Eight different teams pitching their own original product ideas competed for a prize in this year’s Business Plan Competition Finale. The finale, which took place on March 31 in the Dolan School of Business, awarded up to $20,000 to the winners to help them launch their newly-designed businesses.

Seniors Eric Iannaccone and Martin Gallagher came in first place, claiming $12,000 to help their business develop and thrive.

Dean of the Dolan School of Business Dr. Donald Gibson described the competition as being like a “gentler ‘Shark Tank.’”

The eight finalists had been narrowed down from 18 different teams after the semi-finals in February.

According to Dr. Christopher Huntley, co-chair for the competition along with Dr. Mukesh Sud, “We had eight excellent finalists this year. Any of them could have won. They’re the best we’ve ever had.”

Each team was judged by a panel of five professional entrepreneurs based on the creativity, viability and social value of their ideas.

The business plans consisted of new apps, websites and companies.

Iannaccone and Gallagher’s first-place product is called Fantasy Squared, a website that does ranking, informing and communicating for fantasy sports, a $1.4 billion market according to the winners.

According to Iannaccone, “The idea was originally started from our own experiences with fantasy sports. We were struggling to find good information and good functionality for communicating with our league members that lived far away, and we realized that there needed to be a better way to do this.”

The business plan that came in second place is called Assimilation Integration, pitched by Jia Wang ‘17 and Wenpu Tu ‘17. The purpose of the company is to help Chinese college students who want to go to school in the United States assimilate into the culture. The company will set up camps in China that prospective students would attend to learn how to integrate into American culture, starting in Shanghai.

Wang discussed how she came up with the idea: “I have studied here [at Fairfield] since 2009, and I am struggling with adopting the culture and learning the language by myself, so I have a lot of hard times,” she said.

“As a sixteen-year-old girl studying here, it’s really tough … I wish I had someone to give me a heads up like, ‘This is going to be who you are here if you decide to be here be here; if you don’t decide to be here, don’t come.’ I was always struggling with thinking, ‘Should I just go back home?’ because it’s so hard for me to assimilate into this culture.”

Wang and Tu won $8,000 to help expand their business.

About The Author

-- Junior | Co-News Editor -- English: Education

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.