Virtual Entrepreneurship Week Awards Over $10,000 in Prize Money

Congratulations to all of the students who competed during the annual Entrepreneurship Week, March 18-25, 2021, through the Ciocca Center for Business, Ethics, and Society and the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program at Holy Cross.  These virtual events attracted more than 65 students with 9 alumni involved as judges and mentors throughout the week.

Kicking off the week, HC Launch held its bi-annual Innovation Challenge in partnership with CodeSaders and the Green Fund. The challenge required Holy Cross students to come up with creative ways to build community and connect students during the COVID-19 pandemic. With 11 teams pitching their ideas to a panel of six judges, two being our very own co-presidents of the Student Government Association, students managed to develop and create detailed plans and events that centered around the theme of community. The winning idea of this competition will be immediately implemented with the help and mentorship of Dean Murray.

Normally, the Innovation Challenge would have been held in person, but due to COVID precautions was held virtually this year. The Ciocca Center’s Head of Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program, Ja-Nae Duane, kicked off the event by informing the teams and 70+ audience members of the ground rules, prizes and goals. Tom Cremins ’21 and Mary Anne Wiley ’22, HC Launch’s Managing Directors, led intermission and gave out raffle prizes to audience members while the judges deliberated.

Congratulations to the 2021 Innovation Challenge winners:

  • 1st Prize: $1,000 for Fresh Fest: an outdoor festival to help freshmen to connect by Nick Bettenhauser ‘24 & Sasha Paradise ‘24
    * Watch for this inaugural event scheduled for Friday, May 1, 2021!
  • 2nd Prize: $750 for HC Jumpstart, a social connection to meet others on campus by Britt Axelson ‘21, Raphaella Mascia ‘21 & Connor McNerney ‘22
  • 3rd Prize: $500 and “Most Creative Award” for Sader Sips: a senior-focused beer garden by Katelyn Cody ‘22, Julia Covelle ‘22, Allie Russo ‘22 & Karter Seitz ‘22
  • 4th Place: ‘Special JudgesAward’ received for their outdoor movie night on the freshman field by Fabiola Trejo ‘22 and Victoria Covarrubias ‘22

Special thanks to our judges: James Keyes ‘77, Cheryl Martin ’84, Dean Michele Murrary, William Turtone, and co-presidents of the SGA, Noah Sisk ’21 and Victoria Tara ’21.

The next two events were casual pitch nights for students with early stage projects or ideas. These events are designed to helps students identify next steps, stress test an idea and find team members to help build it out. The first event was an opportunity for students to pitch to their peers and the second gave students pitch practice pitching their idea to an alum, Catherine Wilcox ’80.

To finish off Entrepreneurship Week, HC Launch held its eighth annual Shark Tank Competition. The  event allows Holy Cross students to pitch their business ideas to a group of judges for five mins each, followed by three minutes of Q&A. Ten teams (five teams in the seed stage category and five teams in the early-stages category) competed for a combined total of $10,000 in prize money.

Congratulations to the Seed Stage Shark Tank Winners: a category focused on the market opportunity and concept validation of the business idea.

  • $500 to Greenlist: a browser extension for identifying environmental product info Nathan Lewis ‘22
  • $500 to That’s Yo Body: A motivation/fitness brand
    Josh Azor ‘24
  • $500 to Chering: A web-app that helps thrift stores resell their clothing.
    Jacob Azzi ‘23, Dana Dinardo ‘21, Raphaella Mascia ‘21, Genevieve Wagner ‘21 of Ohio State & Molly Zachlin ‘21of Notre Dame

Congratulations to the Early Stage Shart Tank Winners: a category for students with more developed business models.

  • $3,000 to SaderSleeps: a mattress rental service for college students by Louie Fiacco ‘22 & Will Spangenberg ‘22
  • $2,000 to PakChat: a mobile app that allows different friend groups to meet other friend groups within their own community by Peter Blunt ‘21 & Chad Arle ‘21
  • $1,000 to FUD: an app using algorithms to identify common restaurant preferences by Chris Herndon ‘22 & Jean Baptiste “Jb” Goriou ‘22

Congratulations to the Ignite Fund Winner: a category for students to work with funding and guidance through the JD Power Center.

  • $2,000 to SynchRUNous: an app for coaches to live track their runners by Meg Gerety

Special thanks to our Shark Tank Competition judges:

  • Matt Drinkwater ‘95: Former General Manager, Buzzfeed
  • Alex Hanlon ‘06: Executive, Reddit
  • Beau Lescott ‘95: President, Adaptive Portfolio Technologies
  • Michelle Stark Barrett: Director, Community Based Learning, Holy Cross
  • Jim Tselikis ‘08: Owner, Cousins Maine Lobster

Congratulations to everyone involved during the 2021 virtual Entrepreneurship Week and we hope to see you next year!

 

 

How Entrepreneurial Thinking is Preparing Holy Cross Students to Wrestle With Problems of the Future

When Ja-Naé Duane introduces entrepreneurship to students at the College of the Holy Cross, she doesn’t start by talking about business ideas, product development or marketing strategy. Rather, she tells students: “Pick a problem.”

As head of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program within the Ciocca Center for Business, Ethics, and Society at Holy Cross, Duane encourages students to work on solutions only after they’ve wrestled with complex, global problems. For example: “Why don’t we have fresh water in all parts of the world? And what are the potential causes for the water wars that have started to exist?”

Duane, an entrepreneur herself, explains: “A true ethical leader needs to look at all sides and as many perspectives as possible in order to build something that is not only sustainable, but is also sustainably good for humanity.”

The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program is one of many initiatives within the Ciocca Center, which combines the power of a liberal arts education with experiential learning to shape the next generation of ethical leaders and critical thinkers — and has offerings open to students from all class years and majors.

One way students are getting that hands-on entrepreneurial experience is by running their own incubator, HC Launch. Using a holistic approach, the incubator focuses on bringing students’ business ideas to life.

>> Read more in the Holy Cross Newsroom

The Summer of Entrepreneurship …and Beyond!

What does it take to launch a startup and keep it running? Students had two opportunities during summer 2020 to explore the step-by-step process of starting a business and the strength of businesses that develop strategies and innovate. “Our Entrepreneurship workshop starts where every business should start: with building you as a leader and cultivating your skillset,” shares Ja-Naé Duane, entrepreneur-in-residence at Holy Cross.  “From there, we dive into the factors that impact starting a business and showcase stories of businesses to illustrate that there is no one way to start or grow a business.”

If you’re interested in pursuing the Certificate in Entrepreneurship, both of the following workshops count so consider registering for a future offering!

Continue reading “The Summer of Entrepreneurship …and Beyond!”

Holy Cross Graduates Students with Certificates in Business, Entrepreneurship and Finance

Congratulations 2020 Certificate Graduates

The  Ciocca Center for Business, Ethics, and Society at the College of the Holy Cross works with nearly one in six students, or about 500, to provide technical skills and hands-on experiences to complement the liberal arts education.  Students from all majors, including Chemistry and Economics, to English and Studio Art, are encouraged to get involved as early as freshman year because you can major in anything and succeed in business.

A recent study of the working Holy Cross alumni database found that three out of four work in business roles, making it particularly useful for students to study business. With three Certificate Programs to choose from students can focus their experience on different industries, including 1) Certificate in Business Fundamentals, 2) Certificate in Entrepreneurship and 3) Certificate in Finance and Banking.

This year, due to COVID-19, many seniors experienced the Business Ethics & Principled Leadership workshop through a virtual session. We appreciate their commitment to completing the program and flexibility as the Center quickly transferred the material to a digital platform.

Today, the Ciocca Center is proud to award 68 Certificates from the three programs.  See a list of students below. Continue reading “Holy Cross Graduates Students with Certificates in Business, Entrepreneurship and Finance”

Katherine Kalill ’21 Interns at the Ciocca Center

Student headshot.

My name is Katherine Kalill ’21. I’m a current junior at Holy Cross, majoring in Political Science with an Africana Studies concentration and working towards a Certificate in Entrepreneurship through the Ciocca Center. 

I recently returned to campus after working under the programming team at CBS Sports in New York City. Living in the city also allowed me to explore the various new market opportunities available. As a result, I am interested in learning more about the future of entrepreneurship and what it takes to turn an idea into a prosperous business. In addition, I would love to research what people have found to be the most successful way to pitch ideas and what separates successful ideas from the rest in the increasingly competitive global world of business. I hope to explore potential strategies of growth and conclude principles that hold true across industries.

Through the Academic Internship Program this semester, I am taking a seminar called “Boards and CEOs: Governing America’s Businesses” with Professor Dan Ricciardi and interning at the Ciocca Center. In my time here, my focus is to identify alumni who embody the spirit of entrepreneurship through their business endeavors and identify how their liberal arts education has complimented their success.

Stay tuned to see Katherine’s progress this semester!

Annual Innovation Challenge Solves Campus Problems

HC Launch, the student incubator through the Ciocca Center, hosted the fall Innovation Challenge on Saturday, November 9, 2019. Building off of last spring’s Innovation Challenge, this event brought students together to brainstorm problems centered around issues on campus at Holy Cross stemming from the Engage Summit and to ideate potential solutions to these problems.
Continue reading “Annual Innovation Challenge Solves Campus Problems”

Student Incubator Success

Wilox, a student startup focused on making the world a cleaner place, is part of the Holy Cross student-run incubator.  Earlier this month (11/13/18) they competed at the Beantown Throwdown (part of Global Entrepreneurship week) pitch contest hosted at LogMeIn, sponsored by Nutter/John Loughnane ’87 P19.  The student team placed second, beating teams from MIT, Harvard, BC, BU, Tufts, McGill, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health, Wentworth, Brandeis, and Berklee.

Congratulations to the Wilox team!

Pictured from left to right: Joe Egan ’19: Business Development, Mike Brown ’19: Director of Sales, Luke Knox ’22: Co-Founder/CEO,  Mary Anne Wiley ’22: COO, Paul Wiley ’20: President/Founder, Eric Lane ’21: Product Manager, John Bowen ’22: User Research, and Nolan Howard ’19: Market Research

“Tremendous job by the student team in competing so effectively! Congratulations to all involved! Great job too by the entire team from the Ciocca center for Business, Ethics, and Society at the College including Director David Chu and Entrepreneur-in-Residence Ja-Naé Duane.”  – John Loughnane ’87 P19: Partner, Nutter


The Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program, led by Ja-Nae Duane, provides students the opportunity to utilize and build upon their liberal arts education while learning the fundamentals of starting a venture and keeping a company relevant in this fast-changing world.  The new Certificate of Entrepreneurship offered through the Ciocca Center for Business, Ethics, and Society provides students with comprehensive and structured programming to acquire technical business skills and experiences.

The Incubator started in 2018 with two student entrepreneurs, Paul Wiley ’20 and Joe Egan ’19. They currently have over 40 members and work with 4 different student ventures. Their goal is to teach the entrepreneurial method across campus which in turn will allow students to make their business dreams a reality as a part of the E&I programming.

Thanks for reading! Cassie

Cassie Gevry, Associate Director of Student Engagement
Ciocca Center for Business, Ethics, and Society

HC Startup: Boston Kickoff Event

networking event “With the relaunch and the rebranding of the HC Startup group, there is also a renewed vision to create an ecosystem of entrepreneurial-minded folks. With the future of work dramatically changing the landscape, we need to prepare and support our students and alumni for this shift.” Ja-Naé Duane, EIR & Lecturer, Holy Cross

JOIN US for our winter networking event at T3 Advisors in Boston.
JANUARY 16, 2019 << Click to REGISTER.

Ask Alumni Anything

Holy Cross alumni thriving as entrepreneurs and business leaders respond to real student questions about how to find success and satisfaction in the business world. Read student questions posed to alumni through Slack, HC Startup’s online message board, to learn what it takes to navigate the business world and find success as a modern entrepreneur.

Want to be a part of the community? Have answers to student questions? Join the conversation and meet us on Slack!

 

>> Q: Kit Mullen ’21, international studies major, asks “Lots of times people are torn between doing what they love and doing what will guarantee them successful in the eyes of others. As entrepreneurs how did you make the choice to leave the more normal, reliable lifestyle of working for a company for the riskier task of starting your own company?”
A: Rob Petrosino ’10, Director of Social Commerce Marketing at Peak Activity, answers Sometimes it comes down to a gut call but job satisfaction and fulfillment typically out weighs a “normal” life.”


>> Q:  Gavin McNamera ’21, political science major, asks “Early in your college experience, how did you find direction on where you wanted to take your career in business or entrepreneurship?”
A: Dan Barrett ’13 at Madaket Health, repliesGood question… the classic response is “follow what you enjoy doing”.  It’s classic for a reason though: it’s true. Reflect on the classes that appeal to you, the assignments that appeal to you, the “aha” moments and the deep curiosities as you encounter new ideas in the classroom. Pursue those things.
Entrepreneurship is hard.  Working is hard. If you’re not doing something that fundamentally aligns with your interests you will burn out in a snap.  Entrepreneurship is not flashy, it’s a grind. It usually involves grinding into a headwind, uphill. But it’s also a race. And if you hate the field you’re in or find it a total bore, it will be next to impossible to race against the people who happen to enjoy doing it.”


>> Q: Max Krause ’21, economics major,
asks How do you make sure your idea is a good idea before you go and invest your time and money into realizing it?

A: Rob Petrosino ’10, Director of Social Commerce Marketing at Peak Activity, answersIf your idea solves a problem you are most likely on the right track. How you execute is more than half the battle however.”
A: Stacy Chin ’12, Co-founder & CEO at HydroGlyde Coatings, responds “ Listen to the market and you will see if they agree to your solution.”

Thanks for reading! Cassie

Cassie Gevry, Associate Director of Student Engagement
Ciocca Center for Business, Ethics, and Society

Entrepreneurship & Innovation @ Holy Cross

Have an idea for a business? Interested in working with cool ideas?
Get involved with entrepreneurship and innovation this fall!

 

“The extracurricular entrepreneurial opportunities offered outside of the classroom such as the Ignite Incubator, the Fullbridge Program, the Shark Tank Competition, visits to start-ups, and networking events have all furthered my desire to pursue a career in business.”

– Paul Wiley ’20, chemistry major
2017 Shark Tank Competition Winner



>> Join the new Holy Cross student run Ignite Incubator!
The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program is excited to launch the College’s new student run incubator. The Ignite Incubator enables students from all class years to learn what it takes to bring a business to market through hands on experience. Students can either:

  • have their idea or business incubated in the program
  • work on other students business ideas

The incubator is now accepting applications for both business ideas and for associate positions on the management team.
Apply NOW! Deadline: September 10, 2018


>> Fall Course: Entrepreneurship 101
Tue. & Thu. from 12:30-1:45pm
Prof. Ja-Naé Duane

Entrepreneurship begins with a vision.  This course focuses on the foundations of entrepreneurship and is appropriate for students from any major.  It is designed to introduce students to the entrepreneurial process so that they may begin to shape their own entrepreneurial vision. Course objectives include an introduction to the challenges of entrepreneurship, an understanding of the ethical environment in which entrepreneurs operate, the skills to think critically and work toward the ability to evaluate opportunities in the business. This is a course that includes project-based entrepreneurial activities where students work to test and validate ideas.

Who should take this course?

  • Students who have a business idea
  • Students who want to work on existing business idea
  • Students who want to explore the field of entrepreneurship and innovation

Space is limited. Seats available for second, third and fourth year students.


>> Have questions? Reach out to Ja-Naé Duane, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, for more program details!

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