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Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Student Entrepreneurs Launch New Round of Ventures through Suffolk Crowdfunding Course

Press Release – BOSTON — Savory waffles sold from a food cart, a cinch-locking bag that deters theft of package deliveries and a children’s book about a guppy who tries too hard to fit in are three of the latest Suffolk University student-run ventures that launched crowdfunding campaigns April 7.

Suffolk’s Sawyer Business School introduced one of the nation’s first experiential courses on crowdfunding in fall 2016, where students launched campaigns to fund their own startup companies through Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The acclaimed course is now in its second semester with a new group of student entrepreneurs launching campaigns to fund their businesses. Campaigns will conclude with the end of National Small Business Week on May 6.

“Crowdfunding is shaping up to be an important factor for startup success,” said Sawyer Entrepreneurship Professor Chaim Letwin. “To run a successful campaign one must be passionate about their venture. That is why it is important to not only teach our students why some campaigns are successful while others are not, but also to give them the opportunity to dig in, get their hands dirty and run a campaign of their own.”

The concept for the crowdfunding course came out of conversations between Letwin and Professor Jenni Dinger, a colleague in the Sawyer Business School’s Management and Entrepreneurship department. Dinger and Letwin co-teach the course and both study crowdfunding and how campaign components relate to people’s decisions to contribute money to a particular project.

“This course is still quite young, only the second time through, so we are continuously adjusting and learning as a group,” Dinger said. “It’s very exciting to see how this group of students has built on what was accomplished last year.”

This semester’s ventures include:

  • Waffleholics, founded by Suffolk junior Carmen Reddick and senior Max Taylor, aims to create the most delicious sweet and savory waffles, starting with a Boston food cart business. Reddick graduated from Johnson & Wales University with an associate in science degree. Both students are from Boston.
  • Beyond Borders is a full-length documentary film by David Apostolides and John Moran. The film seeks to incorporate the perspectives of those living outside of the U.S. in the current American political conversation.
  • Baggabox prevents package theft by securing deliveries to your door in a cut-resistant and waterproof cinch-locking bag. Baggabox was founded by Jamie Manning, a Suffolk MBA alumnus, and is being supported by seniors Faisal Janahi and Alonso Villarreal. Janahi is from Manama, Bahrain, and Villarreal is from San Antonio, Texas.
  • Goliath Gallon, founded by Suffolk senior Zack Smith of Methuen, Mass., makes a reusable, BPA-free and easily cleaned gallon bottle for ice, fruits, amino acids, etc.
  • Cosmic Eye, founded by Ashton Viqueras-LaRochelle, utilizes augmented reality technology to bridge the gap between what you see through a telescope and what actually exists in the cosmos. Viqueras-LaRochelle, a Suffolk junior, is from Portsmouth, N.H.
  • Kwapis Can’t Hang is a children’s book about a guppy that enters a new bowl and pretends to be someone she is not in a misguided attempt to fit in. The book is authored and edited by Dana Prandato, a Suffolk junior and Marketing major from Sandpoint, Idaho.
  • Claude and the Magic Garden is a children’s book that tells a magical story of two brothers living in a foreign land and trying to fit in. Their community helps uncover the magic of true friendship. The book is authored and edited by Suffolk junior Christopher Hassapis. He is from North Reading, Mass.
  • Pup Picnic, founded by Joe Tassinari, is a 2-in-1 dog bowl with a water bottle attachment. This allows any disposable water bottle to attach to the bowl and act as a feeder. Tassinari is a Suffolk senior from East Boston, Mass.

More information on the student startup businesses and crowdfunding campaigns may be found at www.suffolk.edu/business/undergraduate/71487.php.

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