summer learning


SUMMER FELLOWSHIP 2018 Participants Announced

Monday, June 4 marks the beginning of the eight-week long Summer Fellowship Program run by The Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.  Ten teams will work under the guidance of industry mentors to develop their businesses from the conceptual phase into market-ready ventures. Each team will receive up to $15,000 in startup funding per team, dedicated mentorship, professional legal and accounting services, connections to fellow entrepreneurs, and professional work and meeting space.

 

Summer 2018 Cohort

 

YouCOMM

UConn School of Engineering graduates Daniel Yasoshima and Tom Cotton and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences student Jeren Koh have developed a multi-lingual tablet application that provides patients with an easier way to communicate with caregivers.

 

EnCapsulate

Armin Tahmasbi Rad, UConn School of Engineering Ph.D. candidate, and Leila Daneshmandi, UConn School of Medicine Ph.D. candidate, are engineering a diagnosis device to determine personalized treatment for cancer.

Spore

College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources graduate Cameron Collins and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences graduate James Polo-Lossius are teaming up to produce gourmet mushrooms with sustainable operations.

QRfertile

The UConn School of Engineering’s Assistant Professor Savas Tasoglu, Ph.D. candidate Reza Amin, and Ph.D. student Stephanie Knowlton, are developing an in-home device with a smartphone-based automated analyzer to measure male fertility.

Snipit

Recent UConn graduate Alexander Ciccio and UConn undergraduate students Andrew Burns of the School of Business and Vincent Turnier of the School of Engineering are creating a mobile application to allow users to collaborate, share, and explore new music.

WickAway

UConn School of Engineering graduate Trevor Svec and undergraduate student Philip Gitman are designing self-extinguishing candle accessories.

Dyadic Innovations

Ruth Lucas, UConn School of Nursing Faculty, Jimi Francis, University of Texas at Tyler Faculty, and Patrick Hocking, UConn School of Engineering undergraduate student are teaming up to design a breastfeeding diagnostic device that would provide an objective measurement of an infant’s breastfeeding efforts to mothers and clinicians.

Mycozap

Faculty Cindy Tian and graduate student Elizabeth Johnson from the UConn College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources are creating a plant-derived antimicrobial treatment for illness in cattle caused by microplasma bovis.

WellTech

The UConn School of Medicine’s Faculty Robert Aseltine, and postdoctoral fellows Chonglian Luo and Riddhi Doshi, along with the UConn College of Liberal Arts and Sciences graduate student Wenjie Wang and Undergraduate Student Madeleine Aseltine, and in collaboration with industry mentor Cal Colins, are building a program to assist healthcare providers in collecting patient information to improve quality measurement, increase patient engagement, simplify reporting, and maximize reimbursement.

SAVKAR.AI

The UConn College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Faculty Amit Savkar, graduate student David Nichols, and industry partner William Moschella are creating a predictive analytics platform for student retention in STEM fields.

 

Summer Fellowship program is highly competitive with over 79 applicants across 41 teams for the 10 spots in the program.  Applicants came from 8 different schools/colleges and 30 different majors/programs/departments across the University. The ten teams selected for this program have been preparing for the kickoff since March and will spend the 8 weeks of the program launching their ventures.  The program will conclude with a Finale event on August 2nd at the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in downtown Hartford in which teams will be ready to present what they learned and will be prepared to take their ventures to the next level.


The Verge Consulting Program: Practical, Experiential & Entrepreneurial

Last summer, I had an excellent opportunity to work with the CT Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CCEI). I was a part of the Verge Consulting team, a program coordinated by CCEI in  collaboration with the SBDC, consisting of six UConn graduate students. As a Verge Consultant or “business consultant”, we worked with SBDC Business Advisors to aid startups and small businesses of the state of Connecticut.

Exposure to startups

One of the primary reasons of my application to Verge Consulting program was the promise of exposure to challenges and business conditions unique to startups. The program certainly delivered on it’s promise. I worked with startups and small business from industries spanning healthcare, medical devices, food, cosmetics, analytics, e-commerce, mobile applications, online education, apparels & technology. I was exposed to a plethora of business factors affecting these industries, which was all brand new information for me learn. Our clients faced multiple challenges some of them unique to their businesses and some were caused by macroeconomic factors. Deciphering their needs and prioritizing them was just the beginning. We carefully curated our services and equipped our clients with required tools, knowledge and advice to face their challenges better.

Entrepreneurial Stories

My favorite part of the program was meeting each entrepreneur. In client meetings we had a chance to meet the founders and executives of the businesses that we worked with. Many times I found myself inspired by their stories because their passion for entrepreneurship was contagious. The challenges, triumphs and mistakes they shared were both thought provoking and contributed to my knowledge and understanding of how to start and sustain a business. The feedback that I received from our clients was also immensely helpful and insightful.

Experiential Learning

Business education was new to me when joining the MBA program and so were many concepts of business. Verge Consulting provided me an opportunity to apply the business concepts that I learned in the classroom to real world business problems. The classroom concepts were a solid foundation to get me started. I learned quickly that there was no predefined way to proceed in a business. We advised our clients and provided them with required tools and knowledge to enhance their capability to face their business challenges to better set them up for growth. For each client and unique challenge they faced, the advice was different.  We had the ability to design analytical dashboards to formulating acquisition, engagement and monetization strategies, all of which were new skills I was able to add to my arsenal.

Excellent Mentors

Our team of consultants worked with and reported to SBDC business advisors. The business advisors are industry veterans who are entrepreneurs themselves. From education at Ivy League universities to years of experience and success stories, their qualifications and subject matter expertise were second to none. They gave us our freedom to learn and enhance the knowledge and skills that was of interest to each of us. Most importantly they tried not to influence our decisions but rather guide us. This paved way for us to define our unique approach to problem solving. This program allowed me to be mentored by the best I could have asked for.

Peer Learning

Our team of business consultants was the cherry on the cake. With our entrepreneurial backgrounds and expertise in various industries and domains we constituted a diverse team. The best element of this team was knowledge sharing. To state a few, I learned market research techniques from Szu-Tung, financial analyses from Keshav, medical device knowledge from Guanwei and search engine optimization from Surya. Our team was dubbed “the dream team”. We were effective presenters who finished each other sentences to a point of scary coordination.  It was combination of our skills and varied areas of interest that allowed us to work with so many different small businesses and startups.  We were each able to contribute to the problems we were solving in a meaningful way, all the while, learning from each other.

Overall, I not only have gained working business knowledge and entrepreneurial skills but also have made friends and mentors for life. If you are looking for a great summer learning experience to work on business problems that would expand your learning and skills, Verge consulting is an excellent program to consider. Learn more about the program through the link below.

https://ccei.uconn.edu/programs/verge/

This post was written by:

Sreeman Kumar Podisetti
MBA, Class of 2018UConn School of Business