Success Stories

Since opening in the summer of 2016, the ECenter is having a recognized impact on helping students, alumni, and faculty. We are especially proud of the success of the students who receive 1:1 coaching and mentoring from the ECenter. 


 

Droppn (formally Droppit), started by Max Miller (CEPS, '20) (r) and Sam Warach (PAUL, ’17) (l), is a new social messaging service combining location services and augmented reality to put users' posts in the real world. Using map-interface, users can select any location, leave a message, activity, image, or gift drop, and send it to any of their friends.

Droppn came in first place at the 2017 Holloway Prize Competition and was also awarded $3,500 as part of the ECenter's Summer Seed Grant. 

Currently, Droppn can be found in one of the start-up offices located in the ECenter's Cubex Co-Working Space.


 

Sol Solution came in second place at the 2017 Holloway Competition. Team members Peter Abdu (CEPS, ‘17) (r) and Cyle Ziegler (UNH Graduate School) (l) created an innovative project that will make solar panels more efficient by passively regulating solar panel temperature. Sol Solution makes solar energy more appealing and cost competitive with current methods. They worked tirelessly with the ECenter Director to get ready for the Holloway Prize Competition. “We thought we knew how to create an idea and present it – but we didn’t! We were so appreciative to get the coaching that helped us refocus and engage in customer feedback, and we completely changed the business model. The ECenter is amazing!”

Sol Solution was also award $7,000 is the ECenter's 2017 Summer Seed Grant. 


 

Aquinput, started by Jit Banerjee (UNH Graduate School) (c), came in first place in the student track of the 2016 Social Venture Innovation Challenge and won $5,000.

Aquinput seeks to provide shrimp farmers in Bangladesh with better inputs, standardization services, and market access in exchange for a small royalty.

“Coastal communities in Bangladesh are on the front lines of climate change today because of sea level rise and recurrent cyclones,” he said in a video created to promote his project. “A lot of agricultural land is being contaminated with salty water and therefore a lot of rice farmers are now trying to shift to cultivating shrimp on their land.”

Jit worked on his concept for months before and after SVIC at the ECenter with Ian Grant; after the competition, Jit was invited to showcase Aquinput in the UNLEASH Social Innovation Lab Conference in Denmark. He also was a participant in the NSF I-Corps program in the fall of 2017 that received $3,000 in funding for customer discovery.

Kate Aiken (l) and Devin McMahon (r), both Class of 2019 with UNH's Paul College of Business and Economics, founded LilyPad as freshman and won second place in the 2016 Paul J. Holloway Prize Competition!

After 85 years of inadequate design, Kate and Devin designed and prototyped a revolutionary overnight sanitary napkin with a raised strip. The strip directs liquid into the middle, most absorbent part of the pad.

Kate and Devin use the ECenter's Makerspace for prototyping and seek the mentorship of ECenter Director, Ian Grant, as they develop their business plan.

Kate and Devin are proof of what is possible for student entrepreneurs with passion, an idea, and access to the right resources.


 

ECenter Director, Ian Grant, had the pleasure of mentoring Andrew DeMeo (COLSA '17) of Honey-Do (c) he prepared to compete in the 2017 student-track of the Social Venture Innovation Challenge, hosted by the Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise.

Honey-Do, a cooperative, full-service, beekeeping business took first place. Said Andrew, "When I first came to the ECenter, Honey-Do was a loosely defined, half-baked concept. The ECenter connected me with Ian Grant, who helped me refine and simplify the business principles, presentation, and core concepts behind my SVIC entry. The choice to closely follow his advice (even his suggestion that I wear a bee-suit in the final presentation) has ended up being one of the best of my life. Looking back, it is clear to me that without Ian's help our idea would not have been competitive in the contest." 

Geno Miller (Paul College '17) of Schtudy (c) took second place in the 2017 student-track of the Social Venture Innovation Challenge. Schtudy is a value-based company dedicated to delivering proven educational solutions to prepare students for academic success. Geno developed a passion for helping students achieve academic excellence after he struggled and persevered through rigorous college classes upon arrival at UNH. 

"I truly wish there was a resource such as the ECenter my freshman year of college," said Geno. "We continuously improve literally every day when we talk to an advisor or make a connection through the people here at the ECenter. Whether it is exploring a gap in our product, or connecting me with someone who may be interested in what we’re doing, we get a step closer to success everyday. As entrepreneurs, we have business meetings everyday that we may appreciate or not care for. I look forward to every single one at the ECenter because I know it will help me improve."


 

Tom Giancola (UNH Graduate School) of Village Internet tied for first place in the community track for the 2016 Social Venture Innovation Challenge. (At the time, named Full Spectrum Broadband.)

Village Internet is a low-cost wireless broadband solution servicing for low-income housing communities and manufactured home cooperatives.

“We help provide those unable to afford or have access to internet to be able to be connected to the world. Working at the ECenter gave me all the resources I needed to move this from an idea to launch phase. To have a coach to challenge, share insights, and support the roller-coaster of a start-up has been invaluable.” Tom has continued to work hard and Village Internet is close to establishing its first community customer.