Students to Compete for $15,000 in Prizes on May 7
Six businesses run by University of Massachusetts Boston students are hoping to join the ranks of eco-friendly surfboard company Green Lightning and picture-sharing social media firm Dpicd as winners of the Entrepreneurship Center’s Business Launch Competition.
Now in its third year, the competition offers the winner $1,500 in cash, a legal consulting package from Gunderson Dettmer worth $10,000, and three months access to the Venture Development Center. Second- and third-place finishers will also receive cash and VDC access.
The six finalists were selected from 14 competitors who worked for 60 days to develop business plans. The finalists will give presentations to a panel of judges including community members and executives from Gunderson Dettmer, TCH Services, and City Fresh Foods, Inc. The young entrepreneurs will present Tuesday, May 7 at 4:30 p.m. in the Venture Development Center, located on the third floor of Wheatley Hall.
Keith Cialino, a New Jersey native and PhD student in the School for the Environment, and his business partner, UMass Boston alumnus Seth Sheldon, have been at work since October on made it!, a smartphone application that lets users notify their loved ones that their flight has landed safely, they got home OK after a night out, or that they are safe after a natural disaster. During the last 60 days, Cialino says he and Sheldon have revised their business model and started to develop a prototype.
“We have had great access to experienced entrepreneurs who are serving as mentors. Their ideas have been instrumental in shaping the features of the application, as well as showing us how to make this idea a sustainable business, rather than a one-time thing,” Cialino said.
Adrian Baldeon, a senior management major from Weymouth, has started a business with his father and brother. Launch Sight Productions is a marketing company focused on silkscreen printing and custom logo designs. Clients include record label Starving Artists Entertainment and the South Shore International Festival.
“Winning this competition would most importantly symbolize to us that we are doing something right and are on the right track,” Baldeon said.
About UMass Boston
With a growing reputation for innovative research addressing complex issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston, metropolitan Boston’s only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s nine colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 16,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities. To learn more about UMass Boston, visit www.umb.edu.