The Charger Blog

Students Pitch Enterprising Business Ideas to University Community

As part of an innovative entrepreneurship course, more than 180 students researched and developed business concepts that were analyzed by a panel of business executives.

June 4, 2020

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Image of virtual business expo.
Students presented their business concepts virtually as part of an innovative entrepreneurship course.

Alexandra Kettyle '23 and her classmates wanted to find a way to make transportation more affordable for college students. They also wanted to help reduce plastic waste.

Image of Alexandra Kettyle ’23.
Alexandra Kettyle ’23.

As part of a project for their “Introduction to Business and Entrepreneurship” class, they developed the idea for “Recycle Rides,” a company that would address both challenges by monetizing the reduction of plastic waste and issuing credits for transportation use through a mobile app.

Kettyle and her teammates pitched their idea at the Nicholson Business Plan Expo, the culminating experience for students taking the course, capturing first place.

"It was very exciting to know all our hard work paid off," said Kettyle, a marketing major. "This was an amazing experience, and I was so excited to have had this opportunity as a first-year student."

Kettyle and her teammates will have their team's name added to the Nicholson Business Plan Expo Cup, which is on display in the Orange Campus lobby. The competition, which was held via Zoom due to the global coronavirus pandemic, enabled more than 180 students in 10 class sections to work in teams to develop business ideas, learn how to write business plans, and present and pitch their ideas.

"I learned a lot about adaptability and professionalism in the business world and how that can translate across all industries."Grace Friedman '23

Teams presented their ideas to a panel of judges who are part of the Pompea College of Business Advisory Board, as well as to faculty members and award winners from last year’s competition.

Image of Grace Friedman '23.
Grace Friedman '23.

Grace Friedman '23, an art major, served as the CEO and creative director for her team, FreshPower. She and her teammates developed an idea to use food waste to power homes in an environmentally friendly way.

“By participating in this course, I learned a lot about adaptability and professionalism in the business world and how that can translate across all industries,” said Friedman, who plans to minor in business. “We realized that our business could have a positive impact on the environment and that there is a big market for our service.”

Offered for the first time last spring, “Introduction to Business and Entrepreneurship” is required for all first-year students in the Pompea College of Business, and it is open to students in all fields of study. It is offered every fall and spring, with a culminating expo at the end of each semester.

The program honors Alexander Nicholson Jr. ’63 A.S., ’65, ’78 EMBA, a longtime University supporter and former Board of Governors member who owned and operated a successful insurance agency.

“It is an extraordinary experience,” said Brian Kench, Ph.D., dean of the Pompea College of Business. “Students are learning how to connect with each other. They are learning resiliency and developing skills that will serve them for years to come.”

Image of Brian Esposito '22 and his teammates developed Smart Pipe.
Brian Esposito '22 and his teammates developed Smart Pipe.

Brian Esposito ’22 and his teammates were inspired to develop their business idea, Smart Pipe, when they realized how much water the average person uses each day. Their company would create and develop “smart pipes” connected to a home’s main water supply to monitor and control water usage through a smartphone app. Their hope is that the tool would help reduce water waste.

“I learned how to be a stronger leader and how to act quickly under pressure,” said Esposito, a business management major. “Although I have been a group leader in the past, this project was different because I had never designed a product or service from scratch before. I also learned to make constructive decisions under pressure.”