Student Entrepreneurs Present Products to Marketplace

Friday, November 30, 2018

Just in time for the holiday shopping season, student entrepreneurs from Gateway Community College (GCC) and Housatonic Community College (HCC) set up shop this week to test the market for their products and services. 

The Student Entrepreneur Pop-up Shops took place in HCC’s Beacon Hall Atrium on Tuesday, Nov. 27 and at GCC’s Fairway on Thursday, Nov. 29.  Support for the endeavor came in the form of sales for some of the businesses; others were able to provide contact information or direct potential customers to websites to increase brand awareness. 

Pamela Pirog, Chair of the Business Administration Department at HCC, called the event “a huge success,” adding that the student entrepreneurs were thrilled to see nearly 200 faculty, staff and fellow students come through the Atrium.  Tables were free and students were able to sell products, advertise services, or bring a mock-up of a product to perform market research.  Prizes were given in a number of categories. 

Prize winners were:

Student Company Crowd Favorite/Highest One Day Sales:  Destene Savariau, HCC, Destene’s Designs, $250.00
Best Exhibit:  Melissa Gambino, GCC, Tiny Toes Gift Sets, $250.00
Highest One Day Sales:  Carlos Guerra, GCC, Monarchrome, LLC
Student Company Crowd Favorite:  Lance Supersad and Elie Laurena, HCC, Ivorleaf, $250.00
Best Exhibit:  Mayra Cancho, HCC, Bow-Tie Party & Events, $250.00

Mike Roer of the Entrepreneurship Foundation, Inc. and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at GCC and HCC, said that the pop-up shop concept serves a practical purpose, allowing students to do real market research to find out what customers want and what will sell.  To test the market, he said, students have to get out of the classroom.

In his role at GCC and HCC, Roer provides one-on-one advice to entrepreneurs.  His extensive background as an entrepreneur and in teaching gives him the ability to explain how to proceed in ways that students can put into action.  Roer guides students to help make connections.  He added that students can make an appointment to speak to him about their ideas and he will continue to work with them even after they graduate. 

This spring, an eight-week course, Connecticut New Venture Challenge, will be offered through the Entrepreneurship Foundation providing training in market validation, competitive positioning, and other topics related to starting a business.  Participants form into interdisciplinary teams from multiple colleges to develop the most promising concepts.  The experience includes sessions at GCC and the University of Bridgeport.