StartUp Showcase: Team Right Hand Apprentice Aims to Connect Students Looking for Work With Homeowners Looking for Assistance

StartUp Showcase: Team Right Hand Apprentice Aims to Connect Students Looking for Work With Homeowners Looking for Assistance

Photo of Team Right Hand Apprentice

Team Right Hand Apprentice Members (l-r): Caroline Neilson '22, Christian O’Rourke '24, Valentina Montalvo '23, and Phil-Jay Whyte '25

Founder Christian O’Rourke ’24 developed the business in 2020 at the height of the pandemic and has recruited a team to take his company to the next level. Team Right Hand Apprentice will pitch for seed funding at the tenth annual Showcase on April 27.

Christian O’Rourke ’24 came to Fairfield eager to take full advantage of the extracurricular opportunities at the Charles F. Dolan School of Business. He was looking to join a group where he could get exposure to students from other majors, and he also wanted to find something that aligned with his finance major. When O'Rourke discovered the StartUp program, he knew it would be a good fit because he already has his own company.

“During my senior year of high school I was working at ShopRite and then the pandemic hit,” said O'Rourke. “I was out of work, not making money, and wasn’t leaving the house. Then someone hired me to paint their deck. My dad is a carpenter and I've always been pretty handy. I figured I could make a business out of helping homeowners with their projects. By the end of the summer I had 25 clients and decided to keep growing the business.”

O’Rourke’s business, Right Hand Apprentice, is an online platform that connects students looking for work with homeowners looking for assistance with home projects. He participated in the 2021 StartUp program and made it to the qualifier round, but did not advance to the Showcase. That experience made him determined to return to pitch again for a spot in the Showcase, this time accompanied by a team.

“I spent a lot of time recruiting my team,” explained O’Rourke. “I was on LinkedIn looking for potential team members, talking to the mentors, and eventually recruited three Fairfield students and a student from St. Joseph’s College. We have a really diverse team which makes us a strong contender in the Showcase.

One of O’Rourke’s team members, Caroline Neilson ’24, participated in the 2021 Fairfield StartUp Showcase with team Kindler, which was awarded $3,000 by last year’s investor panel. Other team members include Valentina Montalvo ’23, Phil-Jay Whyte ’25, and a 2022 graduate of St. Joseph's, TJ Schlotter.

Right Hand Apprentice is designed to generate a marketplace of highly skilled, trained, and vetted local college students to perform household chores and projects at a competitive price. Students will undergo a training program to teach them soft skills including professionalism, diligence, and efficiency, all traits they will be able to use in their future careers. Students using the platform will be able to check estimates to ensure they are providing a competitive quote and homeowners can process payment through the platform.

To learn more about Right Hand Apprentice’s business plan, and to see four other student teams pitch live in front of a panel of investors for seed funding, register for the tenth annual Fairfield StartUp Showcase on Wednesday, April 27, 2022 at the Quick Center.

Fairfield StartUp Showcase

Date: Wednesday, April 27, 2022
Time: Doors open at 6:30 p.m. l Showcase starts at 7 p.m.
Location: Quick Center for the Arts

Additional Details:

Five student teams will make their business pitch live and compete for seed funding. This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required.

Tags:  Dolan School,  Top Stories

Last modified: 04-08-22 11:32 AM

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