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Letter from the Executive Director

clare speaking at mic

We will continue to create a culture at Tsai CITY where curious students of diverse backgrounds and disciplines find a home at Yale for exploration and innovative problem-solving.

The 2022-2023 academic year was a watershed year at Tsai CITY. Emerging from necessary but constraining pandemic precautions, our beautiful light-filled space became a beacon for students around the university seeking innovation programming and a welcoming workspace. 

We were delighted to have Joe Tsai engage with the center as a senior visiting innovation fellow for the second year in a row. He, and in one instance, he and Clara Wu Tsai, held in-person interviews with alumni about their innovation pathway in front of a live audience.

The fall semester marked the fifth anniversary of the launch of Tsai CITY! We celebrated with a birthday bash that was lots of fun.

Over the course of the year, students renewed their excitement for on-campus exploration. We also scheduled several trips to New York and Boston to bring Yale students together with alumni and others in those regional innovation ecosystems.

The Tsai CITY team re-engaged in person with colleagues around the world, presenting at four major annual conferences to contribute to best practices in innovation experiential education: the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (Matt Gira and Victor Padilla-Taylor), the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (Victor Padilla-Taylor), the Global Entrepreneurship Education Summit (Zoe Hunter), and VentureWell Open (me).

With our Yale Entrepreneurship Collaborative partners, we very enthusiastically delivered the first in-person Startup Yale since 2019. Over one and a half days, more than $175,000 and eight prizes were awarded to students and community members pursuing a broad variety of startups and nonprofits. Not long afterward, several of our 2023 summer fellows were selected to pitch at the expanded and diversified Yale Innovation Summit, going head–to–head with experienced founders and walking away with several of the prize checks.

Finally, it was with great pleasure that we welcomed our faculty director, Anjelica Gonzalez, back for a second term in her leadership role at the center. She has become an essential thought leader and collaborator, and we look forward to continuing to work with her.

As we prepare for the upcoming academic year, we look forward to continuing to create a culture at Tsai CITY where students of diverse backgrounds and disciplines can find a home to pursue their innovation journeys, develop new leadership opportunities for students and staff, and explore partnerships with colleagues at Yale and in New Haven to amplify the innovation and entrepreneurship accomplishments of the community.

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