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High School Entrepreneurs Win Four-Year Scholarships to UNH as Part of National Business Competition

Release Date:
4/4/2013 12:00 AM
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Four High School Entrepreneurs Win Four-Year Scholarships to University of New Haven as Part of National Business Competition

 cellphone, business, features

April 4, 2013

WEST HAVEN, CONN. --- 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. 

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 top winners are:

Evan Souza, features Evan Souza 

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, features Lauren Ritchie

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, features Mitchell Fliss

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, features Demetri Smith

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.  This scholarship is just the icing on the cake!”

Twenty iPads were awarded to the runners-up in the competition. A complete list of the winners and links to their Facebook pages can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/COBchallenge

The University of New Haven is a private, top-tier comprehensive institution recognized as a national leader in experiential education. Founded in 1920 on the campus of Yale University in cooperation with Northeastern University, UNH moved to its current West Haven campus in 1960. The University operates a satellite campus in Tuscany, Italy, and offers programs at several locations throughout Connecticut and in New Mexico and California. UNH provides its students with a unique combination of a solid liberal arts education and real-world, hands-on career and research opportunities. The University enrolls approximately 6,400 students, including nearly 1,800 graduate students and more than 4,600 undergraduates – the majority of whom reside in University housing. Through its College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, Tagliatela College of Engineering, and College of Lifelong & eLearning, UNH offers 75 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. UNH students have access to more than 50 study abroad programs worldwide and its student-athletes compete in 16 varsity sports in the NCAA Division II’s highly competitive Northeast-10 Conference.