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Hynes Institute Startup Incubator Space Opens at 748 North Avenue

Dr. Nyre, Dr. Winkler and the Hynes Family
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - Iona College entered a new chapter in its history with the opening of GaelVentures, the start-up incubator space of the Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Iona hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony at the facility’s home at 748 North Avenue, during the College's Homecoming & Family Weekend. In addition, the Hynes Institute held its first ideaHackathon event, a contest where students pitched entrepreneurial ideas to win prizes.
GaelVentures was created to support student programming at Iona College and to serve the New Rochelle and greater Westchester area as a resource for its local entrepreneurship and business ecosystem. The space is the temporary home for the Hynes Institute. In the future, the venue will look to give start-up support, mentorship and funding to entrepreneurs in the student and community incubator. The goal of GaelVentures is to help translate passions into ideas, and ideas into actions. The first hosted event will be the Westchester Tech Meetup on Tuesday, October 24, at 6 p.m., where local entrepreneurs and Iona students can present their business ideas to like-minded innovators.
“At the Hynes Institute, it is our goal to create a community of student entrepreneurs and innovators by providing entrepreneurial learning opportunities for all students across the Iona College community,” said Christoph Winkler, Ph.D., endowed professor and founding Hynes Institute program director. “Building an interdisciplinary entrepreneurship program of that nature is something very unique and reflective of Jim and Anne Marie Hynes’ groundbreaking vision.”
“We’re delighted to launch the first visible manifestation of the Hynes Institute,” said Anne Marie Hynes. “The idea behind the institute was to introduce elements of the entrepreneurial spirit, both mindset and the associated problem-solving strategies which will be built into the curriculum of the entire undergraduate program at Iona. Arts, science, and business students will be exposed to areas of thinking not generally experienced in higher education.”
The Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Iona College will feature an interdisciplinary curricular focus in entrepreneurship and innovation for all students in any major.  It will also offer co-curricular programming such as student clubs, speaker series, workshops, competitions, community engagement, and internships, as well as co-working, mentoring and networking opportunities. The program also provides opportunities to work with Hynes Institute faculty fellows and entrepreneurs-in-residence, along with accomplished alumni and visiting entrepreneurs. Under the direction of Dr. Winkler, the Hynes Institute is developing a robust program that will provide students with an environment that fosters an entrepreneurial mindset through practice and creative problem-solving across all disciplines and schools.
“With the guidance of the Hynes family and the magnificent efforts of Iona College’s Facilities Management, Dr. Winkler and his team transformed 748 North Avenue into an incubator space where students, faculty and community members will come to launch ideas and businesses that will indeed Move the World,” said Iona president, Joseph E. Nyre, Ph.D. “This is an incredible asset for Iona, New Rochelle, and Westchester County as we look to demonstrate the academic innovation of the College.”
At the ribbon cutting, Deputy Westchester County Executive Kevin Plunkett presented a proclamation on behalf of County Executive Rob Astorino in support of GaelVentures. Dr. Nyre, Mrs. Hynes and Dr. Winkler also addressed the assembled crowd to thank them for their efforts in making the Hynes family dream a reality.
The winners of the Homecoming ideaHackathon
Iona's first ideaHackathon took place the morning of Homecoming with the finalists presenting following the ribbon cutting. Gareth Miles, from Rise Group, introduced the pitch competition. The challenge was to present ideas on how to elevate the Hynes Institute program to a global scale and highlight its impact on its students. Melissa Gulia ’18, Yeimy Martinez ’18, Jeanne Garraud ’18 and Lucie Tallec ’18 were the winning team. The quartet’s idea was to expand the local Hackathon worldwide, allowing multinational teams to compete in the problem-solving competition, thereby fostering a virtual community of entrepreneurs. Another idea in contention was to create an international study-abroad program where Hynes Institute students could work with students from other countries based on its curriculum. A third finalist team presented the creation of a residence hall for Hynes Institute students and co-curricular problem-solving activities based on community input.
 “It was amazing to see almost 70 students drawn from both the School of Arts & Science and the School of Business brainstorm ideas and work together collaboratively in teams that had never met before,” said Dr. Winkler. “We look forward to more events like this to broaden the entrepreneurial mindset at Iona College.”
Founded in 1940, Iona College is a four-year private coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers and American Catholic higher education, located just 20 miles from Midtown Manhattan in New Rochelle. With a global network of more than 45,000 alumni, Iona is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona offers undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science and business administration, pre-professional and professional programs, Master of Arts, Master of Science and Business Administration degrees, and numerous advanced certificate programs. The College is the second-largest private sector employer in New Rochelle and provides more than 66,000 service hours in the community each year. Studies indicate the College also has an annual economic impact of $258 million as measured by the NY Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU). See more at