We Develop Entrepreneurs
Now more than ever Fairfield University is seeing an increased interest in entrepreneurship from current and prospective students. In response to this interest, the Dolan School offers many ways students can participate in entrepreneurship activities at the University, both in the classroom and within the local community.
Management majors may elect to pursue an Entrepreneurship concentration, while all students may declare a standalone Entrepreneurship minor. Outside of the classroom, students can participate in the Dolan School Entrepreneurship club, or compete for a spot in the annual entrepreneurship competition, the Fairfield StartUp Showcase. Students also have access to the Dolan School’s extensive network of alumni entrepreneurs and local business partners to learn from and further develop their business ideas and entrepreneurial interests.
Undergraduate students interested in pursuing entrepreneurship academically may elect a concentration in Entrepreneurship as part of the Management major, or as a standalone minor. While working professionals with a bachelor’s degree may elect to pursue the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Entrepreneurship. Learn more about programs and course requirements.
As students study all aspects of entrepreneurship and develop business ideas in the classroom, Dolan faculty strives to put those business plans into real-world context. One example of this is a recent partnership Chris Hamer, adjunct faculty member and entrepreneur-in-residence, and students in the Entrepreneurship Product Development and Commercialization class, developed with the Westfield Trumbull Mall in Trumbull, Connecticut. To pilot the idea of Gondoola™, Hamer and students have partnered with Westfield Trumbull Mall to secure a mall kiosk where they will recruit drivers and promote the service among potential customers.
Students may elect to become a member of the Entrepreneurship Club. Co-presidents of the club, Alec Black ’18 and Patrick Heeks ’18, bring entrepreneurs to campus to speak with students. Black and Heeks have hosted many speakers including Patrick Sweeny ’83, partner and co-founder of Symmetry Partners, John Casano, fintech entrepreneur and founding partner of Paragon Intel, and venture capitalist pioneers William Egan ’67, founder and general partner at Alta Communications and Marion Equity Partners and Ed Glassmeyer, co-founder of Oak Investment Partners.
Fairfield StartUp is an annual program of events designed to foster young entrepreneurial talent at Fairfield University through engagement with mentors and investors drawn from alumni and local business communities.
Starting with the kickoff event in September, students are shepherded through a sequence of educational, networking, and mentoring events designed to help them ideate and articulate their business models, recruit teams and mentors, and attract partners and other resources needed to start their businesses. Annual events include the elevator pitch contest and business model workshop.
The StartUp program culminates each year at the StartUp Showcase, the annual entrepreneurship competition where students negotiate live with investors and compete for seed money in front of a live audience to start their businesses. Select students will then continue to develop their business ideas during the summer months as part of the Summer Fellows Program.
See Highlights from the 2017 StartUp Showcase
According to the Kauffman Foundation, about one third of business incubators are based at universities, and the Dolan School is among them. Since opening Fairfield University’s Entrepreneurship Laboratory (FUEL) in 2013, 13 companies have used the space, resulting in 25 jobs, and over $500,000 in fundraising and investments. Among these companies is international lifestyle brand SoccerGrlProbs, founded by Fairfield alumnae, who recently signed with Nike.
Plans for construction are underway to build a Center for Entrepreneurship in the new 86,000+ square-foot Dolan School building due to open in fall 2019.
Are you interested in supporting entrepreneurship at Fairfield University? Alumni, local business professionals, and friends of the Dolan School are encouraged to learn more about ways to support entrepreneurship efforts through mentorship, sponsorship, guest lecturing, and giving. To learn more please contact:
Carl Scheraga, PhD, chair of the management department and professor of business strategy and technology management, for information regarding adjunct teaching opportunities or guest lecturing in classes
Chris Huntley, PhD, associate professor of information systems and operations management, for information regarding how to get involved with Fairfield StartUp as a mentor, a sponsor, or a donor
Jeff Moretz, PhD, assistant professor of management
Carl Scheraga, PhD, chair of the management department and professor of business strategy and technology management
Chris Hamer, entrepreneur-in-residence
Entrepreneurship In-Residence Team
Phil Cagnassola, investor-in-residence
Scott DePetris, entrepreneur-in-residence
John Drettler, executive-in-residence
Chris Hamer, entrepreneur-in-residence
StartUp Program Director
Chris Huntley, PhD, associate professor of information systems and operations management