s Careers Beyond Academia. Additionally, Lynden Archer, Joseph Silbert Dean of Engineering, and Computer Science Ph.D. candidate Chinasa T. Okolo share their experiences with utilizing entrepreneurial skills in the research field. Okolo gained entrepreneurial experience on a trek to Silicon Valley and as a participant in the W.E. Cornell program, as well as courses in the Dyson School and the SC Johnson College of Business. She said, “Having an entrepreneurial mindset expanded my options for what I could do with a Ph.D.” Learn more about the connections between entrepreneurship and other fields.
Cornellian-led startup aids parents amid formula shortage
With a background in health care and a startup focused on baby feeding, Andrea Ippolito feels like she’s been training for this moment her whole life.
2022 W.E. Cornell cohort celebrates STEM innovation
Women Entrepreneurs (W.E.) Cornell is excited to introduce the newest cohort of STEM scholars working to commercialize their research and innovations. Created in 2019 to support women-identifying STEM students as they bring their inventions to market, the W.E. Cornell program helps cohort members overcome the challenges of starting and scaling a technology-based business. Combining entrepreneurship curriculum with leadership development, participants leave W.E. Cornell prepared to take the next steps in their startup journey. The program operates annually on a 2-semester cycle, with Phase 1 open to any entrepreneurially-minded and female-identifying student. During the fall semester, Phase 1 participants attend workshops to learn more about entrepreneurship, leadership, and commercialization and network with potential mentors from the W.E. Cornell Advisory Board. Then, a select group of participants is chosen to move to Phase 2 in the spring. Throughout this phase, the W.E. Cornell cohort takes part in an NSF I-Corps Regional Course, where they conduct customer discovery and hone their market fit and customer base. They continue to engage with mentors, participate in workshops, and practice business pitches. The program culminates in a Demo Day and celebration where they present their work to the Advisory Board and community members. “We are the […]
Xu Liu is Homeward Bound—for Antarctica
Xu Liu grew up in the city of Qufu, in a coal-mining region of China’s Shandong Province. Her family has worked in the coal industry for three generations. This lifelong relationship with coal has propelled Liu nearly 7,000 miles away to Ithaca, NY, where she is earning her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Cornell University.
Info sci student’s startup seeks to elevate Black businesses
Founding and building a startup company into a sustainable, profit-generating business takes guts, determination and resilience.
New Moms Can Fix the Entrepreneurship Gender Diversity Gap, If We Help Them
W.E. Cornell Program Lead, Andrea Ippolito, shares insight into how to increase the number of female entrepreneurs and the support needed for women and mothers.
Program will support diverse founders of climate tech startups
As the cleantech industry continues to expand and evolve, a new program and partnership based in New York’s Southern Tier region aims to advance diversity and inclusivity in the growing green economy.
W.E. Cornell program takes on inequity in entrepreneurship
The W.E. Cornell program, which aims to improve gender representation in entrepreneurship, is launching its spring cohort as industries reckon with the inequities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ippolito Testified Before Congress to Support Diverse Innovators
Andrea Ippolito ‘06, M.Eng. ’07, testified in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business on January, 15, 2020, and shared six policy recommendations to push for additional support and patents for diverse innovators in America. Ippolito founded and leads the W.E. Cornell (Women Entrepreneurs) program, serves as aCornell eLab instructor, and is a lecturer for Cornell Engineering and Johnson MBA students. Read her testimony (PDF) View the hearing (YouTube)
Programs empower underrepresented student entrepreneurs
When Andrea Ippolito ’06, M.Eng. ’07, returned to Cornell in 2017 as executive director of Cornell’s Engineering Management Program, she made it her mission to engage underrepresented entrepreneurs. Last year, within Cornell’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement, she established a new program for women entrepreneurs, called W.E. Cornell.
22 student entrepreneurs join W.E. Cornell
Cornell’s new entrepreneurship program, W.E. (women entrepreneurs) Cornell, recently announced its first cohort of students for the 2018-19 academic year.
W.E. Cornell program focuses on women in STEM
This fall, Ippolito will launch a new training program called W.E. (women entrepreneurs) Cornell, designed to address persistent underrepresentation of women entrepreneurs in STEM fields.