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Student Michael Lai standing with his award from the Hofstra-Digital Remedy Venture Challenge
Student entrepreneurs Michael Lai '20

Michael Lai ’20, a two-time entrepreneurship competition winner, has been accepted to the 2020 class of the Clinton Global Initiative University, a prestigious yearlong program in leadership development hosted by the Clinton Foundation.

Lai, who is enrolled in Hofstra’s BS-MD program, was chosen based on his entrepreneurial and leadership skills, as demonstrated by his work as co-founder of Cress Health, an online peer support network for recovering addicts.

“I applied to the program with my co-founder, a current student at Brown University,” said Lai. “We were thrilled to be accepted into this prestigious program, not only for the opportunities it will provide for Cress but also our own personal development.”

Lai placed third in the Hofstra-Digital Remedy Venture Challenge, run by Hofstra’s Center for Entrepreneurship, and won $10,000 in the Graduate Management Admission Council ‘Think Like an Entrepreneur’ Competition.

Over the course of this year, Lai ’20 will gain access to “topic experts, mentorship, financial resources, and community events,” culminating in an international conference at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. There, he’ll meet members of the Clinton family and other members of the Clinton Foundation.

“Michael Lai is the first student to be accepted to the Clinton Global Initiative University since the Center for Entrepreneurship was founded in 2015,” said Executive Dean of Entrepreneurship and Business Development Stacey Sikes. “Cress Health has multiple applications that can make a huge difference in the lives of people who are suffering from substance abuse and need mental health support. We look forward to continuing to support Michael at the ideaHUb.”

At completion of the program, CGI U students are connected to a growing network of alumni and have the opportunity to win awards and recognition for their career work.

“The opportunity to receive year-long mentorship and network with members of the Clinton Foundation and the Clintons themselves is a tremendous opportunity that will allow us to significantly accelerate the growth of Cress,” said Lai on his hopes for the program. “But it’s the opportunity to meet future leaders from all around the world and learn about what everyone is doing to make a tangible impact in their own local community that we’re truly excited about. It’ll definitely be a life-changing cultural experience.”

This story was written by Madie Mento ’21.

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