The academic year is upon us. Binghamton is buzzing as 17,900 students return for classes. 2,900 freshmen, 1,000 transfer students and 1,600 new graduate students are entering the campus in the coming year. Binghamton University’s Department of Entrepreneurship & Innovation Partnerships (E&IP) hosted student innovators at their Student Entrepreneurship Session, inviting new students to hear the journeys of three local entrepreneurs who started businesses with the help of Binghamton University’s resources and programming.

Matt Gill, a 2019 Binghamton alumnus and a founder of Enhance VR (Virtual Reality), recollected that entrepreneurship was out of his radar. While in school, Gill involved with the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator based in downtown Binghamton and found a start-up after interning with local companies, taking inspiring courses, participating in an on-campus pitch competition, and winning $10,000 to progress his venture.

Adam Sabol, a 2011 Binghamton alumnus and founder of Key Branding Labs, also described his entrepreneurial career as unexpected. Being the first graduate from the incubator, his business now offers branding services to dozens of Binghamton companies. “You don’t have to have a plan to do it, just have a desire to do something,” said Sabol, “This department is such a resource for you guys.”

Andre Haykal, a current Binghamton sophomore and a serial entrepreneur, shared his passion for bringing entrepreneurship to campus. As a local resident, he noted the palpable growth of entrepreneurship in Greater Binghamton. Haykal has recently become a student ambassador for the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator, seeking to promote its resources to others. Haykal encouraged students to join a new club for entrepreneurs, which he founded this year.

Eric Krohn, director of the Binghamton Incubation Program, explained his accelerator program, which is free for all students. According to Krohn, the success rate of start-ups is only 10%. Krohn emphasized the resources the incubator offers and shared the key tenet of entrepreneurship: “Rather than building a product and finding a customer, build a product for customers.”

-Daiki Yoshioka