Friday
27Jul2007

* 2006-7 Banner Year

UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative Helps Students Turn Ideas into Businesses

 

July 27th 2007, Amherst, MA – The 2006-7 proved to be a banner year for students participating in the The UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative (UMass EI). At the start of the academic year eight teams of students explored the possibility of turning their dreams into real businesses.

Less than a year later these students have made incredible progress. Three teams are already generating revenue, one has secured over $120k in investment from local "angels,"another team won $45,000 in the UMass Amherst Technology Innovation Challenge, and other teams have won numerous awards and funding from other competitions.

About the students' companies:

  • 4TWK (www.4twk.com) - Founded by Caleb Oakland, Stephen Kelley Jr., and Cory O’Brien in 2007, 4TWK is a is a web-based music and culture magazine that has built a sizable and loyal fan base over the past two years and will soon organize local music and culture events. This company is already generating revenue and won numerous awards over the past year.

  • Channel Design International - Founded by Lynn M. Crevier, Nishita Nickey, and Michael Pescatore and preparing for incorporation, the company is developing a product for athletes who have undergone knee surgery and who want to maintain physical fitness. With the engineering analysis completed, the company is looking for funding to build a working prototype to achieve further milestones.

  • Condition Engineering - Founded by Alaina Hanlon and Richard Bradshaw in 2006, the company is developing a cost effective ground monitoring system that could warn of imminent failures of levees and earthen damns. This company won 1stplace in the $50k UMass Amherst Technology Innovation Challenge business plan competition.

  • Dexrex (www.dexrex.com- Founded by Derek Lyman, Brett Lyman, Kris Wortman in 2007, Dexrex provides users a universal means of archiving and reviewing instant messages. The company's first product is being tested and due to launch later this year.

  • Engineered Response - Founded by Brycen Spencer in 2007, Engineered Response is developing a helmet that can automatically detect injury and radio for help.

  • Extreme Action - Founded by Michael Piccirilli in 2007, the company hopes to import new "extreme sports" activities to ski resorts.

  • Rentabilities (www.rentabilities.com) - Founded by Alexander & Andrew Cook in 2007, Rentabilities aims to be the Orbitz of Rent-A-Centers. They provide an efficient web reservation system alongside a back-end inventory management system. The company launched this summer, is generating revenue, and won a number of awards at the local and regional level.

  • UMass AT- Founded in 2006 by Brian Mullen, the company is commercializing technology developed at UMass Amherst that shows promise as a means to safely and humanely calm autistic children experiencing anxiety attacks. This company made it to the finals of the $50k UMass Amherst Technology Innovation Challenge.

About The UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative (umassei.org):
The UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative (EI) mission is to help students turn ideas into businesses. The organization inspires students to explore the entrepreneurial career path, trains them in how to evaluate their ideas, and then connects them to the resources needed to take the first steps in starting their own business. Students participating in EI's program earn academic credit, opportunities to win prize money, and are connected to mentors. The program is sponsored by the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, UMass Amherst Isenberg School of Management, the UMass Amherst College of Engineering, and EI Alumni.

 

 

 

Thursday
26Apr2007

* 2007 HGCF Banquet

In Competition With 14 Other Schools, UMass Students Win 75% of All Awards

We are proud to say that at tonight's Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation's Entrepreneurship Awards Banquet UMass Amherst students performed brilliantly (if we may say so ourselves).

  • Over 30 student-businesses from 14 colleges in Western Massachusetts won grants from the foundation this year. Four of those teams were from UMass: 4TWK, CDI, Engineered Response, and Rentabilities.
     
  • All of these teams competed for follow-on funding at the banquette. Our teams won 1st place, 2nd place, and tied for 3rd!
     
  • For the first time an award was given to past winners of Grinspoon grants who have who have made amazing progress in their businesses. Three students from two companies were selected: Alaina Hanlon (Condition Engineering), Josh Kerson (Runabout Cycles), Richard Bradshaw (Condition Engineering). All are from UMass.

And while UMass EI students have done well at each of the yearly Grinspoon events, this year was the best showing yet.

We are proud of the hard work and amazing growth our students put into their dreams this year. If you bump into any of them, please extend your congratulations. If you helped them in any way, please accept our thanks. If you are a student with an idea, we invite you to join our program in the Fall.

This concludes our official program of events for the semester. During the summer we will continue to mentor our student teams and finalize our plans for making next semester even better than this one.

Thank you for your support of EI.

-The EI Team

Wednesday
21Feb2007

* 2007S ES Competition

UMass Student-Entrepreneurs Win Thousands in Seed Funding from the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation and Receive Offers for Investment from Local Angel Investors

February 21st 2007, Amherst, MA – Yesterday the UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative (UMass EI) awarded thousands of dollars in seed capital to aspiring UMass Entrepreneurs through its third annual Executive Summary Competition. In a surprising turn of events, one of the judges, Glenn Hanson, offered to personally invest in two of the companies: Channel Design International and Rentabilities.

The event organizers' hope is to inspire students to explore entrepreneurship and then provide catalyzing resources to those with the passion to follow through.

1st place honors and $2,500 went to Channel Design International, a team developing the ABLER for athletes who have undergone knee surgery and want to maintain physical fitness. With the engineering analysis completed, the company is looking for funding to build a working prototype to achieve further milestones. Team members are: Lynn M. Crevier, Nishita Nickey, Ching Hung, and Michael Pescatore.

2nd place honors and $1,000 went to Rentabilities (www.rentabilities.com). This company positions itself as "the Orbitz of Rent-A-Centers." Their software provides an efficient web reservation system alongside a back-end inventory management system. Their software is web-based; businesses and customers can connect to the system from anywhere in the world. A "beta" prototype of their product is now being tested with several potential customers. Team members are: Alexander Cook and Andrew Cook.

3rd place was a three-way tie between three teams, each winning $500.

4TWK (www.4twk.com) is a web-based music and culture magazine that has built a sizable and loyal fan base over the past two years and will soon organize local music and culture events. The company is led by Caleb Oakland, Cory O’Brien, and Stephen Kelley Jr.

Engineered Response is a concept-stage company looking to imbed distress beacons into bicycle and motorcycle helmets that would automatically call for help in the event of serious injury. Team consists of Brycen Spencer, Manny Barros, and Luis Barros.

Extreme Action is a concept-stage company looking to bring safe, innovative outdoor recreation activities to the Pioneer Valley and beyond. The company currently consist of one student: Michael Piccirilli.

The competition's judges were: Tomas Kennedy (a manager at United Rentals), Joe Cambi (a member of the River Valley Investors – a Springfield angel investor group), and Glenn Hanson (immediate past chair of the River Valley Investors).

The seed capital was provided by the generous support of the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation (www.hgcf.org). The foundation has also extended an opportunity to all the contestants to participate in their banquet, which is taking place on April 25th. At the banquet, students from colleges throughout Western Massachusetts will have an opportunity to make more connections with business leaders and possibly win additional funding.

About The UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative (umassei.org):

The UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative (EI) mission is to help students turn ideas into businesses. The organization inspires students to explore the entrepreneurial career path, trains them in how to evaluate their ideas, and then connects them to the resources needed to take the first steps in starting their own business. Students participating in EI's program earn academic credit, opportunities to win prize money, and are connected to mentors. The program is sponsored by the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, UMass Amherst School of management, the UMass Amherst College of Engineering, and EI Alumni.

 

Thursday
31Mar2005

* 2005 ES Competition

UMass EI & HGCF Awards Thousands in Seed Funding to Aspiring Entrepreneurs.

March 31st 2005, Amherst, MA – This week the UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative, also known as Entreclub, completed its Spring 2005 Business Competitions, awarding thousands of dollars in seed capital to aspiring UMass Entrepreneurs.

In their Concept Pitch Competition, Entreclub helped students learn to communicate their core business concept quickly and effectively. The Initiative's Executive Summary Competition helped students a bit further along in the process learn the basics of writing down their ideas and understanding the first steps of developing their concept into a reality.

The 1st place winner of the Executive Summary Competition was Textics. As described by co-founder Kerry Pierce (UMass MBA student), "Textics seeks to publish and deliver online multimedia e-textbooks to the collegiate marketplace. As an Internet company that couples technology with a modern business model, Textics is able to easily enter and disrupt the traditional Textbook industry as a low-cost entrant."

The 2nd place winner of the Executive Summary Competition was College Mattress Pros. According to cofounders Neal Van Patten and Seamus Gahan (both UMass MBA students), "Collegiate Mattress Pros is a franchise selling overstock mattresses and relying on low overheads to offer a quality low priced product. College students will own and operate the franchises, allowing them to earn a substantial income while developing their businesses skills and gaining responsibility."

The 1st place winner of the business pitch competition was Drop4Cash, a company proposed by UMass Student Alan Hilaire. His business concept is to help people who have a lot of goods they would like to sell on eBay, but lack the experience or time to do so.

The 2005 business competitions represent a re-awakening of Entreclub, which had struggled in the years after the dot-com crash. This re-awakening was made possible thanks to the support of the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, the donations of time and support from Entreclub Alumni, and especially the support of leaders at the University.

About The UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative:

Founded in 1999, the Initiative is a joint effort by leaders throughout the university, as well as local business leaders and alumni to help students:

  • Pursue the dream of turning their ideas into real-world businesses and organizations
  • Enhance their job options upon graduation
  • Accelerate development of academic-laboratory technologies
Page 1 2