Aspiring Student Entrepreneurs "Hatch" Their Businesses With Investor Support

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At BGSU, students have the unique opportunity to launch a business with the assistance of a business incubation program called "The Hatch."  If selected as a finalist through an application process, students work on a business presentation with an alumni mentor for ten weeks.  The aspiring entrepreneurs then face a panel of investors, along with a live audience, and pitch their ideas in hopes of obtaining funding to “hatch” their venture, similar to the television show "Shark Tank."

This year, more than 1,300 people gathered in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union to cheer on twelve aspiring student entrepreneurs during the second annual “Hatch” on April 9 as they pitched their business ideas to a panel of six investors.  The College of Business and the Dallas-Hamilton Center for Entrepreneurship are proud to announce that 10 of the finalists received some level of funding from the investors.

The following students and their business ideas received support:

Jerrod Witt, a junior business student specializing in marketing and supply chain management  - an easy to use RFID location device for use by the visually impaired and as well as in the tourism industry

Robert Striblen, a senior and a Veteran of the U.S. Navy, specializing in individualized business - a quick release belt system to transport boxes and totes.

Sara Scacchi, a freshman specializing in marketing - a lightweight, protective glove to prevent smudges while artists are drawing. Sara also was voted the People’s Choice based on texting prior and during “The Hatch.”

Caitlin Flack, a fourth-year student in the College of Arts and Sciences specializing in public relations and minoring in marketing -  a shopping cart charger for your cell phone.

Alan Eschweiler, a sophomore finance student -  a sales notification mobile app connecting customers to products based on their proximity to a retail location

Loren Branch, a junior sports management major in the College of Education and Human Development – pocket t-shirts with specially-created art designs, with partial proceeds supporting youth programs in his hometown of Detroit

Taylor Frazer, a sophomore business student specializing in management – a special highlighter with ink that disappears over time for use in textbooks

Angela Lucarelli, a freshman marketing student - a professional clothing rental business for college students

Morgan Smith, another freshman marketing student -  a mobile app for residence halls notifiying students of the availability of washers and dryers

Stefan Grdic, a senior in the College of Health and Human Services - interchangeable gloves that attach to coats that can be used in various snow sports

For these students, their exciting entrepreneurial journey continues with their mentors, investors, and the Dallas-Hamilton Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.  Loren Branch reflects on his experience so far and the future impact he can make on the City of Detroit. "This experience has been the greatest thing to happen to me, not only since coming to BGSU but in my 20 years of life. I'm more than happy to say this has been the first step to achieving my goal of getting the world to see Detroit for the beautiful city that it is."

Angela Lucarelli also has had an outstanding experience. "Being able to work with my mentor, Joe Prillmayer, has been an amazing experience. He has helped me get my company ‘Invest to Impress’ to the next level by getting two sharks to invest into my idea. It has been a truly rewarding experience and I look forward to starting my company."

Besides the audience in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union, “The Hatch” was streamed live to audiences around the world.  Nearly 70 Hatch Watch parties took place around the country, with  several overseas in Germany, Turkey, and Afghanistan. BGSU alumni as well as high school students gathered in homes and schools to find out which finalists received support.

While other universities have similar events, BGSU is the only one in the United States that awards actual startup funds for student entrepreneurs. In its second year, “The Hatch” process began in the fall with more than 100 business idea applications from across campus, including Firelands. Out of those ideas, twelve students were selected as finalists.

This event was co-hosted by the College of Business and the Dallas-Hamilton Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

Watch a recap video of this year’s “Hatch”  as well as view a photo gallery.