Starting Sunday, October 30, 2017, CHYE is launching a weekly podcast titled The K-Factor. Hosted every Sunday at 10:00 am by Rabbi Yehoshua Werde, Founder and Director of CHYE, the program will interview a different, successful Jewish entrepreneur who will share the challenges and successes experienced in business.
The chairs lining the Lubavitch Yeshiva hall were filled with anxious family members and supporters, as the closing pitches were given for the inaugural Elevator Pitch Challenge.
Close to Thirty contestants entered the competition; only six finalists remained. And they were all vying for the same $10,000 business package needed to see their businesses soar.
After a grueling two hours of pitches, questions and critiques, the judges finally announced the winners: Sara Esther Varnie from Kids Discover Israel, and Shmuly Wolff from JMenu.
“It was a very close competition, and it was an extremely difficult decision for the judges,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Werde, Director of CHYE and coordinator of the competition. “But as I’ve said throughout the competition—every person who participated is a winner.”
The proceedings began with a few words from Rabbi Werde, who thanked all the participants, sponsors, judges and supporters. “The work we do at CHYE would not be possible without the help we receive from the generous people in this community,” he said.
Each contestant was then called to the stage to deliver their business pitch before a panel of judges. The judges asked questions on the pitch, pointed out potential oversights in the business model, and then gave professional recommendations regarding scalability, competition, and innovation.
Chanie Kaminker, CEO of Hannabie Creative and a judge on the women’s panel, reminded the contestants of the rapid pace of today’s market, and the need to keep a constant finger on the pulse of that day’s trend. Today fidget spinners are all the rage; in six months no one will remember them,” she said. “Trends change so quickly these days, you have to make sure you’re always in tune with your customers and with your competition.”
Another valuable piece of advice was given by Meny Hoffman, CEO of Ptex Group. “Your customers are the key to your success,” he said. “One thing you have to always be thinking: How can I improve the customer experience, and how can I offer a better product or service.”
All three judges on the women’s panel highlighted the bravery of the contestants, and praised them for being leading examples of women who are successful entrepreneurs.“It’s inspiring to see how many women participated in the competition,” said Shaina Levin of Abba Realty.
The winners from each division were presented with a giant CHYE check, representing the $10,000 in business services they are now entitled to. The prize package—including marketing material, consulting, accounting services and office furniture—will help the winners promote and expand their businesses.
“I hope to build a website with this money, and to look into creating digital copies of my books,” said Mrs. Varnie.
Shmuly Wolff of JMenu spoke of his vision to expand his app to service the rest of the country, and, eventually, the entire Jewish world. To celebrate their victory JMenu is offering a $5 Gift card to anyone who downloads the JMenu app in the next 48 hours. All you have to do is enter IKEEPKOSHER when you check out with your first order.
Guests at the event were lucky to samples of some of the products being presented. Cold brew coffee was served courtesy of Mendy Dalfin of The Chosen Bean, and Chaya Rockford of The Me and My displayed several models of her new dolls on the stage.
“It was a most enjoyable evening for the participants, for the judges and for the crowd,” said Rabbi Werde. “We’re thankful to everyone who participated, and we look forward to doing similar competitions in the future.”
To see more of CHYE’s upcoming events, visit their website at www.chye.info
A record attendance of 500 men and women showed up to hear from industry experts and leaders in the field of eCommerce in Borough Park last Wednesday night
Held in The Palace, a spacious and elegant venue on McDonald avenue, and hosted by Crown Heights Young Entrepreneurs (CHYE), Employment Parnassah Initiative (EPI), and The Jewish Entrepreneur (TJE), the event, “Finding Success in eCommerce” was packed with participants from Crown Heights, Borough Park, and elsewhere.
The event began with eCommerce seminars at 5:30pm followed by informal schmoozing and networking over a gourmet kosher buffet.
At 7:30, Motty Gross, CEO of AJ Madison, delivered the keynote address entitled “How to Transform Your Business into an eCommerce Powerhouse.”
After the keynote, the CHYE hosted its first-ever panel discussion. Moderated by Ami Magazine business columnist, Nesanel Gantz, the panel featured four eCommerce superstars: Motty Gross, Chaim Piekarski, the founder of C+A Global, Marc Bodner of L R Distributors, and Jeremy Greenberg of Sellercloud. During the lively discussion, panelists handled questions submitted by attendees about a variety of topics related to eCommerce, such as how to launch an eCommerce business, how to manage inventory, and and how to navigate thorny issues that come up when running a family business.
The panel discussion was followed by break-away round-table discussions and Q&As. Tables were set up around the room, each one featuring a different industry leader who answered questions related to a specific area of expertise, such as eCommercec and taxes, building your own brand, transitioning your traditional business to eCommerce, mastering eBay, Amazon compliance issues, the art of buying, and many more.
Rabbi Yehoshua Werde, co-host of the event, explained: “We wanted to reach both the beginners just getting into eCommerce as well as people that have spent more time in the field who feel they have more to learn.”
Shaya Katz from Crown Heights has never worked in eCommerce, but he saw this event as an opportunity to learn more about it.
“I came here to educate myself and see what kind of opportunities there are for me in eCommerce,” he said. “Tonight I realized that many of my friends are in [eCommerce] and I learned a lot about the industry.”
One sponsor of the night was PCS Wireless. PCS representative, Alexandra Amrami said: “We were happy to help CHYE organize this event. It was inspiring to see how many people were involved in setting it up, bringing communities together, and making sure it would be a success. There is so much valuable information concentrated in this room and you get extreme access to people that you don’t have in a regular scenario. I hope everyone who came out tonight took advantage.”
“The event was fantastic!” declared Yossi K, an Amazon seller from Crown Heights. “Even more than the speeches and the panel, the most valuable part about it was the networking. Meeting other people and seeing how we can help one another was really great.”
There’s no doubt this event was the beginning of many new professional careers and business relationships in the frum community.
Below are videos from two of the event workshops
A bustling crowd of over 200 people showed up Tuesday night to Agudath Israel Bais Binyomin in Flatbush for “Finding Success in Real Estate,” a special seminar for men and women that provided information about the real estate industry.
Hosted by Crown Heights Young Entrepreneurs (CHYE), Employment Parnassah Initiative (EPI), and The Jewish Entrepreneur (TJE), the event was packed with attendees from Crown Heights, Flatbush, and elsewhere.
Rabbi Yehoshua Werde of CHYE, co-host of the event, explained that “We wanted to reach both the young people just getting into it and the older people who feel they have more to learn. The mission of all the organizations, CHYE, TJE and EPI is to help the community take advantage of business opportunities,” he said. “And real estate is a field with incredible potential that we want to help people get into and succeed.”
The evening began with a stirring keynote address delivered by Ira Zlotowitz, president and CEO of Eastern Union Commercial Real Estate Funding.
Mr. Zlotowitz spoke about the importance of finding a niche in the real estate market, becoming a ‘student’ of business, following the data rather than public opinion, and maintaining respect for those with whom you partner.
The talk was followed by break-away discussions and Q&As. Tables were set up around the room, each one featuring a different industry leader who answered questions related to a specific area of expertise, such as flipping, management, investing, mortgages, rehabbing, or selling.
Catering to a diverse crowd with various levels of real estate knowledge and experience, the event had something for everyone. Experts were on hand to answer questions such as: “When do I hire a super?” and “How do I find investors?”
Attendee, Laibel G. from Crown Heights, described himself as a real estate novice curious about transitioning into the field. "I learned that there are a lot of opportunities in different areas of real estate,” he said. “Now, I just need to find what speaks to my personality and what I can put my all into."
Many participants came to the event to network and rub shoulders with others in the industry. "You can never meet too many people in your business,” said Melody Zelouf, a real estate agent (Prime NYC), who came all the way from Great Neck, Long Island to attend.
“It’s always good be in the public eye when working in real estate,” she explained. “As a sales agent, I like to meet investors so that they'll remember me for future projects. I also came here to learn about different aspects of the real estate game.”
Shmuel Schnitzer from TJE and Zisha Novoseller of EPI. both noted that attendees frequently came up to them just to share how inspired they were to see hundreds of people, all serious about real estate, in one room together.
“People came out of the night making solid networking connections,” Schnitzer said. “We gave them access to very high level successful real estate businesspeople. It was great!”
Shea Rubenstein of JBuildersNY, who handled questions about rehabbing properties, had some words of advice for anyone just starting out in real estate.
"To be successful, you have to be driven to make the sale, determined, and enjoy being around people. Find a mentor as soon as possible and be willing to take direction. It’s not easy and you will experience plenty of failures in the beginning, but stay focused and you will go far."
Special thanks to the event sponsors Brand-right, Brooklyn Brokerage and Mark J Nussbaum and Associates LLP.
“Getting Ahead: A Discussion with Chabad Women in Business
“One-third of the entrepreneurs who approach us for advice are women,” says Rabbi Yehoshua Werde, director of Crown Heights Young Entrepreneurs, a full-service, business resource center tailored to the unique needs of the Crown Heights Jewish Community.
Women have many of the same, yet different requirements when starting a business,” says Rabbi Werde. “We created the ‘Getting Ahead,” event to address the specific issues women face when entering the workforce.
Moderated by Mrs. Chaya Abelsky, panel speakers included Mrs. Julie Gniwisch, President of Delmar Jewelrs, Mrs. Devorah Halberstam, Director of Government Services at the Jewish Children’s Museum, Mrs. Malka Waronker, Associate Counsel at Consolidated Edison, and Devoree Axelrod, General Manager at AJ Madison.
It takes confidence and bravado to move up the corporate ladder or bring a business to the next level of financial success. Hearing insights and stories of Lubavitch women who have made it, so to speak, in their respective fields, can offer insight and inspiration to Chabad women who are wondering how they can get ahead.
Mrs. Abelsky, an executive coach, started the evening with a story of a man collecting money from passersby. One day he decided to open the trunk he had sat on while begging for 20 years. The trunk was filled with treasure. “The message is that he was sitting on his own wealth,” says Mrs. Abelsky.
The first panelist to share her career journey was Mrs. Axelrod, who started at AJ Madison in the customer service department ten years ago. Mrs. Axelrod noticed customer calls were in the hold queue for 30 to 40 minutes—longer than any customer wanted to wait when they had dialed the operator. Reducing the wait time for callers was Mrs. Axelrod’s first initiative.
“When I first started I saw there was little infrastructure in the company,” says Mrs. Axelrod. “I wasn’t brought in a management role, but I realized there were some quick, small changes I could implement that would make a big difference.”
One concept that has helped Mrs. Axelrod navigate tough work situations is “Success is the only option.” When a longtime vendor was not able to ship to a large customer with many stadiums in California, she researched a different option, offering the customer a full refund if they did not like the new equipment. The risk paid off, and the company was able to retain the client. Mrs. Axelrod encourages entrepreneurs to speak to people for advice, yet follow your gut. On the management side, she advises leaders to be clear about what they expect from their employees.
“I’m proud and thankful for the opportunity I’ve had to grow with the company,” says Mrs. Axelrod, who joined AJ Madison when she was single. She has since not only married, but had children and has managed to balance her career with her family responsibilities by staying “very organized.”
Becoming a lawyer was a lifelong dream for Mrs. Waronker, who came to New York from South Africa for law school. Now she’s a proud wife and mother of six children who has been able to climb the corporate ladder by standing firm and proud in her Lubavitch lifestyle and values. Her colleagues introduce her as the “mother of six kids” and look at her if she has “three heads,” but Mrs. Waronker said her differences work to her advantage. “Every aspect of my life is filled with G-dliness and holiness. They do see me as a religious women with a large family, but most corporations are pushing for diversity.” There is no need in Mrs. Waronker’s experience to be shy about being frum or being a woman. In fact people respect that she has “interests outside the corporate doctrine.
Mrs. Waronker’s message: “Have a goal and work backwards to do what it will take to reach that goal. There is no easy road.”
Mrs. Halberstam’s life changed irrevocably March 1, 1994 when her son Ari was murdered in a terror attack on the Brooklyn Bridge.
“From the moment Ari was shot, there was a strength that rose up within me that nothing in this world could stop,” says Mrs. Halberstam, who became an expert on terrorism in her quest to ensure justice was served in her son’s court case. She lobbied to have a sign placed on the bridge in Ari’s memory. She also raised $35 million and served as a government liaison to build the Jewish Children’s Museum in Crown Heights.
“I’m focused on where I’m going and what I want to accomplish. I love my people, I love being a Jew, I love being a woman. I feel I have to stand up and make a difference,” she adds. “You maybe surprised what one person can do in changing the world.”
Her main goal after her son’s death was to get the government to acknowledge the truth that Ari’s murder was a terrorist act. “I was raised n a home where my father only spoke emes,” says Mrs. Halberstam. “People have to search for truth, but that’s all I saw.”
At first Mrs. Halberstam would stand on line for hours to speak with government officials who saw her only as a grieving Jewish mother. Within a year she was invited to an event at the mayor’s mansion, where she was able to negotiate a city contract for $7.5 million for the museum. 9/11 and the mayoral election brought challenges in finalizing the contract for the museum to receive the grant money. Mrs. Halberstam raced around the city by cab to get her contract registered before Mayor Bloomberg took office January 1, 2002. She got the city controller’s signature just in time. At his inaugural speech Bloomberg announced that any contracts that were not registered would not receive the grant money.
“Wait until tomorrow and you might miss the boat,” Mrs. Halberstam cautions.
Her persistence in changing the ruling from murder to terrorism paid off as well. Ari’s was the only case ever changed by the Justice Department before or since. “It took a tedious long time,” she says. “I never did give up. If you want to do something, just believe in yourself, and in G-d, and I promise you will accomplish it.”
Mrs. Gniwisch was a kindergarten teacher when she and her husband took out a loan to help an old friend save his business. They lent the man $25,000 to rejuvenate his jewelry business. The Gniwisch’s had six kids in school at the time, but were moved to help a fellow Jew. Three months later, the business failed. The man was unable to pay back the money so he sent the jewelry to Montreal. Mrs. Gniwish traveled around selling the merchandise. Mrs. Gniwish never did recoup the money from that transaction, but discovered her talent for designing and selling jewelry.
“Most well-to-do businesses started by chance—meeting a person at a certain time, having lunch, just being in a certain place, the Aibishter takes you by the hand and leads you to where you need to be,” says Mrs. Gniwisch.
A defining moment for the business was when she and her husband had traveled from their home in Montreal to New York to find a special pearl supplier. “He didn’t want to sell to me because I wasn’t important enough,” says Mrs. Gniwisch. She told her husband they should go to Japan – where the pearls were sourced. “I was chutzpah’dik,” Mrs. Gniwisch says. “I walked into the Japanese supplier and said, ‘I know nothing about pearls, but I want you to teach me because I am going to be your biggest client.” And she did become the supplier’s biggest customer.Mrs. Gniwisch gives tzedaka generously. She has seen with her own eyes that whatever she gives, she gets back even more in myriad ways. In business over 40 years she has learned to focus on the positive when things get tough. “The customer is always right, but there are times you need to put your foot down, take your losses and smile.”
Mrs. Gniwisch and her husband both survived the Holocaust, so family is paramount. “Children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren,” says Mrs. Gniwisch. “That’s what we pray for.”
Questions from the audience addressed how to compete in a man’s world, how to start a business without capital, and then take it to the next level.
Mrs. Abelsky wrapped up the night with inspiration. “No matter what, you have the koach to get ahead.”
After a weeks-long competition, the winners of CHYE's Business Plan Contest competed live with the winner chosen by the judges.
By Yedida Wolfe
The Jewish Children’s Museum was abuzz Wednesday evening as the six finalists at the Crown Heights Young Entrepreneurs Business Plan Contest prepared to defend their startup ideas to a distinguished panel of six judges.
Master of Ceremonies, Mendel Duchman, CEO of Nonie of Beverly Hills who flew in especially for this event, enlivened the crowd with wit and wisdom, sharing the secret of his business achievements. “I went through Oholei Torah, year by year, step by step. When you are proud to stand out in business as a frum person, you are successful.”
CHYE Director, Rabbi Yehoshua Werde, brought inspiration from the Rebbe’s letters, with an axiom that holds true in business and the rest of life. “If you’re not constantly looking to grow the business, it will stagnate. You can’t ever go into cruise control mode.”
“The evening was CHYE’s most sophisticated event to date, the culmination of the past 5 years,” Werde said. New York City Councilman of the 40th District, Matthew Eugene, applauded CHYE and the audience for their support.
The prestigious and accomplished judges, Adam Eilenberg, Esq.,Jack Silberstein, CEO of Jack’s Gourmet, Zalman Stock of Spotlight Design, and Saul Friedman, founder of Saul N. Friedman & Co., asked candidates to explain their contingency plans, to detail their weak points, and clarify their business dreams.
And finally, the winners:
Malka Goldfein, of Babyroo, an online consignment store for gently used baby goods, is the Grand Prize Winner of CHYE’s Business Plan Contest. Along with a $7,500 cash prize, Babyroo will receive $12,500 in business services, which includes 1 year of free accounting from prestigious firm Saul N. Friedman & Co., and marketing and branding consulting with Spotlight Design and Ajax Union.
“The services are going to be really helpful in establishing our new business. Saul Friedman came up to me after the event to talk about the one year of accounting he is offering, and the legal and marketing services are also invaluable to getting our business off the ground. The cash prize will cover half of the money needed to develop our website and mobile app,” said Goldfein. “The contest validated our idea, which was so encouraging.”
First Runner Up Yetta and David Feldman of X:IT Performance wear, a designer and manufacturer of quality activewear for the modest, athletic women will receive $1250 in cash and $7500 in business services.
“With this prize in our pocket we have all we need to get the business on its feet. We thank again, CHYE and the sponsors, for putting together this clearly needed competition,” said Yetta Feldman. “Winning this prize is just the beginning of our hustle.”
Second Runner Up Nicole Marsella of Best Costume Outdoor Wear, a manufacturer of tznius swim dresses and modest water-friendly outdoor wear, will also take home $1250 and $7,500 in consulting.
"CHYE has been a big boost for my tiny start-up, not just though this competition, but with the classes and consultations that they offer,” said Nicole. “The winners were all smart, strong Jewish women. I'm proud to belong to a community that supports women business owners in such a significant way,” said Marsella.
While many in the audience came to support family and friends, everyone walked away informed and inspired.
“I came to the event because I wanted to learn about new business and innovations, and get new inspiration for my clients,” said Yonit Tanenbaum, of YQ Media. “It was inspiring to me as a business owner that all three winners were women.”
“It was pretty cool to see so many original ideas,” said Sarah Brummel, who was there for moral support for one of the finalists.
Moshe Horowitz, Firm Administrator at Saul Friedman & Co. added, “I came because Saul Friedman was presenting, and I gained a lot insight about what people go through to get a business started. It was inspiring.”
“CHYE extends tremendous thanks to our generous sponsors for making this event possible: Saul N. Friedman & Co., Adam Eilenberg, The Smetana Family and AWS Supply, Daniel Cotlar in memory of his son, Mendel, to COLLIVE for being our media sponsor, to Spotlight design, Ajaxunion and Aaron Fehler of Evokia for their prize sponsorships, to Mendel Duchman who elevated the evening with his experience and passion and to all members of the CHYE founders circle” said Rabbi Werde.
For more information about this and other CHYE initiatives, visit www.chye.info
A record attendance of 300 men and women entrepreneurs learned from industry leaders at an event on E-Commerce.
By Sholom Ber Nemanow
Photos: Marko Dashev
We’re all familiar with just how cheap and convenient shopping online on Amazon or eBay can be. What you may not have been so familiar with is just how many of your friends and neighbors are sitting on the other side of the screen, selling you that bargain-priced pair of headphones or that bulk pack of pens.
Online retail is one of the fastest growing markets in history and people in our community have been taking advantage of it, as evidenced by last week's “Finding Succeess in E-Commerce” seminar and networking event. The main hall at Agudah of Avenue L was full to capacity as nearly 300 business men and women from communities across the tri state area gathered to listen, learn, and network.
The keynote address was delivered by Mr. Chaim Piekarski of C&A Marketing, a leading ecommerce company. Mr. Piekarski spoke about the importance of having a clear plan for your company and the need to stay focused on your core values. The event also featured roundtable Q&A discussions hosted by industry leaders from many different E-Commerce categories, like Mr. Yoel SternDirector of R&D - Windsor Global who specializes in product development and Mrs. Leora Platt, Sales and Marketing Manager at Teri Jon, who specializes in Marketing Basics of Ecommerce.
Walking around the room one could hear all manner of questions being asked and answered, from the specific like “When is it time for me to hire HR for my company?”, put to Mr. Chaim Piekarski of C&A Marketing; to the more broad, like “When does a company decide to go for financing vs selling off equity,” asked to Mr. Zisha Novoseller of EPI.
Roundtable participants gained very different things as well, one, who identified himself as an e-commerce beginner said that he was there just to get more comfortable with the various concepts and principles. Shmuel Schnitzer from TJE, one of the event’s organizers, recounts how attendees kept on coming over to him and relating that seeing hundreds of entrepreneurs, all serious about their businesses, in one room together was inspiring. “People came out of the night making solid networking connections, we gave them access to very high level successful entrepreneurs. It was great!”
The atmosphere at the event was warm and friendly, something which was commented on by more than one person; Tzvi Chamishof InstaTrade said it was “a warm atmosphere, a great Business chill.” Jeremy Greenberg of SellerCloud, which was an event sponsor, commented on how impressed he was with the Ahavas Yisrael in evidence, people willingly and happily sharing advice and lessons with others who might be their competitors one day.
The attendees came bearing different levels of e-commerce experience and success, ranging from 10-15 year veterans to people who are just getting started, and there was something there for everyone. Rabbi Yehoshua Werde of CHYE (Crown Heights Young Entrepreneur), co-host of the event, explained that “We wanted to reach both the young people just getting into it and the older people who feel they have more to learn.” The mission of all the organizations, CHYE, TJE and EPI is to help the community take advantage of business opportunities he said and “E-Commerce is a field with incredible potential that we want to help people get into and succeed.”
E-Commerce has clearly turned into a great business for the frum community and more and more people are jumping in. Today, you almost certainly have a friend or family member in the business, and who knows, tomorrow it might be you.
For information about CHYE, please visit chye.info
By Sholom Ber Nemanow
When Yosef Levine of Deloitte & Touche opened the program at the second annual Crown Heights Young Entrepreneurs (CHYE) Founders Circle event, he didn’t spend a lot of time talking about all the things CHYE had already accomplished, now at it’s 3rd anniversary. He was focused on the future: “CHYE is all about one generation of experts and entrepreneurs helping out the next, and we need to accelerate that process” he said. “The growth must become exponential. CHYE is now an organization with a quarter million dollar yearly budget; by next year that number needs to be a million.”
This theme was brought home repeatedly over the course of the evening, as an array of influential speakers and panelists stressed the importance of growing as quickly as possible, wherever possible. This sense of urgency was underscored by the constant reminders of just how big the aspiring entrepreneurs in attendance should be dreaming.
The event took place on Monday, February 1st - 22 Shevat, and was hosted by Deloitte & Touche at their 40th floor Rockefeller Center offices. Deloitte is the world’s 2nd largest professional services network and cleared over $35 Billion in revenue in the 2015 fiscal year. Why would a corporate giant of that magnitude get involved with a community-level entrepreneurial organization? Because they specialize in supporting people who are trying to make big ideas work, and they recognize what it means to go out there and put it all out in the line to chase down that dream.
Roger G. Arrieux Jr. is a partner at Deloitte serving within the alternative asset management industry and he is one of CHYE’s biggest fans within Deloitte. “I’ve been involved with CHYE for several years and I’m involved because I believe strongly in its mission” he says. “This kind of investment into a community is really powerful; it doesn’t just help one person but it creates a wave of success that can help lift up everybody now and in future generations.” Glen Rosenthal, a general partner at Deloitte made a similar point. “I remain impressed by CHYE’s work. These are the kind of ideas that can transform a community.”
The evening began with relaxed networking time accompanied by delicious food and beverages as well as the sweet music of the Leviim Band. The structured part of the program got underway with opening remarks by Meyer Eichler, SVP Signature Bank and Board member of CHYE, , and was followed by a short video presentation that celebrated what CHYE had accomplished over the last 3 years.
The director of CHYE, Rabbi Yehoshua Werde, then gave a short speech. He thanked everyone for their incredible support over the last three years and promised that the future is going to be even bigger. “ We’ve reached the maturation of phase 1,” he said. “Phase 2 is going to take us to a level that I didn’t think would be possible when we first started. But thanks to your dedication and generosity, the future of CHYE is looking brighter I ever could have imagined”
Yosef Levine then came on to introduce Shelly Palmer, a technology and media savant with a worldwide presence, and the evening's featured entertainment: A panel discussion on “Harnessing Innovation and Globalization to Grow Your Business”, featuring some of the biggest names in technology, venture capital, and online retail. Moderated by Shelly Palmer, the panelists were: Eric Sirkin, a genius computer engineer who worked at some the world’s most important technology companies like Xerox and Apple, and is now living in Israel where he helps promising startups get off the ground. Chaim Piekarski, an eCommerce pioneer who has made a habit of reinventing his company, C&A Marketing, and has sent shock-waves through the industry every time. And Howard Morgan, a former professor of Decision Sciences at the Wharton School of business and current partner at First Round Capital, a venture capital firm that has seen some very big bets pay off recently, like Uber for example.
The panel was a lively and entertaining affair, as well a glimpse into to the kind of mindset it takes to build technologies and companies that compete at a truly global scale. The panel discussed and debated question like, “What is the future for brick-and-mortar retail?” “Should selling out to a massive company be the main goal I strive toward when building my business?” “How can I compete with those people out there who have the advantage of having gone to the best schools in the country?”, and even some real long term question like, “How will virtual reality affect shopping?”
As the panel was debating these global-scale issues, at that moment, if one were to look out the window onto the streets of Manhattan way down below below, it would be almost impossible to escape coming to this conclusion: For the aspiring entrepreneurs in the audience, and for CHYE as an organization, this is only the beginning.
Retail has always been a tough business, and the change brought by the explosive technology revolution of the last 20 years hasn’t made things any easier. Now more than ever, it is absolutely essential for retailers to stay ahead of developing trends. The “Finding Success in Retail” event, hosted by CHYE (Crown Heights Young Entrepreneurs) this week Tuesday night in Lubavitcher Yeshiva Crown Street, was a forum for the men and women of the retail industry to do exactly that.
We’re all familiar with just how cheap and convenient shopping online on Amazon or eBay could be. What you may not have been so familiar with is just how many of your friends and neighbors are sitting on the other side of the screen, selling you that bargain-priced pair of headphones or that bulk pack of pens.