Weinstock fund fast-tracks YCP student business ideas to the next level

By Kai O’Brien

HAVE an idea for a business you want to create but don’t know where to start?

If so, the fourth Annual Weinstock Student Venture Investment Fund is coming up soon, and it’s the perfect opportunity to take your business idea to the next level.

In 2018-19, Norm Weinstock, who is a alum of York College, gave a generous donation to the school to start this fund. Weinstock, Class of 1958, enjoyed lengthy, successful careers at both Dentsply International and Henry Schein (a worldwide distributor of medical, dental, and veterinary supplies). Here is a link to the bio for Weinstock, who also made a gift to name the Weinstock Lecture Hall in the Willman Business Center.

Weinstock says that he created the student venture investment fund with the intention of “putting his name out there in a positive way and helping students succeed in business.”

Oscar Winters, associate director of entrepreneur programs and engagement at York College, says “the cool thing about this fund is that it is open to any major or discipline that students have an interest in.

“[For instance], the student that won the first year was interested in medical and pharmaceutical work. He used the money to hire a team of colleagues to help take the load off him so he could focus on running the business.”

One other aspect of this fund is being automatically entered into the McNees Accelerator Program on campus, which is an eight-week spring program for individuals and teams who would like to receive feedback and additional support for whatever business venture they would like to pursue.

“It takes you through the steps of either having an idea and wanting to start a business, already having a business and receiving additional help, or simply receiving more guidance on how to develop your idea more,” Winters says.

If you are interested in applying for the fund, here are the steps you need to take:

Step 1: Apply, pitch, and if selected, receive seed funding (up to $5,000!)

Step 2: Participate in the J.D. Brown Center McNees Accelerator to help your business get off the ground

Step 3: Potential to receive additional funding

Here’s what first-year winner Benbruno Nkapbela says about the fund.

“This scholarship gave me the tools and publicity to introduce my business to the community,” he says. “The mentors and staff that I worked with gave me the confidence to build my idea into something bigger.”

Kaitlin Dannenberg, Class of 2025, was the Year 3 winner of the fund. She is enrolled at York College in the Environmental Horticulture program.

If you would like to discuss your idea or the fund before applying, reach out to Winters at owinters@ycp.edu.

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