DSB's 2nd Annual Business Plan Competition
Following countless hours of research, planning, and team-work, students across campus came together on Tuesday, April 16, to pitch their innovative and entrepreneurial ideas to a panel of venture and social judges during the 2nd Annual Business Plan Competition finale (BPC). Like last year’s successful inaugural event, students were competing for prize money that would help launch their businesses.
The competition, which was created and sponsored by the Charles F. Dolan School of Business (DSB), was launched to develop students’ capacity in entrepreneurship and is open to all undergraduate students at Fairfield. This year, students could compete in either the venture track or the new, social track. Dr. Gibson said, “Having the social track—a way for students to plan for businesses that address a social problem not addressed by the market—was a great addition this year. Having businesses that use entrepreneurial skills for the good of society is consistent with Fairfield’s mission of promoting men and women for others, and the DSB’s vision of cultivating ethical business leaders for a global future.”
At the finale, where more than 250 students, faculty, alumni, and community members arrived to watch the final pitches, four finalist teams presented their products and ideas for the venture track, and two final teams presented for the social track. Judges for the venture and social tracks included experts in the fields of entrepreneurism, venture capitalism, and socially responsible ventures. Joseph Bronson ’70, Principal of TheBronsonGroup, LLC; Mary Campbell MA ’72, Managing Director and Founder of EDF Ventures; Hugh Davis ’95, Co-founder and Managing Partner at reInvention LLC; and Michael Garvey ’89 founder of License Monitor, Inc., served as the venture track judges.
Mark LeClair, Ph.D., professor and Chair of economics; Chris Lowney, President of Pilgrimage for Our Children’s Future; and Winston Tellis, Ph.D., professor emeritus of Information Systems and Operations Management, served as the social track judges.
Prize money totaled $20,000 and was made possible by Campbell and Davis (both members of the DSB Advisory Council), Bronson (a member of Fairfield’s board of trustees), and Chris Stephens.
“This competition brought out a terrific set of plans from a diverse group of students,” said Dr. Gibson. “We had 12 semi-final teams with 35 students participating, and amazing teams in the finale competing with very interesting projects. Many of the teams were combinations of engineering and business students, which strengthened their presentations and the creativity of their projects. Given that these projects were completed outside of class, the motivation and performance of these students was even more impressive.”
The venture track finalists presented a wide range of ideas. School of Engineering (SOE) student Diego Mamani ’14 (electrical engineering); College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) student Max Espinoza ’13 (computer science), and DSB student Jamie Ramerini ’13 (finance) presented BluStrip by: WattUControl, a Bluetooth-enabled power strip with a customizable application for smartphones.
Michael Franco ’13, an international studies major in CAS and his team (Christopher D’Agostino ’13, Gabriel Garcia ’13, and Steven Velez ’13) presented Good to Go, an application designed to allow people to “seize the night” and electronically plan their evening activities and find great deals at a variety of venues.
Oliver Dumoulin ’16 a software engineering student in the School of Engineering, presented House N Stuff, an international music sharing website that notifies users the moment new music is released as well as upcoming concerts.
School of Engineering students and athletes Nicole Stark ’13 (mechanical engineering), Stephanie Cruz ’13 (software engineering), Elizabeth Cortez ’13 (mechanical engineering), and their DSB/CAS teammate Bernardo Navarro ’14 (accounting and economics) presented SenseFit, a heart rate monitor linked into an article of clothing to track a user’s heart rate and pulse to ensure healthy and safe workouts. The market for this included NCAA athletes, recreation athletes, and senior citizens eager to track their stats while exercising.
On the social track side of the competition, projects were designed not only to become profitable, but also contribute to the social good of the community. Alexander Boothe ’16, a marketing and management student in the DSB and Darren Mondezie ’14 a SOE electrical engineering student, pitched inCognito, a reversible hat designed to insulate on one side and cool on the reverse, intended for cancer patients.
Finally, Christopher Mandly ’13, an international business student in the DSB, and SOE electrical engineering student Daniel Maloney ’13, presented Luxo Elemento, a solar powered case for the iPhone.
Once the judges had returned from their deliberations, Lowney noted that all of the presentations had more than exceeded the judges’ expectations. inCognito was received first prize for the social track and was awarded $5,000. SenseFit received first prize for the venture track and was awarded $10,000. Campbell, who also judged the BPC’s inaugural event last year, praised all of the students who had competed, saying that all of the products were innovative and viable.
Pictured above: Stephanie Cruz '13, Nicole Stark '13, Mark Willkehr (BPC mentor), Elizabeth Cortez '13 and Bernardo Navarro '14. Members of SenseFit and winners of the Business Plan Competition (venture track)
Pictures below: Alexander Boothe '16, James Dugan ’85 (BPC mentor), Darren Mondezie '14. Members of inCognito and winners of the Business Plan Competition (social track)