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UHart Students Get Inspired at Stanley Black and Decker Techstars Demo Day

October 17, 2019
UHart students, faculty, and staff attend SBD+TechStars Event
UHart students, faculty, and staff attended the SBD+TechStars event at The Bushnell to hear 10 startups pitch investors.
More than 40 students, faculty, and staff from across the University recently heard 10 startups from all over the world pitch investors their ideas in innovations in sustainable packaging and additive manufacturing at the SBD+Techstars Demo Day in Hartford. The event provided students with a hands-on learning opportunity—no matter their area of study—as they watched each startup present its Shark Tank-like pitch from the Bushnell stage as they promoted products such as bio-based lubricants, sustainably packaged spices, and packaging developed from waste crop residue.

“It was fascinating to see the companies present, particularly the company, OCCO, also known as, The Spice Girls,” says Lillian Wonderly ‘23, a communication major, in the College of Arts and Sciences. “Investors were raving over how the spice girls were innovating the way we package and proportion grocery store items such as spices and dairy products.  It made me think I could help a company who is trying to save the planet and make the world a better place with my education in PR and advertising.” 

Kaitlyn Keeler ’22, a finance major in the Barney School of Business, says she was most inspired seeing people, not much older than she is, give sophisticated and well-researched pitches. “This made me realize that with hard work and motivation, I could maybe stand in the same place as those founders and CEOs several years from now.” She says it was amazing to see how much innovation and entrepreneurship is currently happening in Hartford. 

This made me realize that with hard work and motivation, I could maybe stand in the same place as those founders and CEOs several years from now.

Kaitlyn Keeler '22, Finance
Girik Nagpal ’20, an accounting major in the Barney School of Business, enjoyed listening to each startup CEO present their vision. He says the Demo Day was an amazing opportunity for students because there is so much to learn outside the classroom. “The room is filled with successful professionals from different fields of work,” says Girik. “The interaction itself boosts your confidence and makes you aware of the corporate world around us which is so close to us here in Hartford.”

Demo Day attendees included Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, as well as representatives of community groups like MetroHartford Alliance, MakerspaceCT, Connecticut Innovations, and others invested in supporting Hartford’s emerging entrepreneurial ecosystem.

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Mary Ingarra