The MCNY School for Business hosted the captivating “Entrepreneurship Symposium 2023” on November 7th and 8th at the Manhattan campus. Day one featured an insightful panel discussion led by Professor Mark Wald. On day two, the spotlight shifted to the Incubator Program’s “New Venture Pitch” Business Plan Competition, offering MCNY business students and alumni a chance to elevate their Constructive Actions into real business projects. It was a two-day journey of learning, collaboration, and the pursuit of innovative ideas taking shape.

Special thanks to our participating panelists for joining us.

Congratulations to our New Venture Pitch Winners: 

Mari Moss – “Housed”

Andrea Cunningham – “The Décor Life: 2.0”

Francesca September – title “S Natural Care”

Explore the picture on our Flickr Page!

November 7, 2023
Panel Discussion

5:30pm – 5:45pm
Meet & Greet

5:45pm – 6:00pm
Welcome by Associate Dean MCNY School for Business Radhika Jha
Remarks by President Joanne Passaro
Introductions of Panelists by moderator, MCNY School for Business, Professor Mark Wald

6:00pm – 6:50pm
Panel Discussion led by questions from the moderator

6:50pm – 7:00pm

7:00pm – 7:30pm
Panel Discussion led by questions from moderator and students followed by Audience Q&A

November 8, 2023
New Venture Pitch

The Metropolitan College of New York School for Business Incubator Program “New Venture Pitch” Business Plan Competition provides an opportunity for MCNY business students and alumni to further develop their Constructive Actions into real business projects taking them to the next level!

Program Participants are undergraduate Business program students in semester 4 and above, MBA students in semester 1 and above and MCNY School for Business alums. The three best pitches as previously judged will receive award certificates and cash prizes. 

Our Distinguished Panel

Jyoti Jaiswal founded OMSutra in 2007, a social enterprise that preserves India’s craft traditions and supports ethical and sustainable trade in artisan communities. The mission-driven brand inspires people to live beautifully and lead a conscious lifestyle. The brand offers a uniquely handcrafted heritage collection designed by Jyoti and handmade by artisans and underrepresented women groups using sustainable materials and natural resources in the fashion, wellness, and home industries, adopting the principles of people and planet before profit.

Jyoti brings her artistic flair and love for creative expression to produce unique handmade goods for mainstream consumers and also offers custom-design manufacturing consultancy to other businesses. She is involved in creating social impact projects that help underrepresented women groups and in capacity building for artisan communities, creating a socio-economic and environmental impact.

OMSutra reflects Jyoti’s commitment to bridging the gap between her two homes, India and the USA, through convenient, creative, and value-driven traditional crafts and designs.

Wendy De Shong-Neuhalfen, MSC, MS, MA, UNGCP, has spent the past 30 years in the Science, humanitarian and non-profit sector and the past 20 years as CEO of New Direction Services Inc., a New York non-profit organization that focuses on food insecurity/hunger, climate change, literacy, health, and wellness. She co-founded the organization with her late husband, a US Army Veteran working in architecture. In the 90s, Wendy was an Executive at the Food Bank For New York City, the largest Food Bank in the US serving thousands of food-insecure New Yorkers.

Beginning in the summer of 2001, the year of the 911 attacks, Wendy was an Adjunct Professor at Long Island University-Brooklyn Campus teaching Grant Writing to graduate students as well as providing technical assistance to grassroots organizations and entrepreneurs in the Metropolitan New York area.  Wendy’s expertise also includes working as a Science, Biology, French and German teacher at Notre Dame Academy and Richmond town Prep Schools, Staten Island; a Biology Professor and Curriculum Developer at the Ecole American de Paris, France;  Healthy Coordinator for the New York City Health Department working with schools, health facilities and community organizations in the Lower East Side, Manhattan. Wendy received many awards and commendations over the years including the NAACP Humanitarian award in 2007 presented by the #2227 branch and commendations by State Senator Diane Savino. Wendy studied at Wagner College, Long Island University, University of Vienna, Austria and Alliance Francaise, Paris, France and speaks French and German. Her love for writing was developed during her early school years growing up in Trinidad and Tobago. Her book, Grant Writing 101: A Guidebook ( is written for the novice, entrepreneurs and community groups and guides one in the process of grant/proposal development. Wendy is presently working on a children’s literacy and book festival to be held in spring, 2024 and is researching authors to share their written work at the event.

Jay Shah is a founder and CEO of Marigold Academy. Jay immigrated to the United States in 1995, and like most immigrants, he worked hard to support his family and build a career for himself. Jay holds an Electrical & Computer Engineering degree from Wayne State University and MBA from Michigan State University. Jay spent the first 15 years of his career in corporate America in various capacities within Engineering, Supply Chain, Operations, Finance & Accounting related positions. Furthermore, he has been part of the early education and childcare industry since 2019.

In his current role, Jay oversees and manages two very successful Marigold Academy corporate schools. He utilizes his knowledge, expertise, and leadership to build a successful childcare brand to provide high-quality early education to children before they enter kindergarten.

Jay is a huge advocate of high-quality early education for children in all communities to build a strong foundation for successful lives and careers. Jay is also very passionate about helping other professionals build a strong foundation and legacy for their families and communities. In his current role, Jay utilizes his leadership, experience, and vision to build a strong brand and associate with highly motivated individuals who want to make a difference in their communities while building a strong foundation and legacy for their own families.

Robin Daniels has been working for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for more than 30 years. She started her career in Disaster Assistance, dealing directly with borrowers and loan collections. In 2004, she moved to the 8(a) Business Development Division – Gov’t Contracting in the agency’s Metro New York District Office. Following her work in business development with small businesses, she took on a new role as a Lender Relations Specialist.

In this capacity, Robin provides training to lenders on loan processing, servicing, purchasing and liquidation. She also represents the Metro New York District Office Finance Division in matters relating to financial institutions and the operation procedures necessary for use of the SBA’s Loan Programs while creating outreach efforts, coordinating with lending institutions and SBA’s Resource Partners to develop access to capital roundtables, panel discussions and networking events.

Benigno Samuel Ballena, Jr. was born in Lima – Peru. He received a B.A.  degree (with honors) in Liberal Arts from Lehman College, NY, in 2013. Mr. Ballena worked at the Small Business Development Center at the Bronx as a Business Advisor and Global Coordinator for more than 10  years where he provided a comprehensive range of small business-based assistance including one-to-one client counseling in the area of business plan development, analyzed, assisted entrepreneurs…

…in guiding them to develop their business plan, financial projections, prepare loan packages, and referred to banks and lending institutions for financing assistance. Coordinated with managers and organization leaders to find best solutions for the success of small entrepreneurs.

In 2020, Mr. Ballena started working at SBA as an Outreach Marketing Specialist. During this time, he has been learning and understanding the mission of SBA through seminars and workshops. All the new skills that Sam has developed through these seminars helped him to be more proactive and to be helpful to business owners, always following the mission of the organization “The U.S. Small Business Administration help Americans start, build and Grow business”.

To be able to evaluate the needs of the businesses in Long Island especially in Nassau and Suffolk, Sam has done research and based on those results, he has developed an extremely specific marketing campaign that has successfully connected with Latino organizations of the area.