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Venture Capital investment competition

SCSU students at the Connecticut Intercollegiate New Venture Competition 2017

It’s a three-peat for Southern’s business students in the Connecticut Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC).

The team of Paige Decker, Tyler Fedak and Mike Sullivan earned first-place honors recently to mark the third consecutive year in which an SCSU trio triumphed in the event. Student teams from Connecticut colleges and universities presented business and investment plans for hypothetical companies, which were evaluated by investment industry professionals. The program was held at Gateway Community College.

Connecticut is the only state with its own VCIC competition, according to Mike Roer, president of the Entrepreneurship Foundation Inc., which sponsors the statewide event. On the basis of its victory, the SCSU team advances to the New England Regional Finals in Boston on Feb. 24. Southern will compete against schools such as Boston University, Wharton School of Business (University of Pennsylvania), Yale University, Cornell University, and Babson College. In addition to retaining the Connecticut team trophy, the team also earned $1,000 for travel expenses to the Northeast Regional competition.

“The consistent professionalism and courage of the Southern team speaks well of the acumen and state-of-the-art curricula of the (academic) Finance Department and School of Business,” Roer said. “The Entrepreneurship Foundation is proud to support the SCSU contingent by underwriting the entry fee and providing a travel stipend.”

Benjamin Abugri, chairman of the SCSU Economics and Finance Department, said he was proud of the students.

“As business faculty, we all celebrate the impactful achievement of our students and their two faculty advisers, Drs. Han Yu and Dave Tyson,” Abugri said. “Winning the trophy three consecutive times, taking the Connecticut State trophy for keeps at the SCSU Business School and advancing to a regional final for the second time as state representatives are historic achievements.”

Roer explained that under the rules of the VCIC program, the first team to win three competitions gets to keep the team trophy. A new one will be purchased for future competitions.

Decker said she learned much from participating in the event. “This competition was a great real world experience for my fellow classmates and me,” she said. “We were able to be venture capitalists for the day, judging startup ideas from various local colleges. We won the competition and had a lot of fun participating.”

A team of Southern business students has earned a berth in next month’s Northeast Venture Capital Investment Competition after securing a victory recently in a similar statewide event.

The team of Peter Blanchet, Alec Santo and Paul Barlow turned back stiff competition from Quinnipiac and Fairfield universities in December to gain the win. It marked the second straight time a Southern team won the Connecticut Venture Capital Investment Competition. Last March, the trio of Santo, Barlow and Egzon Dauti took the inaugural edition of the state competition.

Student teams from Connecticut colleges and universities presented business and investment plans. The investment plans were evaluated by investment industry professionals.

“It was a wonderful achievement for our students,” said Adam Abugri, chairman of the Economics and Finance Department and faculty advisor. “To qualify for competition against schools such as Harvard, MIT, and Cornell speaks to the capabilities of Southern’s students. We all should be proud of our students.”

In addition to the trophy, the team earned a $500 grant from the Entrepreneurship Foundation Inc. to support the travel expenses that will be incurred for the trip to Boston for the regional competition. The team’s entry fee for the regional competition has also been paid for by the foundation.

“Your students acquitted themselves well,” said Mike Roer, president of the Entrepreneurship Foundation, to Abugri. “You should be very proud of them.” Roer plans to present the trophy to the team at a future event on campus.

“Applying classroom investment techniques in a competitive, hands-on atmosphere is truly exhilarating,” Santo said. “This experience motivates my passion to pursue a competitive career path.”

Blanchet expressed similar sentiments.

“I learned a lot from this experience and it was exciting to hear pitches from so many passionate student entrepreneurs,” he said. “I was impressed by how dedicated these entrepreneurs were to their start-ups, and it was interesting to negotiate with them as if we were truly in a position to invest heavily into their companies.”