Imagine an app where users could access an interactive map of the University of Mary Washington to determine whether any treadmills are available in the Fitness Center, check the menu at Seacobeck Dining Hall, or find events on campus. This enterprising idea already brewing in the heads of senior Seamus Hooban and recent graduate Andy Leonard may soon become a reality.
In a nod to the popular TV show Shark Tank, UMW students recently pitched their business plans to a panel of judges as part of the Eagle Start-up Challenge. The brainchild of the student-run UMW Entrepreneurs Club, the Center for Economic Development’s EagleWorks, and the Small Business Development Center, the challenge encourages start-up businesses among students.
Hooban, an economics major, and Leonard, an English major, received a cash prize of $350, provided by the Rappahannock Economic Development Corp. They plan to create a mobile app, called Campus Connect, where campus information can be aggregated in one centralized place to maximize students’ time.
The first place winners also earned access to a virtual office through the Small Business Development Center’s latest project EagleWorks, paid admission to a BluePrint business class and free consultations with the Small Business Development Center.
Eventually, Leonard and Hooban hope to expand beyond UMW to other colleges and universities. They believe that this app would save colleges and universities money because it would help them determine how to allocate resources.
The second place prize of $150 went to junior Anthony Seippel for his company Ruiner Wear. An artist, Seippel plans to build an artist brand where he creates commissioned designs and other artwork. He has already sold designs, logos, and T-shirts. Other presentations included a micro-brewing company and a legal services portal.
By Melina Downs