Young Entrepreneurs Line-up for Fairfield Start-Up
Entrepreneurial spirit is alive and thriving at Fairfield University. Last month, Chris Huntley, associate professor and program director of Fairfield StartUp, hosted the Fairfield StartUp kickoff meeting. Fairfield StartUp is a yearly program of events designed to foster young entrepreneurial talent at the University through engagement with mentors and investors drawn from alumni and local business communities. The program culminates each year at the StartUp Showcase where students negotiate live with investors for seed money to start their businesses. Last month, 70 students who attended the kickoff meeting heard from guest speakers who participated in the competition last year. Students also had the opportunity to network with potential teammates, mentors and sponsors.
“This year we have totally revamped our program calendar, stepped up our plans for sponsorships and added critical mentoring resources for the run up to the Showcase,” explained Huntley. "The kickoff event was our chance to road test our latest model for the competition with students, and the feedback was great. The highlight of the evening was definitely Andrew McMahon ’89, founder and CEO of Vitae Analytics, serial entrepreneur and 2016 investor panelist who shared experiences from his 30+ year career.”
Students in attendance were encouraged to not only seek out inter-industry relationships, but also to be flexible with their creativity and learn as much as possible from others in the room. McMahon urged students to work with individuals who have a similar industrious nature. “When you have ideas, share them, and connect with others with an entrepreneurial spirit,” McMahon said. “Take calculated risks.” Students were also encouraged to evaluate the market potential of their idea and assess their ability to make their business idea a reality.
One student, Caroline Kiezulas ’17, explained how attending the kickoff meeting has taught her what it takes to make it in the marketplace and has inspired her to pursue her entrepreneurial ambitions and participate in the competition. “I created this idea and was so excited about it that I couldn’t sleep, but I had no idea how to make it happen,” said Kiezulas. “The kickoff meeting was a great opportunity for me to meet people to work with who can.”
Couldn’t make the kickoff meeting but interested in learning more about Fairfield StartUp? Mark your calendar for the Elevator Pitch Contest on October 15, the next StartUp event of the year. Here students will practice their pitch presentation skills by pitching a business idea they’ll be given with 90 seconds on the clock. With $2,500 up for grabs the stakes will be high. Following the elevator pitch contest is the Business Model Workshop on November 12 where students will practice pitching their own business idea. This is a mandatory event for students who want to commit to competing for a spot in the Showcase at the Showcase Qualifiers on December 14.
See below for event details. Students should register on OrgSync:
Elevator Pitch Contest: October 15, 2016 at 10 a.m.
Make a pitch. Win a prize.
Business Model Workshop: November 12, 2016 at 10 a.m.
Learn how to design a business from scratch.
Showcase Qualifiers: December 14, 2016 at 9 a.m.
Compete for a spot in the Showcase.
StartUp Showcase: April 5, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
Share in the excitement as StartUp teams vie for funding.
Insterested in sponsoring Fairfield StartUp? Contact the Dolan School of Business.