Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Students Pitch "Shark Tank"
Chris Hamer joined Fairfield’s Dolan School of Business in September with one goal in mind – to give students at Fairfield University real-life experience on what it is like to launch your own business. In the spirit of entrepreneurship, he set out on a mission to bring a new model of entrepreneurship learning to the classroom.
Over the winter break, Hamer and four Dolan School senior students, Ari Kilgore, Romario Lemy, Brendan Greene and Christian Habberstad, travelled to Las Vegas where they had the opportunity to pitch two separate business ideas to the producers of ABC’s Shark Tank during an open-call at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES). Under Hamer's guidance, Fairfield students pitched ideas that were a direct result of ideas developed in the classroom.
The ideas presented at CES originated from the work done by Hamer and students of Dr. Carl Scheraga’s "Technology Ventures" class last semester. Hamer began the semester by pitching business ideas he was prepared to take to market to the students. The class broke into teams and developed two of these ideas. Hamer used the structure of the South by Southwest (SXSW) entry questionnaire for the Accelerator pitch competition to get students to develop the business ideas further.
The SXSW Accelerator competition is centered around discovering advancements in various sectors of emerging technology, with startups competing to participate in the competition at the SXSW conference. Applications were submitted November 8 and the class is currently waiting to hear if they’ve been accepted.
This semester, Hamer, in partnership with Dr. Scheraga, professor of business strategy and technology management, Dr. Chris Huntley, associate professor of information systems and operations management and Dean Donald Gibson will relocate these classroom-started business ideas to Fairfield’s downtown incubator office, The Fairfield University Accelerator and Mentoring Enterprise (FAME).
Students will further develop these business ideas through formal internships operating out of the FAME office. Students involved will have the opportunity to work on one of the two student-led business ideas, or for Hamer’s business, CrowdFlik.
As owner of CrowdFlik, Hamer’s experience in entrepreneurial adventures runs deep. He is heavily vested in the state of Connecticut’s efforts to stimulate innovation and ensure Connecticut remains competitive. Currently Connecticut is ranked 5th in the U.S. for entrepreneurship, namely for patent activity and the quality of the states' university system.
As Chris Hamer and students develop their business ideas throughout the semester, students campus-wide are also busy developing their business ideas for the 5th annual Fairfield Stag StartUp Competition. The Stag StartUp Showcase will be held on April 5th, 2016 where select teams of students will pitch their business ideas to a panel of investors as they vie for funding.
Look for more exciting opportunities to engage in entrepreneurship at Fairfield. For more information please contact us.
And as for Shark Tank...stay tuned.
Pictured lower right: Fairfield University students pitching for Shark Tank