The MIT Enterprise Forum of New York City, a 50-year-old organization that has been engaging the local entrepreneurial community through its award-winning events, is shutting down its operations and donating its cash reserves to the MIT Media Lab Fund to support alumni entrepreneurial activities.
Over the past 10 years, the organization has grown under the guidance of four board chairs: James R. Klaiber, Cristina Dolan, Joseph Kim, and Geng Tan. In 2013, it launched Dream it, Code it, Win it, its flagship coding competition, awarding over $250,000 in cash prizes and bringing in executives from Fortune 500 companies to share the benefits of careers in technology, engaging students from over 120 countries.
Throughout the years, with help from board members, such as former Programming Chair and current Vice-Chair Daniel O’Sullivan, the organization has adapted to market changes and member interest by transforming itself. Most recently, it did so again in response to the 2020 global pandemic via digital transformation. During this social distance stricken time, the chapter reinvented itself by successfully delivering over 40 events featuring over 150 speakers and panelists, including leading academics such as Michael Schrage of MIT and Clarence Lee of Cornell, industry leaders such as Jack Tatar of Doyle Capital Management, and Eren Bali of Carbon Health, world-renowned authors and media influencers such as Keith Ferrazzi and Sherry Turkle, and academic leaders such as Deans Barry L. Schoop of Cooper Union and Jelena Kovačević of NYU Tandon School of Engineering. The group has thrived, in part due to its community partners, including Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP, eBay, Microsoft, New York Bar Association, Winston & Strawn LLP, Wolf Greenfield & Sacks, and Fitzpatrick & Hunt, Pagano, Aubert, LLP.
The closing of the chapter comes after MIT’s decision in May 2021 to discontinue the MIT Enterprise Forum program by the end of June 2021. Given the limited timeframe, the board of MIT Enterprise Forum of New York City, which is made up of prominent MIT alumni, such as Cristina Dolan, thought leaders, such as Scott Omelianuk, editor in chief of Inc.com, and non-profit experts, such as Nicholas Schiavo, who is a CFO in the philanthropy field, and supported by long-time community contributors, such as Colette Thompson, decided not to pursue forming a new entity that didn’t include the MIT community in a significant way. The board has also voted to donate its remaining funds to the MIT Media Lab Fund.
Geng Tan, the Chairman of the Board of MIT Enterprise Forum of New York City, said, “The board appreciates the support of our community these past few decades and it was a pleasure working with so many MIT alums and industry and academic leaders from various fields and educational institutions. We are saddened by the decision, but we hope our legacy will continue in the form of all alums, technologists, and entrepreneurs who benefited from our programs and our donation. Despite this decision, many of the board members will continue to stay involved with the MIT community and the tech scene in New York. We thank everyone on the board for volunteering their time and resources to support our mission.”
About MIT Enterprise Forum of New York City
MIT Enterprise Forum of New York City (http://www.MITEFNYC.org) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit with a mission to inform, connect, and coach technology entrepreneurs, enabling them to rapidly transform ideas into world-changing companies. The group was founded in 1971 by John Jenkins, an engineer who graduated from MIT. Most recently, MIT Enterprise Forum consisted of 17 chapters around the world.