"Beyond the Bubble" event creates student entrepreneurs

Jen Lassen
News Editor

Although it often seems like we’re stuck in “the Bubble,” University staff and students are finding ways to break out.

On Nov. 5 in Charles A. Dana Engineering from 6 to 9 p.m., over 25 teams of student entrepreneurs will be pitching their business ideas in the University’s first “Beyond the Bubble” competition.

With students from all class years and a variety of majors involved, they will pitch their ideas, and from there the final six teams will present to a panel of alumni judges on campus on Nov. 12. The first place team will win a prize of $1,500 to help finance their business idea as well as one year free shared desk space in the Entrepreneur Incubator located downtown in the Dewitt Building.

“Bucknell’s inaugural ‘Beyond the Bubble’ Business Pitch Competition adds a new feature to a rich ecosystem of entrepreneurial opportunities and programs for students,” said Steven Stumbris, director of the University’s Small Business Development Center.

Along with this new event comes a new class, MIDE 375: “Should We Start this Company?,” that was developed and instructed by Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering Erin Jablonski.

“Several teams come from this class centered in entrepreneurship. In the class, students generate new business ideas, and product or service design and development through business planning,” Stumbris said.

There is evident and documented student interest in entrepreneurial success. For discovering this interest at the University, research was conducted based on the 2011 Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) survey of incoming first-year college students.

“In response to the question ‘How important is becoming successful in a business of my own?,’ the percentage of Bucknell students responding ‘essential’ or ‘very important’ was 35 percent,” Stumbris said.

This competition also builds upon the high interest from last spring’s Venture Plan Competition, which involved 31 University students on nine teams.

“A team of current students, ‘SoloSticks,’ was the second place winner, and they continue to develop their product for a roll out to campus this academic year,” Stumbris said.

Discover more at https://www.facebook.com/chewingforacure.

“At the ‘Beyond the Bubble’ competition, I am excited to meet more passionate young entrepreneurs like me. I strongly believe that my pitch, BuckSell.com, will change Bucknellians’ lives and make the University a better and more environmental friendly place,” Thomas Zhu ’14 said.

“The diversity of ideas is amazing. Students will pitch ventures ranging from a Bucknell-themed mini-golf course to language learning software, and from a chemistry-inspired microbrewery to a clothing line inspired by one student’s Nigerian heritage,” Stumbris said.

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