15th Anniversary


CCEI’s 15th Anniversary Celebration Recap

On Friday, December 2, 2022, the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation (CCEI) celebrated a monumental moment: our 15th Anniversary Celebration! The special occasion acknowledged all the ideas that turned into businesses, the entrepreneurs and mentors who turned into family, and the support system who made it all possible.

Members from all realms of our programs joined together for an all-day conference as they participated in a startup exposition, listened to keynote speakers, engaged in panels and breakout sessions led by experienced entrepreneurs, and enjoyed notable networking opportunities. 

Today, we share just a few highlights to showcase this event as a reminder and a thank-you to all who attended, and a “cheers” to the future of CCEI!

 

9:00 AM: Welcome, Breakfast & Keynote Address

As a start to the event, UConn President Dr. Radenka Maric spoke for the keynote address. Dr. Maric’s work has included overseeing UConn’s technology commercialization initiatives, including licensing, patenting, and entrepreneurial ventures. President Maric values entrepreneurship at UConn and the positive outcomes of these initiatives for our students, faculty, and alumni. Her address was preceded by brief speeches by CCEI’s Executive Director Jennifer Mathieu, the Dean of the School of Business, John Elliott, and Managing Director of The Werth Institute, David Noble.

10:00 AM: Entrepreneur Energizer

Led by Dr. Rory McGloin, CCEI's Assistant Director of Communication and Program Development, this energizer followed our keynote speakers and engaged the audience in programs and opportunities related to CCEI.  

10:30 AM: CCEI Startup Expo

In recognition of 15 years of building businesses, CCEI invited all guests to a startup expo, where CCEI program participants from the past and present had the opportunity to showcase their businesses and provide updates on their success. Featured businesses had products available to interact with and to purchase. 

Startups featured included: VeraDermics, Pisces Atlantic, The Feel Good Lab, onewith, LambdaVision, Curated CT, SedMed, Kona Brand, Bastion Health, Underground Cookies, Lactation Innovations, and ProVelocity Bat.

11:30 AM: Networking Luncheon & Senator Address

During our networking luncheon, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal spoke and awarded CCEI with a certificate of special recognition in honor of our 15th year fostering entrepreneurship and catalyzing Connecticut's economic growth.

12:15 PM: The Timeliest of Topics Panel

Following lunch, there was a "Timeliest of Topics" Panel, a play on CCEI's Timely Topics series which is a “live” podcast-style event where experts and experienced entrepreneurs share their thoughts on specific topics related to entrepreneurship. Instead of featuring one topic for our 15th anniversary event panel, CCEI featured 15 different categories with questions derived from the audience.

Panel guests included CCEI’s Jennifer Mathieu, Ryan Gresh (Founder and CEO of The Feel Good Lab), and Nick Wagner (Cigna’s Learning Environments and Technology Leader); and the panel was hosted by Rory McGloin. 

To watch the panel, visit https://youtu.be/HEccUrJToUg .

1:15 PM: Breakout Session 1

For our first breakout session, we offered three inspiring and motivational workshops led by expert entrepreneurs. The breakouts included:

Session A: “Identifying and Communicating Your Core Business Value (Proposition)” with Rory McGloin Ph.D.

Session B: “Master your Magic” with Matt Chavlovich

Session C: “Finding Your Flow As A Founder” with Charlene Walters Ph.D.

2:15 PM: Breakout Session 2

Our second breakout session featured two UConn alumni entrepreneurs, speaking on topics like how to creatively utilize AI, and the seven levels of meaningful marketing engagement. The breakout sessions were:

Session A: “Creativity In The Rapidly Changing World” with Pete Sena

Session B: “Transform Your Business Through Meaningful Engagement with Your Customers” with Amanda Slavin

3:00 PM: Wrap Up & Happy Hour

We ended the day with happy hour, where CCEI’s Jennifer Mathieu toasted to the future of entrepreneurship at UConn, guests mingled and networked, and we celebrated with a locally-made cake (thanks Bloom Bake Shop!). Again, a big thank you to all who attended!


15th Anniversary Countdown: 15 CCEI Program Participant Quotes

We are thrilled to announce the celebration of our 15 years as the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. This is a special occasion to acknowledge the ideas that turned into businesses, the entrepreneurs and mentors who turned into family, and the support system who made it all possible. As a member of the CCEI community, we hope you can join us for our celebratory, all-day event on Friday, December 2, 2022, as we acknowledge the past, present, and future of CCEI. Please note: RSVP spots are still open!

As a countdown to the actual day of the event, weekly blog posts will go out each Friday. These blogs will focus on something (or someone!) important to CCEI and to our history and community.

For our last week before the event, we’d like to acknowledge 15 quotes from past CCEI program participants, and how they felt about certain programs, activities, and/or opportunities. Receiving feedback, no matter how critical or complimentary, is instrumental in our program success, and we take all feedback seriously! If you're interested in any of these featured programs, please feel free to visit our website for more information and to contact us about applications!

1. “The Verge Consulting Program provided me with an excellent opportunity to interact and collaborate with different entrepreneurs, understand their business problems, and apply my business sense and technical abilities to unravel these problems.”

- Sowmya Sevoor Vaitheeswaran, 2022 Verge Consulting Cohort

2. "Personally, the Wolff New Venture Competition was the first opportunity for me to publicly present our dream, and was one of the first validation points encouraging us to continue on our mission to bring about a Zero Waste World. Despite the incredible breadth of our dream, the near insurmountable tasks ahead of us, and all the challenges we face, the Wolff Competition gave us our first nudge of courage to never give up.”

- Nick Myers, Co-founder, Phoenix Tailings

3. "CCEI’s Summer Fellowship was the best experience. Everyone was so helpful and supportive. I quickly realized how connected the entrepreneurial ecosystem is and how willing other entrepreneurs and experts are to help. Without those resources, we’d have taken much longer to get to the next stage of our company."

- Brian Peng, Co-founder, ShadeSnap

4. “The camaraderie of the Entrepreneurial Bootcamp For Veterans is second to none. I can’t over-emphasize the importance of the program. I got so much out of it and I try to pay it forward.”

- Lawrence “Larry” R. Dapo, Founder, Jackson Ryan Construction Services

5. "From my initial interaction with Joe, the State Director at the Connecticut Small Business Development Center, I knew that being a Verge Consultant would be a challenging and rewarding experience. This drove me to apply, and I have been privileged to work closely with industry founders and experts and was grateful to use my expertise to leverage their products. Managing 14 companies within a team of four consultants was challenging, as we are given complete freedom on how we chose to approach the clients at hand. We organized, planned, and brainstormed as a team. Learning the nuances of bringing a product to market is a gratifying experience that I will cherish and take away from this internship."

- Sai Jahnavi Gamalapat, 2022 Verge Consulting Cohort

6. "The quality of the curriculum, content, mentors, and speakers in CCEI Summer Fellowship was absolutely top-notch. I absorbed and implemented so much of what I have learned and look forward to continuing to do so. This 8 week intensive accelerator truly shaped my business and me, personally."

- Hayley Segar, Founder, onewith

7.  “I’m incredibly grateful to have been able to attend the Entrepreneurial Bootcamp For Veterans course. The program itself dips your toes into the water in every area of business, ensuring that we all have a solid foundation in which to start, and to reference back to as needed. From patents, basic accounting, bookkeeping, how to present our businesses, mental health, sales, marketing and IT; the course is comprehensive, well-choreographed and well-executed. In a matter of a week, we were all confident that we had gained the solid footing that every budding entrepreneur is desperately searching for.’’

- Tony Audette, Founder, Audette Motorcycles

8. “Summer Fellowship has been fantastic and eye-opening. If I had to boil it down to one critical aspect I’d highlight the interactions with industry experts and mentors: I cannot overstate how helpful it has been to continually have meetings with the program guests and allow them to vet my ideas, evaluate my pitch, and help me build out my business."

- Peter Goggins, Founder, Pisces Atlantic

9. “This has been a one-of-a-kind experience to immerse myself in the space and culture of InsurTech. Between working on a uniquely impactful project and being surrounded by a network of inspiring peers and professionals, my fellowship has been a deeply fulfilling experiential learning experience. I'm truly grateful to be a part of CCEI's InsurTech Fellowship program.”

- Lee Ding, 2022 InsurTech Cohort

10. “We are incredibly thankful for the opportunity the Wolff New Venture Competition provided us. The resources were used to overcome the critical area of risk for our business prior to being able to obtain private financing. Beyond the funding, which we used to validate our technology and create our first products, the competition gave us our first market exposure enabling us to start discussions with customers as well as some of our first investors, including Techstars.”

- Nick Myers, Co-founder, Phoenix Tailings

11. "We received insights that shaped the way we approached the development and execution of a purely software, SaaS solution in the business and entrepreneurial realm. Marketing strategies, IP nuances, financing, revenue modeling; all-in Summer Fellowship has been one of the most educational accelerators we've gone through."

- Harrison Burr, Founder, Unliminno

12. “CCEI has provided support week-in and week-out that has allowed me to progress as a businessman and take my company to new heights.”

- Elijah Taitel, Founder, ProVelocity Bat

13. “The funds provided by the Wolff New Venture Competition prize allowed us to hire a consultant to help us with our research and development and commercialization plan. For LambdaVision, one of the biggest benefits was putting together a commercialization plan and slide deck that we could use for grant applications and to approach investors. While the layout and style may have changed, the work that we did in 2016 on our slide deck formed the foundation for all the presentations we have given since participating in the cohort.’’

- Nicole Wagner, Co-founder, LambdaVision

14. “To gain the advice of expert mentors who are in the consumer products industry this summer was incredible. Some of the best advice I received is that people connect with people, not things. Although a product should be great, people are largely influenced by the story behind it as well. I am still working on incorporating storytelling into the brand, but I’ve realized the importance of this through Summer Fellowship.”

- Raina Jain, Founder, Queen Bee & Hive Guard

15.  “CCEI’s InsurTech Venturing course has been one of my most valuable experiences at UConn! Through this course, I was able to learn about the InsurTech industry, connect with industry professionals, and even innovate and pitch my own start-up idea for a telematics device. The most impactful part of the course was the fellowship. I was able to intern at an InsurTech start-up in Hartford during my spring semester. This experience provided me with real world experience in the InsurTech industry where I was able to learn directly from experienced professionals.”

- Hannah Resnick, 2022 InsurTech Cohort


15th Anniversary Countdown: 15 Entrepreneurial Faculty Members

We are thrilled to announce the celebration of our 15 years as the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. This is a special occasion to acknowledge the ideas that turned into businesses, the entrepreneurs and mentors who turned into family, and the support system who made it all possible. As a member of the CCEI community, we hope you can join us for our celebratory, all-day event on Friday, December 2, 2022, as we acknowledge the past, present, and future of CCEI.

As a countdown to the actual day of the event, weekly blog posts will go out each Friday. These blogs will focus on something (or someone!) important to CCEI and to our history and community.

For week four, we’d like to introduce 15 faculty members here at UConn who are dedicated to building entrepreneurship in their day-to-day life. These faculty members have significant background in entrepreneurship, as they may help oversee programs, teach others about the importance of entrepreneurship, and/or build a UConn community focused on venture needs. 

So, without further ado, here's 15 faculty members we certainly believe you should know.

1. Ryan Coles Ph.D.

Ryan Coles Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor for Management and Entrepreneurship in the UConn School of Business and the Chief Scientist at Daigle Labs, an applied entrepreneurship lab formed in partnership between the School of Business and the Werth Institute. His research focuses on start-up research, technology commercialization and economic development. The lab is currently collaborating on projects in Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Nepal

To contact Ryan Coles Ph.D., please visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryan-coles-phd-3175b326/ or visit https://www.ryancoles.org/

2. Michelle Cote

Michelle Cote is an Instructor and Director of Strategic Partnerships for CCEI, and is the Director of Launc[H]artford. In these roles, Cote “helps students and faculty build and practice entrepreneurial thinking and skills, and provides them with resources and support in the formation of new ventures'' (https://www.business.uconn.edu/person/michelle-cote/). 

To contact Michelle Cote, please visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/michelle-cote-8768b34/.  

3. Leila Daneshmandi Ph.D.

Leila Daneshmandi Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor In-Residence in Innovation and Entrepreneurship for the UConn School of Engineering. She is the co-founder and COO of Encapsulate, a biotech startup that previously participated in CCEI’s Summer Fellowship program, and is focused on “cancer precision diagnostics” and conducting preclinical studies in partnership with Hartford Healthcare.” Daneshmandi has received prestigious awards for her startup, and has worked on projects with the International Space Station (ISS). 

To contact Leila Daneshmandi Ph.D., please visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/leila-daneshmandi/.  

4. Caroline Dealy Ph.D.

Caroline Dealy Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at UConn’s School of Medicine with appointments in four departments: Craniofacial Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Orthopaedic Surgery, and Cell Biology. She is also a faculty liaison for CCEI’s Accelerate UConn program and the founder and director of UConn’s TIP Innovation Fellows Program. Her studies dive into regenerative medicine and stem cell research, among many others. 

To contact Caroline Dealy Ph.D., please visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/caroline-dealy-08258549/ or visit https://carolinedealy.org/

5. Richard N. Dino Ph.D.

Richard N. Dino Ph.D. is an Associate Professor Emeritus in Management and Entrepreneurship for the UConn School of Business. He is also a director of the Innovation Quest Program, “which fosters innovation and entrepreneurship across UConn with a focus on creating companies and jobs” (https://www.business.uconn.edu/person/richard-dino/). Dino has “extensive experience as an entrepreneur having started four enterprises and serves on the advisory boards of high technology start-ups” and is featured in numerous publications (https://www.business.uconn.edu/person/richard-dino/). 

To contact Richard N. Dino Ph.D., please visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/richdino/

6. Timothy B. Folta Ph.D.

Timothy B. Folta Ph.D. is a Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship in UConn’s School of Business. He hosts the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Policy Virtual Research Seminars at CCEI and serves as the Thomas John and Bette Wolff Family Chair in Strategic Entrepreneurship. His research and teaching mainly “examine[s] both entrepreneurship and corporate strategy, analyzing decisions around entry, exit, and diversification” (https://www.business.uconn.edu/person/timothy-folta/).

To contact Timothy B. Folta Ph.D., please visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/timothy-b-folta-72051b8/

7. Sami Ghaddar Ph.D.

Sami Ghaddar Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor In-Residence in Management and Entrepreneurship for UConn’s School of Business. Ghaddar’s research mainly “examines the efficacy of board-level specialized committees and how they affect a firm’s strategic choices. It also examines how board compositional characteristics influence firms’ financial and social performance” (https://www.business.uconn.edu/person/samighaddar/). Ghaddar has presented his research at numerous annual conferences. 

To contact Sami Ghaddar Ph.D., please visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/samighaddar/

8. Tiffany Kelley Ph.D., RN-BC

Tiffany Kelley Ph.D., RN-BC is a DeLuca Foundation Visiting Professor for Innovation & New Knowledge in Technology Commercialization Services. She is also Director of the Healthcare Innovation Certificate Program. Kelley is also a published author, keynote speaker, and entrepreneurial leader. To her knowledge, Kelley is the first nurse in the United States to be appointed as a visiting professor dedicated to integrating innovation into the nursing curriculum across degree programs” (https://nursing.uconn.edu/person/tiffany-kelley/).

To contact Tiffany Kelley Ph.D., RN-BC, please visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/drtiffanykelleyrn/

9. Jennifer Mathieu

Jennifer Mathieu is the Executive Director of CCEI and supports economic development by fostering initiatives for startups and small businesses at UConn, across Connecticut and to alumni worldwide. In this role she has helped to launch and grow hundreds of startups and several new programs and initiatives to support entrepreneurs. Mathieu is an entrepreneurship educator and teaches courses and programs to support entrepreneurs. In 2021, Mathieu was named a recipient of the Hartford Business Journal’s “40 Under Forty” Award

To contact Jennifer Mathieu, please visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifer-mathieu/

10. Rory McGloin Ph.D.

Rory McGloin Ph.D. is the Assistant Director of Communications and Program Development at CCEI, an award-winning Associate Professor in the Department of Communication, and the Associate Director of Communication Programming and Development, Professional Education Program, in UConn’s School of Engineering. His career in higher education spans 15 years, including engagements with over 10,000 learners to date and 30 peer-reviewed journal publications. McGloin’s current work is focused on the use of communication best practices in organizational training and development programs. As such, he instructs the pitch communication portion of CCEI’s Summer Fellowship program and regularly aids in other CCEI programs. 

To contact Rory McGloin Ph.D., please visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/rory-mcgloin-8468ab41/ or visit https://www.rpmcommconsulting.com/

11. Jonathan Moore

Jonathan Moore is the MIS Academic Director of Operations and Information Management in UConn’s School of Business. He is also the OPIM Innovate Director in UConn’s School of Business and an Instructor In-Residence for Operations and Information Management in the School of Business. His areas of expertise include emerging technologies, database design, and gamification, among others. He is the co-founder of Appoint, a startup company previously enrolled in CCEI programs. 

To contact Jonathan Moore, please visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonathan-a-moore/

12. David Noble Ph.D.

David Noble Ph.D. is the Managing Director of The Werth Institute, and an Associate Professor In-Residence for Management and Entrepreneurship in UConn’s School of Business. He has been featured in numerous publications, as his areas of expertise include entrepreneurial investment, technology entrepreneurship, and strategy in digital economy, among others (https://www.business.uconn.edu/person/david-noble/). 

To contact David Noble Ph.D., please visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-noble-werth/

13. Keith Pennington Ph.D.

Keith Pennington Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in Management and Entrepreneurship for UConn’s School of Business. His areas of expertise include studying “collaborations and knowledge spillovers to examine the role of geographic proximity and chance social interactions on innovation and entrepreneurship” (https://www.keithpennington.com/). He co-founded his own entrepreneurial ventures, including Young Mountain Tea and EQUIPT Global Health. 

To contact Keith Pennington Ph.D., please visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/keithpennington/ or visit https://www.keithpennington.com/

14. Greg Reilly Ph.D.

Greg Reilly Ph.D. is a Professor and Department Head for Management and Entrepreneurship in UConn’s School of Business. His areas of expertise include strategic Human Resource management, executive compensation, and management teams, among others. Reilly is featured in numerous publications, and in peer-reviewed proceedings and book chapters (https://www.business.uconn.edu/person/greg-reilly/). 

To contact Greg Reilly Ph.D., please visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/greg-reilly-3715115/

15. Kathy Rocha

Kathy Rocha is an Associate Director of The Werth Institute. She also leads the Evaluation Board for the UConn Innovation Fund, which invests in startups with ties to UConn. Rocha’s “expertise includes producing operational excellence, creating viable business models and roadmaps, developing funding strategies and establishing strong business partnerships” (https://www.linkedin.com/in/kathyfrocha/). She mentors students and [judges] startup and business plan competitions at UConn, Connecticut and the greater Boston area.

To contact Kathy Rocha, please visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/kathyfrocha/


15th Anniversary Countdown: 15 Inspiring Entrepreneurial Books

We are thrilled to announce the celebration of our 15 years as the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. This is a special occasion to acknowledge the ideas that turned into businesses, the entrepreneurs and mentors who turned into family, and the support system who made it all possible. As a member of the CCEI community, we hope you can join us for our celebratory, all-day event on Friday, December 2, 2022, as we acknowledge the past, present, and future of CCEI.

As a countdown to the actual day of the event, weekly blog posts will go out each Friday. These blogs will focus on something (or someone!) important to CCEI and to our history and community.

For our third week, we’d like to touch on 15 entrepreneurial books we highly recommend you read. These 15 books are perfect for entrepreneurs looking to “up their game,” as they are inspirational, business-oriented, and call for personal growth and development. Some of them were even written by our own UConn alum!

While this is only a select few from a large assortment of entrepreneurial books we love, we hope to inspire you to read at least one!

1. Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder

Written by Alexander Osterwalder and published in 2010, this book explains “the most common Business Model patterns, based on concepts from leading business thinkers, and helps one reinterpret them for one’s own context” (Google Books). Osterwalder is a Swiss business theorist, author, speaker, consultant, and entrepreneur, best known for his work on business modeling and the development of the Business Model Canvas (Wikipedia). 

To read, visit https://www.amazon.com/Business-Model-Generation-Visionaries-Challengers/dp/0470876417

2. Everything Is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo

Written by Marie Forleo and published in 2019, this New York Times bestselling book “will retrain your brain to think more creatively and positively in the face of setbacks” by discussing how to personally overcome obstacles despite one’s habits or fears (Google Books). Forleo is an American entrepreneur and founder of Marie Forleo International and MarieTV (Wikipedia). 

To read, visit https://www.amazon.com/Everything-Figureoutable-Marie-Forleo/dp/0525534997

3. Good To Great by Jim Collins

Written by Jim Collins and published in 2001, this book “describes how companies transition from being good companies to great companies, and how most companies fail to make the transition” by comparing eleven companies who seemingly are “great,” and eleven comparable companies who failed to achieve true growth (Wikipedia). Collins is an American researcher, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Business Week best-selling author, speaker and consultant “focused on the subject of business management and company sustainability and growth” (Wikipedia). 

To read, visit https://www.amazon.com/Good-Great-Some-Companies-Others-ebook/dp/B0058DRUV6

4. How I Built This by Guy Raz

Written by Guy Raz and published in 2020, this New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller (based on the NPR podcast) describes “insights and inspiration from the world's top entrepreneurs on how to start, launch, and build a successful venture” (Google Books). The book takes the NPR interviews and builds on how to truly start and find success in a business (Google Books). Raz is an award-winning journalist, award-winning radio host, professor, and former war correspondent (Wikipedia). 

To read, visit https://www.amazon.com/How-Built-This-Unexpected-Entrepreneurs/dp/0358216761

5. Launch Your Inner Entrepreneur by Charlene Walters, MBA, PhD

Written by Charlene Walters, MBA, PhD and published in February of 2021, this book discusses the tools needed to successfully launch and grow a business – while avoiding common mistakes, finding a niche, and building a brand (Google Books). Walters is an author, speaker, TV host, and mentor (Own Your Other). Walters is a UConn alum (BA ‘92, English) and currently serves on the CCEI Advisory Board. She will also be leading a breakout session at our 15th Anniversary Celebration. 

To read, visit https://www.amazon.com/Launch-Your-Inner-Entrepreneur-Creativity/dp/1264259166

6. Made To Stick by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Written and published in 2007 by brothers Chip and Dan Heath, this Business Week bestselling book focuses on the “idea of ‘stickiness’ popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point, seeking to explain what makes an idea or concept memorable or interesting,” while using the acronym S-U-C-C-E-S to signify each characteristic on what makes an idea “sticky” (Wikipedia). Chip Heath is an American academic, professor, and author; and Dan Heath is an American author, speaker, and fellow at Duke University's CASE Center (Wikipedia). 

To read, visit https://www.amazon.com/Made-Stick-Ideas-Survive-Others/dp/1400064287

7. Purple Cow by Seth Godin

Written by Seth Godin and originally published in 2003, this book presents “Godin's personal belief that creative advertising is less effective today because of clutter and advertising avoidance,” advocating instead that companies should “target people who are likely to spread word of mouth about the product” (Wikipedia). Godin is a New York Times bestselling author, former business executive, and was inducted into the American Marketing Association's Marketing Hall of Fame in 2018 (Wikipedia). 

To read, visit https://www.amazon.com/Purple-Cow-New-Transform-Remarkable/dp/1591843170

8. Startup Communities by Brad Feld

Written by Brad Feld and published in 2012, this book focuses on entrepreneurial ecosystems and how they are very quickly “driving innovation and small business energy” (Google Books). It also documents the “buzz, strategy, long-term perspective, and dynamics of building communities of entrepreneurs who can feed off of each other's talent, creativity, and support” (Google Books). Feld is an American entrepreneur, author, blogger, venture capitalist at a firm he started, and serves on multiple nonprofit boards (Wikipedia). 

To read, visit https://www.amazon.com/Startup-Communities-Building-Entrepreneurial-Ecosystem-dp-1119617650/dp/1119617650/ref=dp_ob_image_bk

9. Start With Why by Simon Sinek

Written by Simon Sinek and published in 2009, this book “discusses the significance of leadership and purpose to succeed in life and business” by emphasizing “the importance of taking the risk and going against the status-quo to find solutions to global problems” (Wikipedia). Sinek also highlights the “golden circle,” a theme based on a human’s inspired purpose.  Sinek is an author, businessman, and motivational speaker, being featured on TedTalks several times (Wikipedia). 

To read, visit https://www.amazon.com/Start-Why-Leaders-Inspire-Everyone/dp/1591846447

10. The Art Of The Start by Guy Kawasaki

Written by Guy Kawasaki and published in 2004, this book is an “essential guide for anyone starting anything, from a multinational corporation to a church group” (Google Books). It covers the steps to a successful startup: how to come up with good ideas, get feedback, “how to lead a team to a common vision, and how to grow through evangelizing, socializing, and partnering” (Medium). Kawasaki is an American marketing specialist, author, and Silicon Valley venture capitalist best known for his work at Apple to make the Macintosh computer popular. 

To read, visit https://www.amazon.com/Art-Start-Time-Tested-Battle-Hardened-Starting/dp/1591840562.

11. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

Written by Ben Horowitz and published in 2014, this book “analyzes the [entrepreneurial] problems that confront leaders every day,” discussing the knowledge he has gained “developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies” (Google Books). Horowitz uses his love of rap music to amplify his “business lessons with lyrics” (Google Books). Horowitz is a highly-respected American businessman, investor, blogger, author, and co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz (Wikipedia). 

To read, visit https://www.amazon.com/Hard-Thing-About-Things-Building/dp/0062273205

12. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Written by Eric Ries and published in 2011, this book describes Ries’ “lean startup” strategy for startups to prevent failure, which relies on “‘validated learning,’ rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want” (Good Reads). Ries is an American entrepreneur, blogger, and New York Times bestselling author, who has founded a number of successful startups and works with many giant firms to aid in their strategy (Lean Startup Co.). 

To read, visit https://www.amazon.com/Lean-Startup-Entrepreneurs-Continuous-Innovation/dp/0307887898

13. The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Written by Stephen R. Covey and originally published in 1989, this book discusses “an approach to being effective in attaining goals by aligning oneself to what [Covey] calls ‘true north’ principles based on a character ethic that he presents as universal and timeless” (Wikipedia). As the title suggests, he also explains his seven habits needed to achieve highly successful personal and professional change. Covey was an American educator, author, businessman, and keynote speaker, and in 1996, Time magazine named him one of the 25 most influential people (Wikipedia). 

To read, visit https://www.amazon.com/Habits-Highly-Effective-People-Powerful/dp/0743269519

14. Unleash Your Supernova by Nova Lorraine

Written by Nova Lorraine and published in March of 2021, this book discusses entrepreneurial burnout and the keys to overcome it.  Lorraine bridges the gap between creativity and entrepreneurship, “offering action steps to help identify inner strength” to unleash it to achieve [one’s] dreams (Google Books). Lorraine is an author, storyteller, award-winning designer, and founder of Raine Magazine (Nova Lorraine). Lorraine is a UConn alum (BA, Psychology; MA, Clinical Psychology) and currently serves on the CCEI Advisory Board

To read, visit https://www.amazon.com/Unleash-Your-Supernova-Creativity-Burnout/dp/1510763325

15. Zero To One by Peter Thiel

Written by Peter Thiel and published in 2014, this book presents “an optimistic view of the future of progress in America and a new way of thinking about innovation: it starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places” (Good Reads). The book mainly focuses on how to create companies that create new things. Thiel is a German-American billionaire entrepreneur, venture capitalist, political activist, and co-founder of PayPal, Palantir Technologies, and Founders Fund (Wikipedia). Thiel was the first outside investor in Facebook and was ranked 297th on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index in 2022 (Wikipedia).

To read, visit https://www.amazon.com/Zero-One-Notes-Startups-Future/dp/0804139296


15th Anniversary Countdown: 15 CCEI Startups

We are thrilled to announce the celebration of our 15 years as the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. This is a special occasion to acknowledge the ideas that turned into businesses, the entrepreneurs and mentors who turned into family, and the support system who made it all possible. As a member of the CCEI community, we hope you can join us for our celebratory, all-day event on Friday, December 2, 2022, as we acknowledge the past, present, and future of CCEI.

As a countdown to the actual day of the event, weekly blog posts will go out each Friday. These blogs will focus on something (or someone!) important to CCEI and to our history and community.

For our second week, we’d like to touch on 15 successful CCEI startups we believe you should know about. These 15 startups, at one point in the entrepreneurial process, received support and guidance through a CCEI program.

While this is only a select few, be sure to visit our startup page and our Summer Fellowship page to see a larger selection of the startups we've helped in the past 15 years.

1. Bastion

Bastion, founded by Reza Amin '18 PhD (ENG), is a reproductive health startup specialized for men. The startup allows for virtual health visits, testing kits, and treatment plans based on patients’ needs. In November of 2020, Bastion signed a $2.2 million dollar investment agreement initiated through UConn’s Peter J. Werth Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Bastion was a participant in our Summer Fellowship Program and won the 2018 CCEI Wolff New Venture Competition

Learn more about this startup here or visit their website here

2. Encapsulate

Encapsulate, founded by Armin Tahmasbi Rad ’19 (ENG), Leila Daneshmandi '20 PhD (ENG), and Reza Amin '18 PhD, develops an “automated “tumor-on-a-chip” system that can grow a patient’s cancer cells outside the body to evaluate their response to different chemotherapy drugs.” In doing so, chemo drugs can be tested prior to starting actual treatments. In November of 2019, Encapsulate won the 2019 International Space Station U.S. Laboratory and Boeing “Technology in Space” Prize, receiving $500,000 and the opportunity to work with ISS. Encapsulate was a participant in our Summer Fellowship Program and was a finalist in the Wolff New Venture Competition. 

Learn more about this startup here and at their website here

3. Lactation Innovations

Created by UConn alumnae Jayme Coates MS ’07, MBA ’10 and Brittany Molkenthin ’17 (NUR), Lactation Innovations offers a solution to monitor the amount of breastfed nutrients a child receives. The non-invasive technology would allow mothers to theoretically breastfeed for a longer period of time, allowing for health benefits and saving money. Lactation Innovations won the 2022 CCEI Wolff New Venture Competition this past October, bringing home the grand prize of $25,000 to use towards their entrepreneurial efforts. 

Learn more about this startup here and visit their website here.

4. LambdaVision

Nicole Wagner ’07 (CLAS) ’13 PhD created LambdaVision with the intention to help people regain sight by developing a protein-based artificial retina for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or retinitis pigmentosa (RP). LambdaVision was a participant in our Summer Fellowship Program and a finalist in our Wolff New Venture Competition. LambdaVision recently “found success manufacturing their technology” working with NASA and the International Space Station (ISS). 

Learn more about this startup here and visit their website here.

5. Levo International

Created by Christian Heiden '21 (CLAS), Levo International works to bring solar-powered hydroponic systems to communities in Haiti, where they teach sustainability and globalization while giving back to others. In 2022, Levo International provided 300 school children with hydroponics, while simultaneously launching an urban farming CSA in Hartford, CT, pioneering a new approach to the local food system. Levo International participated in our Summer Fellowship Program and was a finalist in the 2019 CCEI Wolff New Venture Competition.

Learn more about this startup here or visit their website here

6. Luma Hydration

Luma Hydration, started by founders BYU student Willy Hogan and Jaden Brodeur ‘20 (BUS), combats bottled water by building the first hydration unit to combine UV-C light (to eradicate bacteria) with optional filtration via activated Carbon (to treat water for other pollutants) coming in 2023. Luma is now being advised by the founder of Hydro Flask and has partnered with top manufacturers of water bottles in China, according to a Storied Tech article

Learn more about their startup here or at their website here

7. onewith

Started by Hayley Segar '17 (CLAS), onewith is a patent-pending swimwear company that specializes in creating swimwear that fits and feels like seamless underwear. This provides universally flattering products where customers do not have to worry about seams or edges that cut into skin. onewith was a participant in our Summer Fellowship and our Wolff New Venture Competition. 

Learn more about this startup by visiting their website here

8. Phoenix Tailings

Founders Nicholas Myers and Michael Martin ’17 (ENG) ’19 MS created a startup that recycles toxic sludge and extracts valuable metals from the waste that can be used in more innovative ways, such as in the production of electronics, automobiles, and more. In 2019, Phoenix Tailings won the CCEI Wolff New Venture Competition and took home the $20,000 prize. 

Learn more about this startup here and visit their website here.

9. Pisces Atlantic

Founded by Peter Goggins ’21 (CAHNR), Pisces Atlantic is an innovative fish food, based on Goggins’ belief that the “fish people consume should be fed healthy ingredients.” The fish food ​​is a compound consisting primarily of dehydrated vegetables and insects. Pisces Atlantic also won the 2020 CCEI Wolff New Venture Competition and the $20,000 prize. 

Learn more about this startup here and visit their website here.

10. ProVelocity Bat

Elijah Taitel ’22 (BUS, ENG) used his knowledge of baseball to create a technologically savvy baseball bat, complete with a “sliding ‘power barrel’ that releases to the impact position when a batter achieves the desired speed.” The bat has reached the big leagues, getting attention from MLB teams and many others.  ProVelocity Bat won the 2021 CCEI Wolff New Venture Competition, receiving $20,000 in entrepreneurial support. 

Learn more about this startup here or at their website

11. Queen Bee

Raina Jain ’24 (BUS), founder of Queen Bee and avid fan of honey bees, developed an all-natural “beverage by mixing royal jelly, sometimes called ‘superfood of the Queen Bee,’ from beehives with ginger and turmeric.” In 2021, grocery giant Whole Foods allowed Jain to sell her product in their stores. Queen Bee was also among the five finalist startups selected to participate in the 2021 CCEI Wolff New Venture Competition.

Learn more about this startup here and visit their website here

12. SedMed

SedMed, co-founded by Jeremy Bronen ’20 (ENG) and Timothy Krupski MA (ENG) MBA ‘21, created a toilet lift assist product to help elderly and disabled individuals get on and off the toilet. SedMed realized that many senior citizens or otherwise disabled people struggle with daily toileting activities leading to falls, injuries, and even deaths. SedMed was chosen to participate as a top-five finalist in the 2020 CCEI Wolff New Venture Competition

Learn more about this startup here and visit their website here.

13. Sourcery

Imagined and created by a team of UConn faculty and staff, Sourcery is a web application used to make it easier to access some of the world’s most sought-after archives and rare collections. Researchers can now access document archives, accessible from any device. In early 2022, Sourcery was awarded a $805,000 grant, distributed over two years, to help with the development of the app. Sourcery was a participant in our Summer Fellowship Program. 

Learn more about this startup here, or visit the website/app here

14. Stemify

Stemify, created to combat the dropouts of many college students majoring in STEM, uses an “innovative approach to math education that utilizes artificial intelligence to support learning.” Originally idealized in 2013 by Amit Savkar, UConn associate professor in residence of mathematics, Stemify then took on Bill Moschella, TIP Advisory Board member, as an investor and executive chairman. Stemify was a participant in the 2018 CCEI Accelerate UConn Program and the Summer Fellowship Program. 

Learn more about this startup here or at their website here

15. VeraDermics

VeraDermics, composed of a large group of dermatologists including Reid Waldman MD, a former UConn Health dermatology resident, is the first ever kid-friendly and easy-to-use wart treatment. The product, WartPatch, combines the most effective wart treatment with a kid-friendly drug delivery platform via microneedle patch. VeraDermics participated in CCEI’s 2020 Summer Fellowship program and was selected as a top-five finalist to compete in the 2020 CCEI Wolff New Venture Competition

Learn more about this startup here or at their website here


15th Anniversary Countdown: 15 CCEI Programs To Participate In

We are thrilled to announce the celebration of our 15 years as the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. This is a special occasion to acknowledge the ideas that turned into businesses, the entrepreneurs and mentors who turned into family, and the support system who made it all possible. As a member of the CCEI community, we hope you can join us for our celebratory, all-day event on Friday, December 2, 2022, as we acknowledge the past, present, and future of CCEI.

As a countdown to the actual day of the event, weekly blog posts will go out each Friday. These blogs will focus on something (or someone!) important to CCEI and to our history and community.

This week, we’d like to start off by sharing 15 CCEI-funded programs and events at UConn that we believe you should participate in (if not already!). These events and programs have sparked meaningful conversations and ideas throughout our staff and startups, and we would love nothing more than to share them with you, our audience!

So, without further ado, here's a complied list of 15 entrepreneurial events and programs we certainly believe you should try out.

1. Accelerate UConn

Accelerate UConn is UConn’s National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Site. Its mission is to catalyze entrepreneurial teams whose technology concepts are likely candidates for commercialization. With the support of Accelerate UConn, teams enroll in a five-week program to learn first-hand about entrepreneurship and explore the transition of their ideas, devices, processes or other intellectual activities into the marketplace. Teams also have the opportunity to receive up to $4,000 to support customer discovery and product development. 

To learn more, please visit https://accelerate.uconn.edu/

2. BUILD Hartford

BUILD Hartford allows students to immerse themselves within the city as they dive into entrepreneurial education and real world applications. Students network with members of the city to understand its history from personal experiences and perspectives, discover opportunities, and create projects for the development of Hartford with the use of tools provided to students through the BUILD Hartford curriculum. BUILD Hartford may be taken in the format of a 3-credit course, or as an internship. 

To learn more, please visit https://ccei.uconn.edu/build-hartford/

3. Business Consulting Accelerator

The Business Consulting Accelerator is designed to provide eligible MBA students with the support and knowledge needed to successfully launch their own business consulting firms. The program runs through the summer and fosters an environment that focuses on experiential learning, peer-to-peer mentorship, and individual skill development. Students also explore their entrepreneurial skills and develop a unique personal brand as a consultant while receiving a stipend for development costs. 

To learn more, please visit https://ccei.uconn.edu/programs/business-consulting-accelerator/.

4. Entrepreneurial Bootcamp For Veterans (EBV)

The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) program offers experiential training in entrepreneurship and small-business management to post-9/11 veterans with disabilities resulting from their service to our country. Those involved go through three phases: a 30-day, online course; a 9-day residency experience at one of the eight EBV schools; 12-month support focused on business creation and growth. In the past decade, EBV has graduated 253 veterans (and caregivers) who have launched 187 businesses, producing more than $150 million in gross revenues, and creating 430 jobs. 

To learn more, please visit https://ebv.business.uconn.edu/

5. The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Policy (EIP) Virtual Research Seminars

The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Policy (EIP) Virtual Research Seminars fill in the gap between academia and policy application—increasing the understanding of policy issues and building a forum for expressing these ideas and a supportive community to nourish them. The EIP Seminars run throughout the year and feature many scholars who investigate technological and entrepreneurial topics.

To learn more, please visit https://sites.google.com/view/eip-website/home

6. Family Business Program

The Family Business Program (FBP) helps family businesses adapt and thrive in today’s rapidly changing economic and business climate. Through business and family-systems programming, they help businesses prepare through innovative business strategy, organizational structure, management practices, among other important aspects. The FBP is a member-driven initiative, allowing attendees to share challenges and solutions, and learn through the CCEI network. There is an option to become a member, partner, mentor, or donor, and multiple events and workshops are held throughout the year.

To learn more, please visit https://ccei.uconn.edu/family-business-program/.

7. Get Seeded

Get Seeded provides UConn students the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a live, virtual audience, who then votes on which ideas are funded. Students that are selected to pitch have an opportunity to earn up to $1,000 in seed funding for their idea, as well as support from other students who may be interested in joining their business venture. Even if students don’t have an idea yet, or aren’t quite ready to pitch their startup idea, the pitch nights are open to the public and are a great way to network and connect. There are five pitch nights through the academic year, followed by a “Demo Day” at the end of the spring semester. 

To learn more, please visit https://ccei.uconn.edu/getseeded/

8. InsurTech

The InsurTech Initiative is a joint venture between UConn and the University of Hartford designed to grow the next generation of entrepreneurs in the insurance industry and the InsurTech space. Students learn the needs of a rapidly changing insurance industry, the emerging technologies disrupting it, and assist both startups and established companies. InsurTech is taken as a 3-credit, weekly course in the fall semester with an optional fellowship in the spring semester. 

To learn more, please visit https://ccei.uconn.edu/programs/insurtech/.

9. Student Ambassadors Program

Student Ambassadors aid in the process of recruiting UConn students to participate in the programs offered at CCEI through events, social media, and in-class presentations. The Student Ambassadors Program is open to all UConn undergraduate students interested in taking on a highly interactive work-study. Student Ambassadors will also work with CCEI staff on a part-time, year-by-year basis to assist with CCEI’s needs. 

To learn more, please visit https://ccei.uconn.edu/ccei-student-ambassadors/

10. Summer Fellowship

The top 10 startups from across UConn are selected to participate in the Summer Fellowship experience, which takes place three days a week over eight weeks. Participants develop the skills needed to bring new products, services, and technologies to market through one-on-one coaching and mentorship from industry experts and entrepreneurs. Teams receive $15,000 in non-dilutive funding, and are provided with pro bono legal and accounting services to help with the initial business setup and support. Teams pursuing high-potential ventures who have formed through participation in other UConn entrepreneurship programs are encouraged to apply.

To learn more, please visit https://ccei.uconn.edu/programs/summer-fellowship/

11. Timely Topics

Timely Topics is a podcast-style series that features panels of speakers, workshops to engage our entrepreneurs, and fireside chats with successful business leaders. These sessions, held throughout the year, are a way for CCEI to provide ongoing opportunities for students, faculty, and alumni entrepreneurs to learn, grow, and connect. Timely Topics events are free and open to the public. 

To learn more, please visit https://ccei.uconn.edu/timely-topics/

12. Traction

Traction supports UConn-affiliated startup ideas as they work to validate their concepts. Participants of Traction learn the key elements of the Business Model Canvas (BMC) and the lean startup methodology. Participants also engage in customer discovery efforts that will allow them to better understand the market they are entering and the value they plan to provide to key stakeholders in the process. Traction takes place both in the fall and the spring semesters, and is open to undergraduate and graduate students across all schools at UConn working on consumer product ideas. 

To learn more, please visit https://ccei.uconn.edu/programs/traction/

13. Verge Consulting

Verge Consultants are graduate students that work with CCEI and the Connecticut Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to support startups and small businesses as they overcome the hurdles of starting and growing their companies. Verge Consultants work together as a team to consult between 8-12 companies per summer in a variety of different industries, life cycles, challenges they face, and types of projects. Consultants receive a stipend of $7,500 for 10 weeks of consulting between May and August.

To learn more, please visit https://ccei.uconn.edu/programs/verge-consulting-group/

14. Wolff New Venture Competition

The Wolff New Venture Competition features live pitches by the five top startups coming out of UConn each year. The legwork for Wolff begins in March, where 10 startups are selected by a panel to participate in the Summer Fellowship Program. After this, the teams present their pitches to a panel of judges and the top five startups are selected to compete in the Wolff New Venture Competition. A panel of venture experts then decides which team deserves the Wolff New Venture Prize and the $25,000 winnings accompanying it.

To learn more (and see who won this year!), please visit https://ccei.uconn.edu/wolff-new-venture-competition/

15. xCITE

xCITE, established as a day-long conference for Connecticut Women In Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship, is dedicated to bringing together women entrepreneurs and organizations from across Connecticut and beyond. xCITE recently shifted its focus towards an increased frequency of networking and mentoring opportunities, resulting in a reengineered program with an emphasis on building a committed network of women entrepreneurs. Events are held throughout the year to encourage connectivity.

To learn more, please visit https://xcite.business.uconn.edu/