Students Pitch Social Benefit Business Ideas
A clothing brand that promotes education and discussion of mental health and wellness is the winner of the Wesleyan COLLISION Spring 2020 pitch competition sponsored by the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship.
Created by Blake Northrop ’22, Be Better consists of the clothing brand itself—which highly values customer participation and artist collaboration—as well as an online community forum for followers and members to connect, discuss, and share their stories about mental health.
On May 5, Northrop and more than dozen other aspiring student entrepreneurs pitched their social benefit business ideas. Watch a recording of the Pitch Night online here.
Students who pitched their ideas are enrolled in the Spring 2020 Center for the Study of Public Life 239 course: Startup Incubator: The Art and Science of Launching Your Idea. The Startup Incubator class, taught by Rosemary Ostfeld ’10, visiting assistant professor of environmental studies and public policy, is a one-semester, experiential learning program designed to teach and enable student entrepreneurs to develop sustainable business models from their ideas. Students learned to test business assumptions, identify target markets, and develop a sustainable business model.
“The students did a fantastic job sharing their ideas, and the virtual pitch event was well attended by members of the community and alumni, including mentors and alumni guest speakers who worked with the students during the semester,” Ostfeld said.
This course is offered by the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship and reSET, a Hartford-based nonprofit whose mission is to advance the social enterprise sector, with support from CTNext. The pitch night event was hosted by the PCSE, the MEWS+ (affiliated with the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce), and reSET Social Enterprise Trust.
Additional pitches included:
Kayla Enriquez ’20 and Jennifer Escobedo ’20 presented their start-up Fitness Circle, an app that provides an online space to connect, share, and support fitness enthusiasts. They aim to create accessibility for college students who are interested in a healthier lifestyle.
Daniel Smith ’21 shared his quarterback coaching platform, QBx, which offers personalized coaching to individuals in low-income areas. “We aim to expand the game and teach valuable lessons through the game of football,” Smith said.
Sherry Liang ’20 pitched her venture SmoothSale, a platform that facilitates the exchange of used items, goods, and services on college campuses. It strives to simplify processes of listing, selling, offering, trading, and buying between all members of a college community, including students and faculty. SmoothSale brings the community together to practice consumerism through methods of upcycling and waste reduction.
Siry Plume ’23 created an app called Us that categorizes college activities and includes a personalized calendar so that people can improve their time management skills and enjoy college life.
Andres Marx ’22, Jackson Curran ’21, Shayne Gallagher ’21, Logan Geller ’21, and Malcolm Roesser ’21 pitched their idea, Book, a revolutionary sports wagering platform where users bet head-to-head with their friends. Book aims to create a positive social environment for sports bettors where users can track each other’s plays and improve their records.
Read about the 2019 pitches in these Wesleyan University Magazine articles, published May 1, 2020:
StARTup Incubator: Students Learn to Launch Original Business Ideas through CSPL 239
StARTup Shark Tank: Students Pitch Next-Gen Socially Conscious Ventures