The Peter T. Paul Entrepreneurship Center, known around campus as the ECenter, might be the best little-known resource for UNH students, faculty, staff, and alumni looking to expand their experiential learning opportunities while gaining funding support for academic endeavors. With a number of donor-funded programs designed to increase student idea development and engagement with innovative thinking on campus, the ECenter provides students with coaching, mentoring, and programmatic support to pursue real-world ideas outside the classroom.
Despite sharing a name with the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics, the ECenter was launched independently of the business school to be the heart of ideas, innovation, and entrepreneurship spanning across all UNH colleges and majors. As such, the programming offered through the ECenter is equally applicable to an engineering student as a liberal arts major and was designed, in part, to be a resource for the UNH international community.
With employment opportunities for international students tightly regulated by visa status, the funding support offered by the ECenter can be a welcome addition to on-campus employment. The ECenter’s innovative i2 Passport program encourages students to participate in programming related to idea development and entrepreneurship for a chance to win various financial awards that can be used toward tuition relief and student loan debt. One of this year’s front runners is international student Arsalan Khan ’19 (Paul College). In addition to being highly engaged in i2 Passport, Arsalan is also the co-president of the student-run UNH Entrepreneurship Club.
Financial support for international students through the ECenter is not limited to i2 Passport. The Internship at Start-Ups program, generously sponsored by Harry Patten ’58 and the Patten Family Foundation, has helped place three international students in internship roles for real-world experience at start-ups over the last three years. Sriyaa Shah ’18 (College of Liberal Arts) and Arseniy Shapovalov ’19 (Paul College) both gained experience at Cuseum, while Josefina Ondo ’18 (Paul College) explored a start-up career at Mayflower Venues, Inc. Siddharth “Sid” Nigam ’16 (CEPS) took another route and applied for the ECenter’s Summer Seed Grant program, sponsored by Pierce Atwood LLP. Sid was awarded funds to develop his own idea over the summer in place of an internship, and worked with an advisor at the ECenter to push his concept forward.
In addition to programming and employment support, the ECenter is, simply, a unique and inclusive place for international students to connect and engage with other highly motivated, curious individuals in a supportive community. Between collaborating with teams at all-night hackathons, engaging with a mentor to further an idea or question, participating in one-on-one coaching support for competitions like the Holloway Prize and Social Venture Innovation Challenge, or using the Makerspace for projects ranging from laser-cutting specialized petri dish holders, to designing vinyl stickers, to 3D printing dinosaurs, the ECenter is a thriving, energetic environment built as a platform for students to find and explore their passions.
The next time you’re downtown getting a coffee at Saxby’s or munching on fries at Hop + Grind, stop by the ECenter and you’ll probably run into a number of familiar faces from UNH’s international community. If you’ve always been curious about using a 3D printer, visit the Makerspace, where Nadia Fereydooni ’19 (CEPS) and Kimia Fereydooni ’20 (CEPS), Makerspace student mentors, will guide you through the process step by step. You might even bump into some international faculty using the space, like Ivo Nedyalkov, lecturer in Mechanical Engineering. Or stop in for some complimentary nitro cold-brew coffee in the CubeX coworking space, and see what it’s all about. Whenever you come, you’ll find students collaborating on an idea or solving a problem – which is what we do here, at your home for ideas, innovation, and entrepreneurship!
Written by Allison Bell | UNH Entrepreneurship Center (ECenter) | email@example.com