Four entrepreneurial high school seniors are the top winners in the University of New Haven’s College of Business Scholarship Challenge competition.
The four students, who will enter UNH in the fall, are part of a nationwide competition that required them to write a business plan, create a Facebook page and justify a business idea. Each of them will be awarded full-tuition scholarships for four years. The prize is worth more than $120,000 for each and represents a total commitment by UNH of nearly half a million dollars. Twenty iPads were awarded to the runners-up in the competition.
The online business plan competition on Facebook was open to any incoming freshman or transfer student who had been accepted to the UNH College of Business.
"The competition attracted a great deal of attention from students all over the country," said College of Business dean Elizabeth Davis. "The winners did an excellent job of presenting outstanding ideas and clearly demonstrated the kind of business thinking that is a cornerstone of the College of Business at the University of New Haven."
Participants were asked to create a Facebook page for a business they wish to launch or are already operating. As part of the project, they defined what the business is, what it does, why it is unique, why it is needed, and how it will be positioned to achieve and sustain long-term success. The entries were judged by a panel of business leaders and UNH faculty members.
The university plans to run a similar competition next year.
The four that earned scholarships are:
Evan Souza of Sherman, Conn.,
who invented a company called AutoScore Technologies, which would intercept the infrared signals sent from the scorer's table/booth at a sports event and store them in a database in the information technology cloud. Once in a database, the information could be used in many ways, most notably to make official reports to athletic conferences that require teams to report their scores after a game is over. The data also could be used for analysis by coaches.
Souza said he has played a variety of sports and heard coaches commenting on the score- recording process. "They have continually stated that the current process is time consuming and that they often forget to input the scores," he said. "I thought it would be a good idea to make this process automated." Souza said he has been working on the project over the last four months.
He plans to attend UNH, he said, because "I feel as though the business program allows each individual to build upon their own strengths."
Lauren Ritchie of Fort Worth, Texas
. Her company, The Percussion Pad, would provide drummers with practice space and equipment. Ritchie, who said she worked more than 40 hours on developing her plan, said there is a huge demand for practice space.
"Being a percussionist myself, I have personally felt the strong desire for a place to go where I can shut the door and enjoy playing music without the hassle of transporting instruments or keeping track of anything," she said.
"I immediately fell in love with UNH upon stepping foot on the campus and meeting with some of the nicest, most sincere people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I knew the amazing value that my education from UNH would bring, and this scholarship makes achieving my dreams there more attainable. I couldn't be more thankful!"
Mitchell Fliss of Sparta, N.J. , whose business, Behaviorism, Inc., would use mobile technology to provide consumers with sale information and incentive deals at nearby stores while they are shopping. Fliss said he came up with the idea for his company after many hours of brainstorming with his father, a sales director for an audio and visual company.
"We talked a lot about data mining and warehousing," Fliss said. "I looked at different ways to approach and utilize data mining technology. There was no specific path that would make a truly successful business, so I began to take bits and pieces of marketing strategies. Behaviorism seemed as if it was the future of marketing."
Fliss said he worked on the project every day for months. He wants to enroll in UNH because of the quality of its sports management program, one of the best in the world. "After visiting the campus twice, I saw how beautiful it was and it was quite easy to see myself spending four years there."
Demetri Smith of Bridgeport, Conn.
, a rap performer whose record label is called Velocity Music Group. "Since I can remember, I've been involved in music, whether it was performing or throwing showcases and events," he said. "So when I talked to my mentor, she told me to write down all my skills and what I already do that I am passionate about, which was everything musically and music-industry related. I just put a name on it and called it a record label."
Smith said UNH was his first choice. "I love the campus and the business program," he said. "UNH also has an amazing music recording program."
Visit www.facebook.com/COBchallenge for a complete list of winners and details about the Challenge.
Questions about the Scholarship Challenge or becoming a student in the UNH College of Business? Leave a message on the Facebook page, email COBchallenge@newhaven.edu or call Katie Fainer at 203.500.9259