College of Business Scholarship Challenge Seeks Next Big Idea
College of Business Scholarship Challenge Seeks Next Big Idea

by Dave Cranshaw
UNH Today Editor

When Eva Souza ’17 sat down about a year ago to develop an idea for the College of Business’s Dean’s Scholarship Challenge, he conceded that he didn’t have grand visions of winning the contest’s top prize: a full, four-year scholarship.

“I never thought my idea would be enough to grab the judges’ attention, but I stuck with it,” he said.

His idea for AutoScore Technologies – a business that would intercept the infrared signals sent from the scorer's table/booth at a sports event and store them in a database in the information technology cloud – ended up being selected as one of four winners of 2013 competition.

Evan Souza '17

“You never know what could have happened if you never give it a shot,” he said looking back. And that is his advice to incoming members of the Class of 2018 who have been accepted to the College of Business. Those students have until Saturday, March 15, to submit their ideas for a business for a chance to win a full scholarship.

Nearing the end of his first year at UNH, Souza, a business management major, has taken a hiatus from developing his business idea, but that has not derailed his entrepreneurial spirit. He was part of a group of students who helped establish a chapter of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization on campus, and he is working on developing a second club geared toward students with entrepreneurial aspirations.

All of these hands-on learning experiences are good preparation for the future. “I plan to own my own business one day,” he said. “Already, I have had a firsthand experience of what it would be like to start up a company.”

Last year at this time, Mitchell Fliss ’17, another 2013 winner, was fine-tuning an idea that turned into Behaviorism, Inc., a company that would use mobile technology to provide consumers with sale information and incentive deals at nearby stores while they are shopping.

He admits that he felt it would be an uphill climb to impress the panel of judges that includes professors, business executives and entrepreneurs. “The worst thing that could happen,” he said, “was I would learn how to write a business plan.”

He spent hours brainstorming with his father, continually tweaking the concept. “The more I worked, the more it seemed like I had something that could really work – an idea that would really revolutionize marketi
ng,” he said.

He is now working with accounting instructor Mary Miller to enhance the idea, and he hopes to collaborate with a business incubator and graduate students on campus to continue to develop the idea.

The opportunity to gain hands-on experience is what attracted Fliss to UNH in the first place. “Knowing that I would have real industry experience as early as my first year was extremely enticing,” he said.

Lauren Ritchie ’17, a third winner in the 2013 contest, used the challenge as a way to put a long-held business idea into motion. She earned a full scholarship for her idea of The Percussion Pad, which would provide drummers with practice space and equipment. 

She is focusing her attention on pursuing a degree in management with a concentration in human resources, but she is looking forward to the opportunity one day to apply her experience to get her business idea up and running.

“My goal is to work in human resources after graduation, and then someday I hope to open my own business with the knowledge that I have learned at UNH,” she said.

Daniel Kiley ’16 described the time leading up to the announcement of the winners of the inaugural competition in 2012 as a nerve-wracking experience. The key to developing his idea – “The Disneyland of Sports,” an ultimate sports complex and resort – into a winning one, he said, was the feedback he solicited from those around him, especially a high school marketing teacher.

“Make sure all of the details are as sharp as they can be,” he advised incoming students finalizing their entries into his year’s contest. “The more attention to detail, the better.”

Not long after being named among the winners in 2012, JP DiTommaso ’16 was interviewed on MSNBC about his idea for Turf-Guise, which would treat artificial turf so it would smell like real grass and include an anti-bacterial agent to kill germs. Within the last year, he has established an LLC for the company, and he hopes to release a working prototype within the next few years. He also is developing another idea that is focused on sports nutrition.

“UNH has provided me with not only the inspiration to create and operate my own business but the tools and resources to do so,” said DiTommaso.

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