By: Evan Axelrod and Doni Yellin  | 

The Spirit of Entrepreneurship


On March 23rd, the new X-Nihilo Entrepreneurship Society held its first event. The kickoff introduced members to the new society and its founders, and to establish an agenda for the coming semesters. At first glance, most people would not associate the term X-Nihilo with entrepreneurship; however, there is more to the society than just the unique name. The founders chose X-Nihilo as it’s a derivation of the latin phrase, “Ex-Nihilo.” meaning “something from nothing” or in Hebrew, “yesh me’ayin.” Just like God created the world from nothing, so too entrepreneurs utilize their God-given creativity to turn fleeting dreams into permanent realities. This is how the founder, Yonah Hiller, expressed the meaning of the society’s name.

As founder of the companies and, Hiller is no stranger to the life of an entrepreneur and neither are the rest of the society’s board members. Mark Weiss, Dena Skydell, and Yakira Klein all boast impressive entrepreneurial resumes. Mark, having started his own app called LIT™, plans to “unlock the entrepreneurial spirit in the student body.” Dena Skydell, one of the creators of Instagram account Hungry Twins, is ready to share her experiences with other students who have the desire to launch a business. Hungry Twins boasts a following on Instagram of over 500 thousand followers. When asked why she joined the society’s board, Dena pointed out, “I saw that there was no forum here at Yeshiva University that helps students develop ideas into businesses. We [at X-Nihilo] want to turn passion into action and help motivate fellow students to push themselves.” Yakira Klein has had her hand at running three extremely successful fundraising campaigns for Chai Lifeline. Having the ability to sell an idea whether that’s for a charity organization or a business is an essential skill for an entrepreneur.

The first ever event was filled with bright young minds, gathering to hear from the board members who have gone through the steps of becoming entrepreneurs, having launched their own businesses. Members shared personal business experiences, struggles they faced, and ultimately the path to their successes.The underlying theme of the night was that passion breeds success. Passion is the driver for when problems arise and solutions need to be found.

Yonah Hiller affirmed that the main goal of the society is “to foster a community of entrepreneurs and give students the tools and resources they need to start their own businesses.” As a community, members will discuss opportunities and create a milieu of innovation and creativity. One of the attendees of the event reflected on what he expects from the society: “The society will help my ideas become a reality and I can’t wait to continue to network with the members and hopefully accomplish great things.”

One way to think of the purpose of business is that it exists to further develop God’s world. When speaking with Yonah about enjoying the work one does, he reflected on the Mishna in Pirkei Avot, which reiterates the importance of loving work - ehov et hamilacha.” This is what X-Nihilo hopes to accomplish with its members. Not only will it offer members the structure of a startup think tank, but it will offer them a fun and interactive experience, regardless of their respective field of study. Having heard the feedback from the first event and the society’s future plans, the board members of X-Nihilo are well on their way to fostering a spirit of entrepreneurship at Yeshiva University.