Additional Programs

Entrepreneurial Research Grants

The Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is seeking ways to expand the number and quality of research presentations related to entrepreneurship and innovation at the School of Business, as well as supporting faculty and students as they attend conferences associated with entrepreneurship.

To accomplish this objective, CCEI is now offering two types of grants to support this:

1.) A $1,000 honorarium will be granted to departments and centers seeking to host an outside speaker for a research presentation related to entrepreneurship and innovation. The honorarium will be given per speaker and is designed to cover travel, hotel, and other expenses related to the visit.

2.) Funding will be provided to faculty or Ph.D. students seeking to attend a conference or workshop, collect data, or work with colleagues on a project related to entrepreneurship or innovation. Travel award amounts range and will be based on funding available, the costs associated with the trip and the nature of the conference.

We accept applications on a rolling basis, however we highly encourage you to apply at least one month prior to the date of the conference or date of the guest speaker.

For more information on the Entrepreneurial Research Grant please email to 


Entrepreneur in Residence


Mario Leite 

Class of '98 (CLAS) - President/Founder, Tea-rrific! Ice Cream

General Areas of Expertise:Industry Specific Expertise:
  • Business Formation
  • Identifying Target Markets
  • Market Sizing
  • Developing Business/Revenue Models
  • Building Financial Projections
  • Raising Capital
  • Exit Strategies


  • Product Development / Clinical Development Timelines/Costing
  • Regulatory Considerations
  • Licensing/Partnering Strategies

Consumer Products

  • Operational Optimization
  • Sales & Marketing Strategies
  • Distribution Strategies
  • Exporting

Learn More

Mario is the President and Founder of Tea-rrific! Ice Cream, a company based in Bridgeport, CT, crafting super-premium tea-infused ice cream.  Under Mario's leadership, the company has grown from local distribution in a handful of stores in CT in 2011, to distribution throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and northern California.  Some of the company's largest accounts are Whole Foods Market, ShopRite, Stop and Shop, Wegman's, King's Supermarket, and Fairway.

The company's product can also be found at the corporate headquarters of LinkedIn and Facebook, along with universities, such as UConn, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and select CIBO Markets at John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia Airports.  Mario is currently working on scaling operations for exporting to various international markets.

Prior to founding Tea-rrific! Ice Cream, Mario was an investment banker for RBC Capital Markets in New York, focused on the Life Sciences sector.  At RBC, Mario worked on various strategic and financial transactions, including royalty financings, mergers & acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, and private investments.  Prior to starting his career in investment banking, Mario filled various R&D and supervisory roles at CuraGen Corporation, a bio-pharmaceutical company based in New Haven, CT.

Mario was born in New Haven, CT, and is a member of the CT Specialty Food Association, the Specialty Food Association and The Luxury Marketing Council of Connecticut and Hudson Valley.  Mario has a BS in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of Connecticut, and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

CCEI is sponsoring appointments for individual coaching with Mario at our facility in East Hartford (or other locations if needed). Initial consultations are one hour in length, and can be replicated based on the type of challenge and assistance needed.

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