Mount alumnus Jay Paige ’14 presented “Pitfalls of Startups and How to Overcome Them” during Techstars Weekend on campus.
Mount Saint Mary College recently hosted Techstars Startup Weekend Newburgh, where nearly 30 young entrepreneurs cultivated their ideas for new, unique businesses.
The participants – including students from the Mount and Newburgh Free Academy (NFA) – learned how to think and work like a startup. They formed teams, developed their business ideas, and gave their pitches to the judges, all in a span of about 54 hours. Teams also had the opportunity to attend helpful workshops over the course of the weekend, hosted by more than a dozen local business leaders.
Jorden Hidalgo, a junior at NFA, was selected as the winner of the contest. He was awarded $250 and a business bank account to help seed his business idea.
He pitched a mobile shower – a bus converted to have shower stalls – that could be utilized at festivals such as Burning Man. The bus would operate in the southern states over the winter and head back north for the summer. When it was not being used for events, Hidalgo would provide free showers to homeless individuals.
Other notable ideas included an Instacart-like phone app that would allow users to purchase extra groceries for local families in need; as well as using Pestalotiopsis microspore (plastic eating) mushrooms to reduce waste in landfills and create bags of fertilizer.
Techstars Startup Weekend Newburgh was co-coordinated at the Mount by Micah Modell, assistant professor of Information Technology; Sagar Raina, assistant professor of Information Technology; Lee Fothergill, professor of Mathematics and chair of the Mathematics and Information Technology Division; A. Reza Hossain, professor of Economics and chair of the School of Business; Ellen Bourhis Nolan, former director of the Mount’s Career Center; Robin Rosenberg, Mount career counselor; Nikki Khurana-Baugh, vice president for Advancement; and many others.
“It was fantastic and they had some really great ideas,” said Modell. “All of the ideas had a strong community component – this is what was important to the participants.”
Modell added that the students “got the opportunity to apply what they’re learning in the classroom in an authentic way, addressing the ideas and problems that are of concern to them. They got to explore the possibility of being their own boss and what that entails – and they got a taste of the fact that it’s not a unrealistic goal.”
Plans for next year’s Techstars event at the Mount are already underway.
The event was sponsored by Wallkill Valley Federal Savings and Loan, Get Right Results, Beer World, and Focused Wealth Management.