A team of three Eastern Connecticut State University students, supported by faculty advisor Candice Deal, assistant professor of business administration, took home first place in the University of New Haven’s first “Charger Startup Weekend Challenge” on Sept. 16-18.
Charger Startup Weekend is a three-day weekend experience that gives students the opportunity to apply what they know and solve real problems. An entrepreneurial workshop empowered students from a variety of majors to identify a problem and then generate a business plan to provide a solution. Students pitched their business ideas to a larger group of students, and then a panel of judges narrowed the ideas it down to eight ideas that students picked to work on.
Rebecca Eisch, a student in Eastern’s master’s program in accounting, pitched her idea “Interview4u” to the group. “To watch people fall in love with my original idea was great,” said Eisch.
Eastern students Maria Silva and Michael Lauer joined Eisch’s team and conducted surveys and prepared financials and business proposals. “After three days of hard work we had four minutes to pitch the idea,” said Eisch, “followed by a four-minute question and answer session with the judges.”
Judges for the event were experts in entrepreneurship, medical services, investments and engineering. Receiving the first place award “was the most rewarding part,” said Lauer, “especially because of all the hard work and effort we put into our project.”
“The main idea for the weekend was to learn the steps to be able to start our own business,” said Silva. “Coming in first place was amazing but this is just the beginning of our journey.”
“The hardest part was listening,” said Eisch. “You don’t go into ‘Shark Tank’ to outsmart the venture capitalist. You play by their rules to get the best outcome for your business.”