Student entrepreneurs sweep top spots at Connecticut State Business Plan Competition

May 09, 2022

Students pose with awards

The annual competition, sponsored by the Entrepreneurship Foundation, was open to students enrolled in either a 2- or 4-year public or private university. The April 22 event featured two main categories: personal venture and new venture.

This year, seven teams totaling 15 Quinnipiac students competed. In the personal venture category, Twoothie, a double-sided toothbrush for children, was awarded first place, while second place went to ULLR, a snow sports ski guide mobile app.

In the new venture category, first place went to ProsperOn, a way of reducing financial anxiety in young adults through education, while second place was awarded to Trakr, a way to optimize lacrosse training. 

Dale Jasinski, associate professor of entrepreneurship and strategy, has mentored students in the competition since 2000.

“Competitions like this or the national competitions are usually the first step in actually launching,” Jasinski said. “Almost every Quinnipiac alumnus or alumna who is an entrepreneur that I mentor had their start in a competition.

“We are the only school in the country to have had teams in all of the five major national competitions for three years in a row, and this year we had an MBA team make the semifinals of the University of Oregon new venture championship,” Jasinski added.

Emily Kane, one of the creators of Twoothie, expressed how important Quinnipiac has been in her product’s journey, especially Jasinski and Trip Sanders, an entrepreneurship instructor.

“Professor Sanders helped us with our pitch and developing our business model and marking plan, and Professor Jasinski helped us with our application and the process for entering the competition,” said Kane, who collaborated with Sophia Casino on the toothbrush.

Jonathan Rosenblum and Jack Hurlbert are the creators of the ULLR mobile app. Rosenblum said they hope to launch their project in late 2023.

“ULLR is a snow sports app that suggests trails based on your riding habits as well as gives you crucial information about lift lines, lift prices, traffic and weather — all before you make the decision to hop on a plane or car and make the trek to the mountain,” he said. “ULLR takes the headache out of the ski day and allows you to focus on what is most important to you — enjoying the mountains.”

ProsperOn was the result of teamwork by Aidan Rausch, Ben Weber, Jake Scurrah and Tony Cerce.

“ProsperOn strives to eliminate financial stress and anxiety by addressing the root of the problem: education,” Rausch said. “Our innovative approach teaches students financial literacy through storylines and decision points they resonate with, like ‘choose your own adventure book.’ The product is sold to students through colleges and universities as a standalone resource.”

The group had help from Jasinski and David Tomczyk, associate professor of entrepreneurship and strategy, along with School of Business Dean Holly Raider and Chief Experience Officer Tom Ellett.

“We have spent the last year-and-a-half exploring many business models and products,” Rausch said. “To see this one get some traction and recognition was incredibly rewarding, and we are excited to ride this momentum going forward.”

Trackr, the lacrosse training device, was led by Colin Uyeki.

“It’s a custom device that athletes can attach to their equipment during training to give them feedback that will accelerate their growth and allow them to share progress on social media and within teams,” Uyeki said. “For my team, we have a long road ahead. We are hoping to continue to develop the product, make connections, and enter pitch competitions all with the goal of being ready for a competitive accelerator by November of this year.”

Jasinski attributes much of the students’ accomplishments to their drive and ability to work as teams.

“Our success is a great demonstration of the ambition of our students to go above and beyond what is required in a class or even for their degree,” he said. “Competing is not always fun as you are judged in an open manner and the students who represent us do so despite those concerns.”

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