Quinnipiac University
People's United Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Open House,  President of People’s United Bank-Jeff Tengel and Center Director Fred McKinney.

Centers and Institutes

The People’s United Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

The People’s United Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship strives to support the determination and goals of students and entrepreneurs at Quinnipiac. It is the ideal creative space to dream up, research and turn great ideas into viable business solutions with the potential to go to market.

Putting entrepreneurial spirit into practice

Businessman, philanthropist and Quinnipiac trustee Carlton Highsmith believes that the great equalizer in American society consists of equal parts education, innovation and entrepreneurship. Thanks to the support of Quinnipiac’s nationally recognized School of Business and our partnership with People’s United Bank, we are able to fully realize that vision.

The People’s United Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship is a versatile and collaborative incubator for students, staff and faculty across Quinnipiac’s 8 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences to pursue their original entrepreneurial ventures. The center taps into the expertise and advanced research capabilities of experienced business professionals. It provides advisory services and workshops in legal, finance, research, marketing, design, business plan development and start-up mentoring, as well as access to business capital.

Our team consists of faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, alumni mentors and other friends of the university. Each of us shares both the entrepreneurial spirit and a commitment to making the center the ideal space for tackling each phase in the lifecycle of an idea, from brainstorming to meeting potential investors.

Upcoming Events

Speaker Series

The People’s United Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship announces its annual Speaker Series, which kicks off on March 10, 2021. The series features corporate innovators, entrepreneurs, Quinnipiac University alumni, public and private sector support organizations and experts who focus on financing entrepreneurial startups.

The goal of the series is to create a vibrant, entrepreneurial, on-campus community, provide inspiration for QU entrepreneurs (faculty, staff and students) and share information that will assist budding innovators in attaining their goals.

All sessions will run as virtual events on Wednesdays and Thursdays from noon–1 p.m.

A detailed schedule will be posted in January.


2021 Pitch Competition — Calling all students with new business ideas

The People’s United Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship invites you to participate in the 2021 Quinnipiac University Pitch Competition. This is your opportunity to develop, plan and share your business ideas to take them to the next level. The People’s United Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship will be awarding $6,000 in total cash prizes to get ideas off the ground. · 1st place: $3,000 · 2nd place: $2,000 · 3rd place: $1,000

Deadlines & Deliverables

March 21, 12 a.m.

Submit a short description of the idea or concept (product or service) and one image (jpg format) for the prescreening process for the final Pitch Competition. Selected candidates will be notified directly via email.

April 5, 12 a.m.

Pre-selected candidates must submit a five-slide PowerPoint presentation. Space is limited to 10 contestants, who will be selected from the pool of candidates.

April 14 (time TBD)

Pre-pitch session: First round of presentations to QU faculty only for the pre-selected group. This session aims to help participants plan for a proper pitch and get supportive feedback and tips on how to enhance the overall pitch and value proposition.

Need help? Fred McKinney will be available to work with interested students leading up to the competition to ensure they are ready to go for the upcoming deadlines. You can meet with him during his weekly office hours on Friday afternoons from 3 – 5 p.m. by appointment.

The final event will take place on:

April 2, 6 p.m.
The top 10 finalists will present to a panel of external expert judges. Final event details and judges will be shared in January.

All materials should be submitted to PUCIE@qu.edu.

Guidelines, Rules & Eligibility

  • You must be an enrolled Quinnipiac University undergraduate or graduate student at the time of the final pitch competition on April 21, 2021.
  • Teams can be composed of one or multiple students. No staff or faculty are eligible.
  • The purpose of any pitch is to obtain attention from investors, potential partners or a particular audience. Any content presented will be considered public information. Competitors should carefully consider excluding any proprietary information or materials.
  • Participating students grant Quinnipiac University the right to share content across the university’s owned channels. This includes, but is not limited to, editorial publications, marketing, general publicity, news releases, web and digital form. Students will be required to sign a media release.
  • Entrants acknowledge that by submitting the application materials to participate, they have consented to the guidelines and rules of the QU Pitch Competition.

2019 Pitch Competition Winners

Andrew Pizzi '19, left, and alumni Mike Cusano, right, accept a $3,000 check from Fred McKinney, director of the People’s United Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Quinnipiac. Pizzi and Cusano won a pitch competition for CrowdPlay, an in-stadium app that enhances the fan experience at sporting events.

Pitch competition helps students transform ideas into reality

Students had the opportunity to take their business to the next level. The People's United Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship invited all students to make a pitch for cash prizes to help get their entrepreneurship idea launched. The center awarded $5,000 in total cash prizes to three Quinnipiac students with the best pitches based on concept, market analysis, competition and revenue model. CrowdPlay, a free gaming application for IOS devices designed by Andrew Pizzi '19,  Dan Picone '19, and alumnus Mike Cusano '14, won the $3,000 grand prize.

Guest judges

  • Garrett Sheehan, president and CEO of Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce
  • Anthony Price, president and CEO of Loot Scout
  • Sharon Mwale, program manager of Health Venture

Contact Us

Fred Warren McKinney

Carlton Highsmith Chair Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Dir of the People's United Cntr for Innov & Entrepreneurship

Professor of Entrepreneurship & Strategy

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Centers and Institutes at Quinnipiac

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