Select Fairfield student entrepreneurs join peers from across the state for an intensive startup summer camp program taught by serial entrepreneur, Bob Dorf, and funded by the CT Next Higher Education Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative.
Our students and recent alumni...collaborate with peers from schools all over Connecticut and receive coaching from some of the best entrepreneurs around.
— Chris Huntley, PhD, associate professor of information systems and operations management and director of Fairfield StartUp
Following the success of Fairfield’s annual entrepreneurship competition, the Fairfield StartUp Showcase, select teams are spending their summer further developing their business idea by participating in the CT Startup Summer Camp. The camp is taught by serial entrepreneur and co-author of the best selling entrepreneurial guidebook, “The Startup Owners Manual,” Bob Dorf, and director and co-instructor Dale Jasinski, PhD, Quinnipiac University associate professor of entrepreneurship and strategy. The camp is a series of workshops and has attracted entrepreneurs from 17 different community colleges as well as public and private universities.
Offered through the Entrepreneurship Foundation, Fairfield University was instrumental in securing the grant to fund the program from CT Next Higher Education Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, by demonstrating to the state that student startup programs have tangible value. The goal of the program is to provide local entrepreneurs with hands-on, interactive lectures about how to create a strong business model while connecting them with potential customers, partners, and investors. Fairfield University’s own StartUp teams, Land Maverick, E-Z Bikes, Belle, and Tempas, represent the largest number of students from any given university in attendance.
“The first annual Connecticut Startup Summer Camp for Connecticut residents and current and former students of Connecticut colleges and universities got off to an incredible start. The first weekend helped everyone create and refine their business models through interactive workshops, coaching, and mentoring,” said Dr. Jasinksi.
Participating mentors and experts in their respective fields are available to conference with participants on their business models and provide real time feedback and advice. Mentors include Chris Huntley, PhD, Fairfield University associate professor of information systems and operations management and director of Fairfield StartUp, Jeff Moretz, PhD, Fairfield University assistant professor of management, Mary Anne Rooke, founder of Rooke & Associates, executive director of Crossroads Venture Group (CVG), and president and managing director of Angel Investor Forum (AIF), and Mike Roer, president of Entrepreneurship Foundation.
During the first session participants studied topics including business modeling, optimization skills, gathering and processing customer feedback, and competitive analysis. Since then, they've learned how to effectively market and test their product ideas and have covered topics including customer acquisition, sales channels, and how teams can optimize their product or service idea to maximize their chances for success. This weekend, participants will complete the program by combining the marketing, finance, and pitch presentation skills they’ve learned to take a shot at competing for several $10,000 grants from CT Next.
“This year’s CT Startup Summer Camp is something we’ve been wishing for since the founding of the FUEL Summer Fellows program two years ago,” said Dr. Huntley. “The summer camp allows our students and recent alumni to collaborate with peers from schools all over Connecticut and receive coaching from some of the best entrepreneurs around.”
Previous Fairfield StartUp Showcase finalist and member of team Tempas, Abigail Sakati ’20, shared, “So far this experience has allowed my team to redesign our revenue model while connecting with business professionals. Already we have heard new perspectives and have received new insights on how we can create a really strong business plan that not only our customers will love, but also one that we can sell. It is truly inspiring to interact with other entrepreneurs from all over Connecticut.”