Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac students earn prizes at state, university pitch competitions

May 17, 2021

Looking up at the sky through a glass dome

Two Quinnipiac entrepreneurship students took home cash prizes at the Connecticut State Business Plan and Elevator Pitch Contest on April 23.

Glenn Dunne, of Dublin, Ireland, earned the $3,000 top prize in the Venture Enterprise Competition for Flexifabrics, LLC, which sells high-end marine products at an affordable cost. To meet the criteria for success in the venture enterprise division, participants had to present business model proposals that are scalable, capital intensive and have a large market.

“It was a huge honor to win the competition,” Dunne said. “It was amazing to be involved in such a diverse and competitive event with some of the best entrepreneurs in Connecticut. I am grateful to my professor, Dale Jasinski, who assisted me in getting this far in the competition.

Michael Ulitsch, of West Suffield, Connecticut, won two $500 prizes for JSM Boats LLC, a customer-focused boat rental business that delivers directly to renters. He won for making the best presentation at the competition and for finishing third in the Personal Business Competition, which was for business models that have a limited market and minimal capital requirements.

In addition, the People’s United Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Quinnipiac recently awarded $6,000 in prizes to students who proposed the most innovative new businesses at the annual pitch competition.

MSK Curbsider, a web application aimed at helping emergency room physicians treat patients with musculoskeletal complaints, won the $3,000 grand prize. The app was designed by Quinnipiac students Miguel Arasa, of Gainesville, Florida, and Samuel Oduwole, of Philadelphia, and co-founders Greg Pereira and Pranav Warman of Duke University and Sara Kurkowski and Alec Werthman of the University of Wisconsin.

“The MSK Curbsider team is thrilled with the outcome of the pitch competition,” Oduwole said. “Our fellow contestants had amazing ideas, which inspired us to do our best. Our victory validates the tremendous effort we have all put into the project. We are excited to utilize the awarded funds to bring MSK Curbsider to a doctor near you.”

Mckenna Haz, of British Columbia, earned the $2,000 second-place prize for her company SEAAV Athletics, a sustainable athletic clothing line made from recycled plastic waste from the ocean. SEEAV is committed to raising awareness and funding to keep oceans clean.

“I feel very grateful for winning this funding,” Haz said. “It will massively help SEAAV Athletics marketing initiatives for 2021.”

In third place, Isaac Burtis received a $1,000 prize for Springtide, an organic seaweed farm in Maine. Burtis’ family owns an oyster company, Ferda Farms, also in Maine.

The pitch competition was open to all undergraduate and graduate students at Quinnipiac. All entrants were required to submit a five-slide PowerPoint presentation with information about their proposed business concept, market analysis, competition and revenue model to Fred McKinney, the Carlton Highsmith Chair of Innovation & Entrepreneurship and director of the People’s United Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

“The student presentations this year were outstanding,” McKinney said. “The businesses that were pitched ranged from personal service companies to a manufacturer of an automated snowplow machine for home use. The students also had a wide range of geographical locations from Vancouver to Maine to San Diego. The judges had a difficult time picking the winners because all of the finalists were so strong in their delivery and content. This competition demonstrated that entrepreneurship and innovation is alive and well at Quinnipiac.”

The judges for the competition were Michael Casparino, retail president of People’s United Bank, Hamden; Michael Harris, executive director of the New Haven Innovation Collaborative; and Anthony Price, founder of Loot Scout.

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