As part of the University’s “Introduction to Business and Entrepreneurship” course, more than 100 students of diverse majors gained real-world experience creating a business plan and pitching their ideas to a panel of judges and to their fellow Chargers.
May 20, 2022
Since Anthony Klymenko ’25 was a kid, he has wanted to be an inventor. He had the opportunity to put his passion for innovation to the test during the spring semester while developing his entrepreneurial skills as part of a unique class experience.
As part of their “BUSA 1000: Introduction to Business and Entrepreneurship” course, Klymenko and his classmates focused on helping to address the problem of cruise lines’ plastic waste. They developed a company, “Proxy Plastics,” that would offer an efficient and cost-effective way for cruise lines to compress plastic waste into filament for 3D printing – which could then be sold for a profit. Proxy Plastics would offer cruise lines a commission as an incentive.
“Cruise lines throw a lot of trash into the oceans, and we wanted to help with that,” said Klymenko, a finance major. “We also wanted to turn a profit, and we’d do that with 3D printing, which has just exploded.”
Klymenko and his teammate Kaan Karaguney ’25 recently shared their project with the University community as part of the Pompea Business Plan Expo. They shared their poster, which outlined the plastic waste problem, how they endeavored to solve it, and their sales and marketing plan. They also discussed the company’s projected financials and its competition, answering questions from attendees and judges.
“This has been a great experience,” said Karaguney, a psychology major. “I was always an athlete, a kid who was into sports, and this gave me the opportunity to learn about business.”
‘It was very exciting’
The culminating event of the University’s “BUSA 1000: Introduction to Business and Entrepreneurship” course, which is open to students of all majors, the expo was an opportunity for students to present their business plans. During the course of the semester, more than 100 students in two dozen teams collaborated to develop a business concept that would have a positive environmental impact. The expo included the final round of the pitch competition, in which the four top teams pitched their businesses.
Charlotte Bassett ’25 and her classmates developed a “University of New Haven-based Uber,” of sorts. Their company, called “Carriage,” would enable students to offer rides to other students. As part of their research, they explored critical elements of ensuring the company’s success, such as students’ safety and financial requirements, and they believed the concept was feasible. Carriage, which was among the final four teams, captured first place in the competition.
“We hope Carriage could be a way to build community among students,” said Bassett, an accounting major. “I got so much out of working on this, and it was very exciting to share our company as part of the competition.”
‘A very unique program’
The expo brought together students from all six sections of the course, as well as their professors and members of the University community. It enabled them to gain meaningful experience presenting their posters and delivering their pitches to a team of judges – including Josephine Moran ’01 M.S., ’19 EMBA, chair of the Pompea College of Business Advisory Board and a member of the University’s Board of Governors.
“It’s a very unique program,” said Moran, president and chief banking officer for Ledyard Financial Group. “Students get to create a business plan during their first year at the University. That’s big, and it sets the tone for the rest of their time as Chargers.
“This is a great opportunity for students to practice their presentation skills,” she continued. “It is so important that this is interdisciplinary because business incorporates every field.”
‘What being an entrepreneur is all about’
As part of the expo, the winners of the poster contest and the pitch competition were announced, and the students were presented with awards. Among the students’ business ideas was a company that would provide clean water for people in Africa and one that creates solar-powered windows.
For Jack Quander ’24 and his teammates, their focus was on solar panels. Specifically, they endeavored to create a self-cleaning solar device to improve the efficiency of solar panels. Their company, “Cali Clean,” captured second place in the pitch competition. Quander, a business analytics major, says the course was a great learning opportunity.
“Some people might think entrepreneurialism is easy – it isn’t,” he said. “Professor Maguire helped guide us, helped us improve, and showed us what being an entrepreneur is all about.”