Cornell Entrepreneur Network

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About CEN Events

What is CEN?
Cornell Entrepreneur Network (CEN) is the university’s professional business network. CEN offers events throughout the country and globally, valuable networking opportunities, online webinars and live streaming that feature world-class alumni industry leaders as speakers on timely topics. All programming is designed for entrepreneurial-minded Cornell alumni, students, faculty, and parents to learn from industry leaders, meet, connect and develop business relationships with each other while reconnecting with Cornell.

Since June 2001, approximately 50,000 alumni, parents, students, staff and friends have attended hundreds of events.

Why are CEN events so well attended?
For one, the speakers we recruit are top dogs in their field, they're very engaging, and they deliver information you won't hear anywhere else. Past events have featured speakers including the President of Godiva Chocolate, the CEO of Toll Brothers Inc., the Director of North American Sales for Google, the SVP of Marketing for the NBA - the list goes on. Another reason people find so much value in CEN is that the networking done at these events leads to real business opportunities. Take a look at our See Who Came or See Who's Coming list for each event and you'll notice a lot of "names in the news" and very senior managers.

About the Events
Most evening events follow a three-hour format, with two hours of networking surrounding 25 minutes of speaker presentation time, 15 minutes of speaker Q&A, and 15 to 20 minutes of Open Mic, where attendees can give a 30-second elevator pitch to the entire group. No matter what the topic, the presentations appeal to anyone who takes an entrepreneurial approach to their business or career. Breakfasts and luncheons tend to be smaller, and sometimes appeal to people in a specific industry or profession.

The Evolution of CEN
Cornell's award winning University-wide Entrepreneurship and Personal Enterprise Program (now Entrepreneurship@Cornell) created CEN in 2001 with the goal to "Link Cornellians to Foster Career Success." A number of alumni participants characterized these events as the perfect blend of "simultaneously celebrating our tie to Cornell and pursuing our own self interest." The program's popularity grew quickly, prompting EPE leadership to hire full-time CEN staff and move the administration of CEN to the Alumni Affairs and Development division.

CEN Benefactors

CEN would not have gotten such a powerful start without the enthusiasm, commitment, and support of Rob '69 and Terry '69 Ryan. IN 1989, Rob and Terry founded Ascend Communications, which eventually became one of the most successful companies of the Internet revolution. The company grew to over $2 billion in revenues (and profits) with over 4,000 people and was sold to Lucent in 1999. Since then, Rob and Terry have devoted themselves to giving something back to America, to entrepreneurship, and to Cornell. Their organization, Entrepreneur America, mentors hi-tech startups both at Cornell and around the country. In funding CEN, it was their hope that CEN would be a resource to alumni as they pursue their visions of success.