The University’s StartUp program, which guides students in developing their business plans through a series of workshops, was named second-best in the state by the CT Entrepreneur Event Organizers consortium.
We connect bright, energetic, and savvy students with other smart people who know exactly what comes next. The result is always something special.
— Chris Huntley, PhD, Fairfield StartUp program director
A few days ahead of its yearly "Shark Tank"-style competition, the Fairfield University StartUp program was awarded second place in the state’s annual CT Entrepreneur Awards, which identify, recognize, and celebrate Connecticut’s leading entrepreneurs, ventures, and ecosystem supporters such as advocacy groups, funding agencies, and incubators.
The award was presented to Chris Huntley, PhD, associate professor and program director of Fairfield StartUp, and Anthony Mastrocola ’19 at the awards ceremony at Gateway Community College in New Haven, CT on Friday, April 20.
“Recognition at the CT Entrepreneur Awards validates that Fairfield StartUp is a leader in finding even more ways for our students to shine,” said Dr. Huntley. “We connect bright, energetic, and savvy students with other smart people who know exactly what comes next. The result is always something special.”
The goal of the Fairfield StartUp program is to connect entrepreneurial talent at Fairfield with alumni and local business leaders. Students engage in a series of workshops and events to help develop their business plan skills, and those interested in taking it a step further have the opportunity to pitch for a spot in Fairfield’s annual entrepreneurship competition, the Fairfield StartUp Showcase. What began as a small business plan competition in 2012 has grown to attract a live audience of over 450 people with thousands of other viewers watching live on Facebook. This year, Fairfield StartUp has raised over $100,000 from donors and sponsors for the Showcase and has recruited an all-star alumni investor panel to provide private seed funding during the competition.
Said Mastrocola: “The workshops and speakers that are organized to meet with both myself and the other teams are extremely helpful in growing and guiding our ambitions. It is not a cake walk by any means, and it takes more work than any three-credit class. I attribute not only to the hard work of the team(s), but the hours of time spent from Dr. Huntley, organizing speakers, leading workshops, and always having an open door policy for questions and advice,” he said.
This year’s Fairfield StartUp Showcase teams making their business pitches in front of a live audience, don’t miss the 2018 Fairfield StartUp Showcase on April 26 at the Fairfield University Quick Center for the Arts.