Husky Startup Challenge

Northeastern prides itself on the ingenuity of its students, many of whom go on to create huge names for themselves with their inventive business ventures. Ever hear of Twitter? Napster? Both co-founders of these famous enterprises are Northeastern alumni (the latter didn’t actually graduate, and his company got shut down for piracy issues, but still, Napster was huge!) Huskies get the opportunity to co-op all over the world, learning from the greatest entrepreneurs of today. In 2011, the Princeton Review named NU one of the top 12 entrepreneurial colleges in the country, so it comes as no surprise that our school has its very own start-up challenge, aptly named the “Husky Start-up Challenge” (HCS).

Northeastern’s Entrepreneurs’ Club hosts the challenge every semester, which began in 2010. The competition gives students the chance to turn their business ideas into reality. Students submit their ideas, create business plans over a series of boot camp workshops, and finalists are selected to present on Demo Day. Remember science fairs in middle school, where geeky kids with braces showed off their homemade baking soda volcanoes and theorized the effect of classical music on plant growth? Demo Day is like that, only so much better. On Thursday, April 12th from 7 to 9 pm in the Curry Student Center West Addition, 18 groups will show off their business ideas in hopes of winning $5,500 in cash prizes to make their entrepreneurial dreams come true.

Greg Skloot, the president of the club and a former Campus Celebrity gave us the run down on how the HCS winner is selected. “A group of ‘secret’ judges will be present at the event and visit each of the companies, listen to the founder's pitch and ultimately decide who the winners are. These judges are made up of Deans at NU, local venture capitalists and successful entrepreneurs in our community.”

Her Campus Northeastern will be represented by not one but two competing teams this year! Hana Nobel will be marketing her hip-hop themed ice cream truck, “Scoop, There it Is.” Let that sink in for a moment. Ready to read on? Hana’s hysterical idea includes all the classic flavors and artists, from Beastie Boysenberry to PB and Jay-Z to Sir Twix a Lot. All flavors are available in 3 sizes, from the 1 Scoop Dogg to 2Pac to the gluttonous Biggie. “Boston is lacking ice cream trucks that scoop ice cream… so we want a new, fun, musically-influenced truck,” says Hana. “I thought of it in the shower, where most great ideas happen. I thought Milli Vanillia would be a funny flavor, and by the time I left the shower, the concept was there.” Eat up, but try not to choke on your dessert from laughter.

Next up, Colleen McCarthy and her partner Annalise Murphy will be presenting “,” a website designed for college females listing ongoing Boston events and venues. The site gives collegiettes access to a calendar of events ranked on cost, date-friendliness, and safety. The content is organized into categories based on different personalities, ranging from party-goers to girly-girls to hipsters. Colleen says coming to a new city for college inspired her to create the site. “We wanted to explore and go out at night, but often times we were at a loss of what to do, especially since we weren't 21 yet.” With Annalise’s background in graphic design and Colleen’s passion for marketing, the pair developed a site that is soon to be a staple on every collegiette’s desktop. “We want our site to be very visually pleasing but also serve a need,” adds Colleen.

HCS can be a great platform for students who have no other means to start their companies. Not a business major? No worries. Greg comments, “It is open to everyone! We have students with majors ranging from computer science to biology to business.” Hana adds, “REACH OUT! Networking is scary at first, but people want to help!”

All Northeastern students are invited to stop by Demo Day to view the projects and cheer on for audience favorite. Registration is free at Food and drinks will be provided. Plus, what would be cooler than to say you witnessed the creation of the next big thing? Well, besides being the Northeastern student who thought of it?

Good luck to all the HCS finalists!