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

Ciocca Center Reaches International Audience Over J-Term

With COVID19 came a revised academic schedule which changed the opportunity for the Ciocca Center to offer workshops during the semester.  The new January term over winter break became the opportune time for programming and the Ciocca Center did not disappoint.

Nine workshops during the month of January attracted 125 alumni from around the world and  200+ students from all four class years.  Many of the students participated in more than one opportunity as they worked towards Business Certificate Program completion.  The virtual program list included everything from Corporate Finance & Banking to Global Supply Chain Management, a Women in Business alumna speaker, and a month-long Excel Tutorial.

From Oregon to South Carolina, Europe, China, and India, alumni and students were able to connect with fellow Crusaders online.  This expansion of alumni who might not normally have been able to participate in person increased the wealth of knowledge and expertise within the already robust Holy Cross network. “One perk of the virtual world we are living in” as Connor Fitzgerald ’16 shares after presenting during the Marketing Communications & Sales workshop, “is getting to present to some awesome Holy Cross students all the way from Nashville, TN!”  Gathering the Holy Cross network often creates a sense of community, something we are all looking for during times of social distancing.

Of the many workshops,  the Ciocca Center in partnership with the Office of Sustainability, offered a new three-week opportunity, the Pothos Project, for students interested in consulting. Fourteen students divided among three teams using a B-Corp assessment provided suggestions for how the Lobby Shop at Holy Cross could be more sustainable.   The pilot program included alumni mentors as well as campus partners, an opportunity that integrated Conference Services into the co-curricular programs and provided students with a real-world consulting experience.  “What a cool opportunity! I absolutely loved working on this project”  shares Katelyn Cody ’22, who goes on to describe the work as having  “real-world impact.”

 

15th Annual Women in Business Conference Celebrates Around the World

The conference provided opportunities for hundreds to network with and learn from successful women entrepreneurs and executives.

“We were thrilled with the number of registrants from around the world,” said Cassie Gevry, associate director of the Ciocca Center for Business, Ethics, & Society. “The strong interest from alumnae is a testament to the strength of the Holy Cross network and something we will continue to foster through the Women in Business network, even when we return to in-person events. It seemed that now, more than ever, women were looking for a way to come together to discuss their careers in business, and we were so glad the remote format gave so many attendees the ability to hear our speakers.”

>> Read more in the Holy Cross News Room. 

Brittany Alkes ’15 Shares Sales Industry Insights

Nick Bettenhauser ’24, George Caldwell ’24, and Cole DiGregorio ’24 are current freshmen who are not wasting time. The three Sales Group chairs are making the most of our virtual semester by connecting with alumni, getting advice, and creating opportunities. Just one month into the fall semester and the group invited Brittany Alkes ’15, client development consultant for Thomson Reuters, to speak to the Sales Club on Thursday, October 1.

Brittany Alkes ’15 shared valuable advice, including:

  • Branding: start now! Create a LinkedIn account and start connecting with Alumni
  • Be Active: when on LinkedIn, be active and post articles that will gravitate towards your clientele
  • Personalize, Listen, Read, Share: share things that represent you, your company, and the beliefs of both
  • Holy Cross: work on skills like selling yourself and branding before you graduate
  • Alumni: add every alum you meet on LinkedIn

Stay tuned for more events! Make sure you are on the mailing list by registering for a student business club.

Resources & Advising through the Ciocca Center

The Ciocca Center for Business, Ethics, and Society is virtually available to you as you navigate your time at Holy Cross.  We have a number of resources available including office hours (see below), as well as a business LibGuide, financial aid for workshops, various workstudy and intern positions, and more!

Consider all of the ways you can reach out…

General Inquiries & Certificate Programs: 
Prof. David Chu, Cassie Gevry and/or Kathy Kinnarney
    • Zoom 1:1 Meetings: 20 minute slots available via Google Calendar on Wednesdays 10-11:30am & Thursdays 2-4pm
    • Chat (with workstudy Nalani Ramos Ruiz ’21) Wednesdays from 10-11:30am  and Sundays 7-9pm via Canvas Chat
Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program:
Prof. Ja-Nae Duane

If you are interested in studying the institution of business through a historical and philosophical lens, consider pursuing the academic Minor in Business, Ethics & Society through CIS.  Please contact Prof. Kendy Hess…

Advisors Give BES Minor Application Advice

More than 40 students tuned in on September 15th for the Business, Ethics, and Society (BES) minor application workshop. The BES Team worked with the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies (CIS) to develop the workshop in response to the high levels of student interest in the minor.  As Professor Hess said, “We wanted the students to understand how the minor works, and to have a chance to explore the many different opportunities it can provide.”  Continue reading “Advisors Give BES Minor Application Advice”

Annual Info Session with Bonus Virtual Club Fair

On a warm Tuesday night in early September (9/8/20), over 130 students registered for a virtual version of the annual Business Program Info Session, with a bonus business club fair! Professor David Chu and Professor Kendy Hess, co-directors of the Ciocca Center for Business, Ethics, and Society at the College of the Holy Cross, shared an overview of the opportunities for students to connect their liberal arts education to the business world.

“Three out of four Holy Cross alumni, that’s 75%, currently work in business roles.” shares Prof. David Chu.

Watch the five-minute video to recap the multiple pathways to business, including the Business Certificate Programs and the minor in Business, Ethics, and Society. Continue reading “Annual Info Session with Bonus Virtual Club Fair”

The Impact of Fullbridge…

Students, often first and second years, participate in the Fullbridge Professional Edge Program at Holy Cross to immerse themselves in business, finance, marketing, and innovation — the skills employers seek. Starting early on in their college career gives them the opportunity to build a resume that supports their career interests, but also build a network of professionals and successful alumni in that industry.

When COVID-19 disrupted all in-person meetings, the team at Fullbridge and Ciocca Center got to work brainstorming how to best translate the six-day program into a virtual format.  The experiential components of an immersive workweek, complete with 9am – 5pm with an hour lunch break, had to be reimagined at the very same time the world was figuring out how to work remotely. Continue reading “The Impact of Fullbridge…”

Business, Ethics & Society Minor Announces First Class of Students

Congratulations list of student names

We’ve just hit a big milestone for the minor in Business, Ethics & Society (BES), and unlike much else that’s going on in the world, it’s good news!  So I’m interrupting your summer to tell you about it.

As you probably know, BES isn’t a traditional business minor.  While it certainly includes plenty of practical components, it’s about much more than learning how to “do business” or how to get a job in business.  BES is about what it means to do business, and what it might look like to do it well — for each of us individuals, and for all of us together.  To be able to develop your own ideas about that, you have to know things about business, and about society, and about doing well.  What does it look like, and what does it take, for each of us and all of us to “do well”?  To flourish?  And what can business contribute?  It’s a demanding course of study and a selective process, but I am delighted to announce that we have just admitted our first students.

I am proud to introduce our first cohort, from the Class of 2022! Read on to see a list of names and projects.  Continue reading “Business, Ethics & Society Minor Announces First Class of Students”