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Stanford, California: Here They Come

How many schools can boast having even one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in the world? Well, the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) has not one, but six! That would be an amazing feat for any school, but for one the size of NYU-Poly, which has well under 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students, it’s even more incredible.

E-Bootcamp, as it is known, is an annual event presented by the Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial Students (BASES). Only 100 applicants are chosen to attend the intensive multi-day conference, which was designed specifically to ready the Bootcampers’ proposed products and services for commercial launch. The demanding program includes pitching and design workshops, marketing initiatives, media rundowns, sector-specific critiquing, and mentoring sessions with a team of sponsors and partners.

During the 2013 bootcamp, held from April 18-21, participants will have the opportunity to present their ideas in a competitive environment, including a product showcase and pitch competition attended by investors and Silicon Valley insiders.

Among the 100 savvy participants from all over the world will be NYU-Poly alumnae Peggy Wang and current students Nico Vansnick, Ali Al-Ebrahim, Akshay Gupta and Yangzi Isabel Tian, as well as former student Chinedu Okoro.

Wang, who is now an intern at NYU Medical Center, said, “My idea is create a medical device that can do urinalysis automatically and record it in a health management database for renal disease patients, [who would then be able] to manage their record on-line or via Smartphone. Moreover, that data could possibly be used in public health research.” She is not the only Stanford bootcamper with a goal of improving healthcare. When Gupta first came to the U.S., he suffered from migraines and a variety of other ailments and was distressed at the lack of communication among his doctors; he is developing a cloud-based system of medical filing that will facilitate the sharing of patient information while still protecting privacy and confidentiality. And if those patients are prescribed drugs, Tian is working on a device that will protect against the abuse of those substances by dispensing only the correct dosage. (She has designed two levels of protection; the device is virtually impregnable, but if someone were to damage or dismantle it, a chemical reaction would be triggered, making the enclosed medication unusable.)

Al-Ebrahim’s idea may already be familiar to news junkies; the Beta version of his site, Presseract, is already on-line, allowing users to create and distribute their own newspapers. (He also happens to be the new president of the NYU-Poly Entrepreneurship and Innovation Association.) “I hope that one day it will revolutionize the business of news subscriptions the way that i-Tunes revolutionized the music business,” he said.

Similarly, Okoro hopes to revolutionize the production of solar energy panels in countries like his native Nigeria. Many regions have abundant natural resources that are not being put to efficient use, he explained, and there is no reason solar panels can’t be manufactured domestically and perhaps even exported to other markets one day.

If any of these budding entrepreneurs needs to hire help for their fledgling companies, they might find themselves turning to Vansnick, who has a plan to gamify the recruitment process. “My system will bypass traditional resumes, which we all know can sometimes be dishonest,” he said. “So many people in tech fields are self-taught, and they should be allowed to prove to human resources what they can do.”

According to all six, NYU-Poly’s emphasis on invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship is undoubtedly the reason that the school is sending so many representatives to Stanford in April. “That’s the culture here,” Al-Ebrahim asserted. “It encompasses all majors and areas of interest.” While they are excited to be visiting Palo Alto, which occupies a legendary place in tech history, they all agree that Brooklyn stands to become just as celebrated.