Diocesan News

SFC Innovate at Industry City

Students Connect with 21st Century Careers

For college students to succeed in the modern economy, there is no substitute for hands-on experience. SFC Innovate, a new office dedicated to enhancing co-curricular experiences and career exploration has opened at Industry City. The office, a partnership between St. Francis College, Brooklyn Heights, 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,” said 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 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. They will also work to raise the profile of the college and forge relationships with other companies.

“The Ikove team as well as our portfolio companies are excited to expand our presence through this partnership with SFC,” said Rodolfo Bellesi, co-founder and principal of Ikove Venture Partners.

Ikove Venture Partners is a venture development company founded to pursue early-stage investments with an emphasis on technology commercialization.

“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,” Bellesi said.

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,” added 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.”

Andrew Kimball, CEO of Industry City says that academic institutions are integral to the innovation ecosystem being built at Industry City.

“The integration of academic institutions like St. Francis College … will strengthen the local talent pipeline and fuel creative and research-based collaborations between our tenants and beyond.”

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