Quinnipiac University

School of Business M&T Bank Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

We are driven by the knowledge that entrepreneurship is not limited to business studies, and that ideas for growth and opportunity come from all academic areas of the university and all sectors of society. The result is students who are better equipped to lead us into the best future world possible.

What We Do

Students sift through clothing at Al’s Articles, a sustainable clothing business owned by Allison Demirjian. Al’s Articles is dedicated to “spreading secondhand love through unique, vintage-to-modern, hand-picked pieces,” Demirjian said. “Quinnipiac’s entrepreneurship class really helped me take my business model to the next level by mapping out the different aspects of Al’s Articles.” 

The resources to turn your dreams into reality

The M&T Bank Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship empowers and connects students, staff and faculty across all of Quinnipiac’s academic disciplines to pursue their entrepreneurial ventures. We provide advisory services and workshops in legal, finance, research, marketing, design, business plan development and start-up mentoring for all types of innovative business, social, sustainable and artistic ventures. We accomplish this by catalyzing students and faculty from all disciplines and backgrounds to help promising entrepreneurs learn ways to turn their ideas into practical use.

We support faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, alumni mentors and other internal and external partners of the university. Our relationships with successful entrepreneurs and business owners outside the QU community enable us to connect our students with the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region and country and enhance the economic development provided by small to mid-sized businesses that are fundamental to a successful economy.

2024 Pitch Competition

April 24, 2024

The annual Quinnipiac University Pitch Competition gives students the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges, receive critical feedback and compete for cash prizes. The competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines. Students are invited to submit entries for new ventures in such categories as products, services, healthcare, social impact, sustainability, arts, family business and more.


Register to Compete

Register to Attend

Deadlines and Deliverables

Information Session — February 1, 2024 at 5 p.m.

Applicants are required to attend the information session. The information session will discuss the pitch preparation and mentoring process for the competition. Beginning this year, we will host sessions and mentoring opportunities along the way prior to submission of an initial application.

Join the Info Session

 

Application Deadline — March 23, 2024

All competitors must submit a finalized application for the initial screening process. Applicants are encouraged to seek help and feedback from Patrice Luoma to learn how to prepare and hone their ideas for the competition. Applicants may also be introduced to a specialized mentor.

From the initial pool of applicants, a smaller group of semifinalists will be selected to move forward in the competition. They will have the opportunity to continue to work with a mentor to receive additional coaching for the competition. Applicants who are not selected are encouraged to seek additional feedback to learn how to prepare their pitches for future competitions.

 

Semifinalist Presentation Outline — April 1, 2024
  • Semi-finalists to submit a five-slide PowerPoint presentation.

 

Semifinalist Presentations — April 11, 2024
  • Semifinalists present internally to faculty and other judges.

  • This session serves to help participants prepare for an effective pitch and get supportive feedback and tips on how to enhance the overall pitch and value proposition of the venture.

  • After this session, finalists will be selected to move on to the final event.

 

Final Event — April 24, 2024, 7 p.m.
  • The finalists will present to a panel of external expert judges on April 24, 2024.

  • The M&T Bank Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship will award cash prizes to winning businesses in amounts up to $3,000.

Register to Attend

Register to Compete

How to Apply

The initial application will ask:

  • Names and email addresses of the team members

  • What is the problem you have identified?

  • What is your solution and unique advantage?

  • Who are your customers?

  • How are you going to deliver your solution?

  • Who is the management team? What is the market fit and why are you the right founder?

  • What is the financial overview?

  • What amount of money (up to $3,000) would help your venture and what would you use the money for?

Applicants are encouraged to seek help and feedback from Patrice Luoma to learn how to prepare and submit their pitches and hone their ideas for the competition. You may also be put in touch with a separate mentor. 

Submit your application

Guidelines, Rules and Eligibility

  • Applicants must be enrolled as undergraduate or graduate students at Quinnipiac University at the time of the final pitch competition on April 24, 2024. 

  • Entrants can be individuals or teams. Teams of 2-4 members are strongly encouraged.

  • Past winners of the Spring Pitch Competition are not eligible to enter their same idea but may enter a different idea.

  • Elevator Pitch competitors from Fall 2023 are encouraged to apply for the Spring Pitch Competition and may submit the same idea.

  • Faculty and staff are not eligible to apply. 

  • The purpose of a 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 about your team and your business across the university’s owned channels. This includes, but is not limited to editorial publications, marketing, general publicity, news releases, web, and digital formats. 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.

For more information, please contact
Patrice Luoma, Ph.D.
Director, M&T Bank Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship
patrice.luoma@qu.edu
203-530-5005

Sip and Shop Pop-Up Shop

A business owner smiles at a table selling books.

Third annual Sip & Shop celebrates small business owners of color during Black History Month

A small business festival featuring food, drink, pumped-up music and a spirited crowd hallmarked the third annual Sip & Shop pop-up event at Quinnipiac.

We celebrated Black History Month and supported small businesses owned by people of color during the third annual Sip and Shop Pop-Up event. This free, family-friendly shopping opportunity featured Valentine's Day gifts, live music, DJs, food, performing artists and more.

Read the article on Quinnipiac Today

Watch the inverview with Fox 61

Alumna Spotlight

McKenna Haz, class of 2021, hosts a pop-up shop for her small business.

Alumna grows eco-focused clothing company dedicated to ridding world's oceans of plastic

Mckenna Haz ’21, is the founder of SEAAV Athletics, a company on a mission to make waves — not waste.

As part of Women's Entrepreneurship Week, the M&T Bank Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship proudly hosted McKenna Haz '21 for a pop-up shop and a speaking engagement detailing the growth and trajectory of her eco-friendly sports apparel brand, SEAAV Athletics.

The company, which Haz pitched as part of an introduction to entrepreneurship class during her first year at Quinnipiac, makes sustainable athletic wear with recycled materials. All of its products are made with post-consumer water bottles, and with each purchase, the company removes one pound of waste from the shoreline.

In SEAAV Athletics’ first year of business, the company diverted more than 170,000 plastic bottles through its ocean clean-up initiatives with an area partner and then repurposed them into its apparel. SEAAV Athletics’ big goal is to remove 1 million plastic bottles from shorelines by 2025.

Haz majored in advertising and integrated communications and minored in entrepreneurship and small business management at Quinnipiac. 

She attributes several professors at Quinnipiac to helping her build a strong foundation for her success. Her professors helped her with her business plan, traveled to business competitions with her, helped with her pitch and opened the door to their connections. 

Read More on Quinnipiac Today

Join Us at an Upcoming Event

Student pitching a business plan to a crowd and panelists at the Quinnipiac Pitch Competition.

Pitch Competition Workshop: Competitors & Marketing

March 6, 2024

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM (ET)

Lender School of Business SB 109 Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Read More
Student pitching a business plan to a crowd and panelists at the Quinnipiac Pitch Competition.

Pitch Competition Workshop: Understanding Financials & Valuation

March 20, 2024

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM (ET)

Lender School of Business SB 109 Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Read More
Student pitching a business plan to a crowd and panelists at the Quinnipiac Pitch Competition.

Pitch Competition Workshop: Creating the Pitch Deck & Pitching Essentials

April 3, 2024

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM (ET)

Lender School of Business SB 109 Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Read More

Reception for the 2024 QU Spring Pitch Competition

April 24, 2024

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM (ET)

Carl Hansen Student Center SC 119

Read More

2024 Spring QU Pitch Competition

April 24, 2024

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM (ET)

Carl Hansen Student Center SC 133 Piazza

Read More

Past Event Details

The M&T Bank Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship holds events throughout the year designed to create a vibrant, entrepreneurial, on-campus community, provide inspiration for Quinnipiac entrepreneurs (faculty, staff and students) and share information that will assist budding innovators in attaining their goals.

Grand Opening of the Innovation Hub

April 29, 2022, Mount Carmel Campus
The launch of the new space for the Innovation Hub also featured an overview of opportunities for innovators and entrepreneurs to pursue across campus. Faculty, staff, administrators, fellows, alumni, business owners and corporate partners joined together with participants from our recent pitch competition to celebrate the occasion. Provost Debra Liebowitz kicked off the event with an introduction to the evolution and design of the hub concept with Patrice Luoma, director of the M&T Bank Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, sharing highlights of the year’s events.

Women Entrepreneurship Week

In celebration of the Women Entrepreneurship Week 2021, the M&T Bank United Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the M&T Bank Center for Women and Business co-hosted a panel discussion featuring Quinnipiac women student entrepreneurs who discussed various phases of their entrepreneurial journey and what it takes to be your own boss.

The panel included Isabella Dias, founder of Beijo by Bella; Dena Dupree, a founder of NailTique; McKenna Haz, founder of SEAAV Athletics; and Kallie Purdue, a founder of Refashion. It was moderated by Patrice Luoma, director of the M&T Bank Centers at Quinnipiac.

Read more about Women Entrepreneurship Week

Student Leaders Network with Advisory Council Members

October 21, 2021, On The Rocks Pub & Grill, York Hill Campus
The M&T Bank Center for Women and Business and M&T Bank Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship co-hosted a networking event for School of Business student leaders to meet the Advisory Councils, Steering Committee, and Faculty Fellows.

Healthcare & Entrepreneurship

April 15, 2020
Mary Howard, Executive Director, ABCT
Donna Lecky, Co-Founder and Managing Director, iHaven and HealthVenture
Donna Lecky and Mary Howard are leaders of two organizations that support the development of entrepreneurs and innovators focused on health care. Lecky, the co-founder of Health Ventures, helps early-stage health care companies with strategic financial and executive advice. Howard, executive director of the Accelerator for Biosciences in Connecticut (ABCT), leads a quasi-governmental agency designed to support CT-based innovators in the health sciences.

Watch the Healthcare and Entrepreneurship event

Entrepreneurial Support and Chambers of Commerce

April 8, 2020
Garrett Sheehan, President and CEO, Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce
The Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce is one of the oldest continuously operating chambers of commerce in America. The chamber has supported business development in the greater New Haven region since 1794. Sheehan, president and CEO of the Chamber, spoke about how the organization is prioritizing the development of entrepreneurship in the region.

Watch the Entrepreneurial Support event

Pharmaceutical and IT

April 1, 2020
George Llado, Chief Information Officer, Alexion Pharmaceuticals
Alexion Pharmaceuticals is an example of a university-spawned enterprise that is a leading innovator in health care. Llado, the chief information officer at Alexion, spoke about the role of innovation in the continuing success of Alexion and other early-stage university-connected enterprises.

Watch the Pharmaceutical and IT event

Urban Entrepreneurship

March 24, 2020
Rodney Sampson, Executive Chairman and CEO, Opportunity Hub
Opportunity Hub was one of the first African American-based business accelerators. Based in Atlanta, GA, Sampson is one of the leaders at the intersection of technology, entrepreneurship and social change. Sampson is a national leader in working with urban-based innovators and entrepreneurs.

Watch the Urban Entrepreneurship event

Philanthropy & Social Entrepreneurship

March 10, 2020
Will Ginsberg, President and CEO The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven
Community Foundations have grown increasingly interested in promoting entrepreneurship, particularly in stressed communities, as a method of addressing societal problems that have been at the core of their missions. Ginsberg addressed the foundation’s role in promoting entrepreneurial infrastructure in Greater New Haven.

Watch the Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship event

Entrepreneurship and the Federal Government

March 3, 2020
Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Senator, State of Connecticut
Richard Blumenthal is serving his second term as a United States Senator from the State of Connecticut. Senator Blumenthal served an unprecedented five terms as Connecticut’s Attorney General, fighting for people against large and powerful special interests. His aggressive law enforcement for consumer protection, environmental stewardship, labor rights, and personal privacy has helped reshape the role of state attorneys general nationwide, and resulted in the recovery of hundreds of millions of dollars for Connecticut taxpayers and consumers each year.

Watch the Federal Government event

2022 Pitch Competition

April 7, 2022, Mount Carmel Campus
The M&T Bank Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Pitch Competition was a highlight of our year, as students from all disciplines across campus presented their business ideas in an effort to win up to $3,000 in prize money. Each of our finalists had five minutes to describe their business, providing an overview of the fundamental concept before diving into market analysis, competitive landscape and revenue projections. Finalists presented ideas pertaining to health and nutrition, campus car safety, boat rentals, ski and snowboard platforms and hair care products, winning a total of over $12,000 in prize money to further their business ideas. Due to exponential growth in success and overall support, potential prize money for participating students has more than doubled since past competitions in 2021 and 2019.

Watch the 2022 Pitch Competition

Presenting to Executives with Scott Rosen

February 10, 2022, Webinar
From the conference floor to the board room, making a good presentation is an essential skill for any leader or entrepreneur. Students had the opportunity to learn from Wall Street veteran, Scott Rosen, as he shared well-practiced tips on handling stress and fear of being the center of attention, and how to communicate your ideas confidently under pressure.

Launchpad Competition

December 7, 2021, Rocky Top Student Center
The Schools of Business and Communications presented the Quinnipiac Launchpad Competition. Similar to the hit show “Shark Tank,” this live, virtual event gave viewers and participants the chance to decide which business to launch to the next level. With cash prizes on the line, student finalists from the Fall 2021 Digital Business/Entrepreneurial Media (ENT 290*) course went head-to-head to win it all.

2021 Pitch Competition

April 21, 2021, Virtual
The M&T Bank Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship held its annual Pitch Competition. This competition helps students transform ideas into reality and take their business to the next level. Cash prizes totaling $6,000 are awarded to help get ideas off the ground.

Watch the 2021 Pitch Competition

2021 Pre-Pitch Competition

April 14, 2021, Virtual
In preparation for the 2021 Pitch Competition, the finalists had the opportunity to get feedback on their presentations. The teams were given 10 minutes to present with time after for the judges to ask questions.

Watch the 2021 Pre-Pitch Competition

Student Business Pop-Up Shop

Recurring, Mount Carmel Campus
The Student Business Pop-Up Shop highlighted a variety of student-run businesses on campus and gave business owners the opportunity to share and sell their products to fellow students, faculty and staff. This event was held on the quad in coordination with student affairs faculty and staff.

An Evening of Magic & Entrepreneurship Featuring TJ Salta

March 31, 2022, On the Rocks Pub
TJ Salta, a third-year entrepreneurship major in the 3+1 program and a professional magician, performed a show at the On the Rocks Pub on our York Hill Campus before embarking on a one-year tour in Las Vegas. Renowned for his passionate and charismatic style, TJ Salta has performed from NY to LA and quickly earned recognition a rising talent. TJ was recently hired to perform as the close-up magician for ‘Mad Apple’ — Cirque du Soleil’s newest show in Las Vegas.

The Cannabis Industry: Opportunities for Employment and Startups

December 9, 2021, Webinar
Students were able to join Leah Bailey, Chief Business Development Officer for AUSA, a publicly-traded multi-state cannabis company, and John Volkmann, Vice President of Marketplace at Eaze Technologies, California's largest cannabis delivery business to discuss opportunities and startups within the cannabis industry.

Welcome Back to the Innovation Hub

Quinnipiac University School of Business Innovation Hub

The Quinnipiac Innovation Hub buzzed with innovative business ideas and concepts during its welcome-back event.

The event — which was open to all students throughout the university — was designed to promote interdisciplinary collaboration.

“It is really cool seeing how the center operates and how they help people and will continue to do that,” said Sarah Almeida ’23, MBA ’24, a second-year 3+1 accelerated dual-degree finance and computer information systems double major, who started working at the center this semester. “Not a lot of schools have places that encourage new business ideas and help fund them to make them possible and I am so excited to be a part of this.”

The Innovation Hub plays the role of the epicenter for innovation throughout Quinnipiac. One of the partner spaces is The Maker’s Space in the School of Computing and Engineering, where students are able to use the materials to create prototypes prior to pitches.

Patrice Luoma, professor of entrepreneurship and strategy, ran the event and promoted the Innovation Hub and the 2023 QU Pitch Competition.

The collaboration of students with varying talents and interests is important for a project to be successful, Luoma pointed out. The Innovation Hub acts as the common space for the students at Quinnipiac.

Read the full story on Quinnipiac Today

2022–2023 Year in Review

Our School of Business M&T Bank Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship completed another productive year with initiatives that had a measurable impact on the various people and communities they serve, despite the uncertainty and heaviness of the pandemic. Consistent with their missions, each provided exciting, engaging and provocative activities and opportunities for students, faculty, alumni and friends of Quinnipiac University.

View the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Report (PDF) 

Learn More

Centers and Institutes at Quinnipiac

We believe education doesn’t begin and end inside the classroom. We live in an increasingly diverse and complex world that demands the knowledge, collaboration and empathy required to deliver meaningful impact. 

Whether it’s turning ideas into viable business applications or digging through human history by analyzing ancient artifacts, each of our centers and institutes pairs our students and faculty to transform academic theory into real-world solutions.

Academics

Our broad liberal arts core complements deep expertise across more than 100 degree programs to provide an education that equips you for an extraordinary career. Whether you are in high school and ready to pursue your undergraduate degree, currently in the workforce and looking to advance your career through one of our graduate programs or have ambitions of becoming a lawyer or doctor, we have the schools, programs and faculty that will help unlock your potential.

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We’re always here to help provide additional information and answer any questions you may have.

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