At two separate business competitions in late 2021, University of Bridgeport students were recognized for their innovative products. Three UB teams were included among the 10 finalists in the statewide New Product Competition, open to Connecticut residents and students at Connecticut schools. Entries had to be physical products that could be manufactured and were pre-revenue. UB students secured both the second-place ($2,000) and third-place ($1,000) prizes, and in addition to winning first place ($10,000) in the New Product Competition, UB student Necas Collins also captured the top prize ($10,000) at the Connecticut Collegiate Elevator Pitch.
“This great achievement by UB students was not unusual. For the past 15 years, UB students have been consistently recognized in Connecticut business competitions,” says Dr. Khaled Elleithy, Dean of the College of Engineering, Business and Education, and Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Engineering. UB students recognized in the competitions include:
Advisor: Professor Gad Selig
Degree Program: MBA and MS Analytics
Prize: First place — New Product Competition and Connecticut Collegiate Elevator Pitch
Necas Collins is currently a UB graduate student pursuing a dual degree in Finance and Analytics. He is the president of BLACC Bottle and runs the organization along with vice president Ralph White and managing member Delano Bennett. “Joining the Student Entrepreneur Center (SEC) and partnering with Professor Cahill, Professor Cahill Gad Selig, and Ms. Sherri Dente have helped my team grow and develop the necessary knowledge and partnerships to accelerate our growth. Through SEC, I have received mentorship, legal help, introductions to industry leaders, and preparation for similar competitions. SEC and its leadership team, along with our hard work and willingness to learn, have allowed us to become one of the many success stories at UB.” BLACC (Bonified Love Advancing Cultural Change) Bottle is a drinkware, apparel, and lifestyle brand established in 2021. The company was formed to promote Positivity, Love, and Unity amongst people of all demographics.
Advisor: Professor Peter Divone
Degree Program: MBA
Project: Collapsible bathtub to prevent slips in bathtubs for toddlers
Prize: Third place ($1,000) — New Product Competition
Clovia McIntosh is enrolled as a UB graduate student, and Professor Peter Divone has been her mentor. She received her undergraduate degree from UB 10 years ago. She joined SEC as an alumna and started working on one of her business ideas. Her company, an LLC appropriately named IRL (In Real Life) Innovations, develops products designed to be used in daily life. IRL Innovations’ flagship product, and the one moving full speed ahead, is Tubee, a foldable, standup bathtub insert designed to prevent young children under the age of four from slipping and falling in adult-sized bathtubs. “Three years ago, I reached out to Professor Cahill and told her I had a business idea, and she informed me about the Student Entrepreneur Center. SEC not only helped me form a legal entity, I have filed a provisional patent and am trademarking the name Tubee. I have won several pitch competitions thanks to the weekly lunch-and-learn mentoring sessions. In addition to taking third place in the New Product Competition, I also received a $5,000 grant from CT Next, which helped me create two versions of my idea and turn it into a physical prototype.”
Advisor: Professor Khaled Elleithy
Degree Program: Ph.D., Computer Science and Engineering
Project: New Electric Vehicle Battery
Prize: Second place ($2,000) — New Product Competition
Mohamed Mohamed is a Ph.D. computer engineering doctoral student. His advisor is Professor Khaled Elleithy, Dean of the College of Engineering, Business, and Education. Mohamed’s project is “The Next Generation of Electric Vehicle Batteries,” an innovative solution to increase the performance of electric vehicles. “This innovation focuses on changing the electric vehicle’s battery cooling system that uses power for operation, increases the battery pack weight, and occupies a large space in the limited battery pack volume. The SEV provided guidance and the legal team helped me to protect the idea by filing a provisional patent. We contacted a vehicle manufacturer; they appreciated the design, and we will continue the discussion in the coming months.”
Advisor: Professor Elena Cahill
Degree Program: MBA
Project: Modified Acupuncture Cloth Gown
Prize: Finalist — New Product Competition
Wenting Wang is a stay-at-home mother and an MBA student concentrating in finance and analytics intelligence at UB. “Fall 2021 was my first semester on campus, and I finally got to experience the Student Entrepreneur Center. I met many impressive people, and they helped me build the confidence to where I am now. My advisor is Professor Elena Cahill, and she is a rock star! UB offered a tremendous amount of resources that make everything possible. In terms of our product, right now, we are at the stage of getting ready for our first production run. After that, we will use the 100 databases we previously collected to test the market for feedback.”
UB provides significant resources to students in the Bauer Innovation Center and the School of Engineering laboratories to build prototypes for innovative products. Last year, the HomeLock product received $25,000 funding from UB CT Next grant and the UConn START Preliminary Proof of Concept Fund. The HomeLock project, supervised by Dr. Elleithy and designed by Ph.D. alumnus Thomas Arciuolo, is now in its final manufacturing stage.
Learn more about UB’s Student Entrepreneur Center.
Learn more about UB’s College of Engineering, Business, and Education.