Student Entrepreneurs Experience Crowdfunding!

7 campaigns set to launch after unique startup prep at Sawyer Business School

BOSTON — Suffolk University has introduced one of the nation’s first experiential courses on crowdfunding, where students are launching campaigns to fund their own start-up companies through Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
Students in the Sawyer Business School class will launch crowdfunding campaigns the week of Nov. 14, coinciding with National Entrepreneurship Month. Startup products and services include an almond-based Alfredo sauce, a high-protein coffee product, a fishing tackle box/cooler combination and a yoga studio on wheels.

“While a few other universities are discussing crowdfunding as part of traditional course content, the real-world approach to this course makes it different,” said Management and Entrepreneurship Professor Jennifer Dinger. “Suffolk students in this class are learning how to turn their business ideas into action, and they are going after the funding to support those enterprises.”

The course expands on the foundation of knowledge and skills honed throughout the Sawyer Business School curriculum, while fast tracking entrepreneurial activity through startups and the raising of capital.

In a cross-disciplinary approach that taps into the wider resources of Suffolk University, students in the class have teamed up with:
• Suffolk Law School’s Intellectual Property clinic for help with brand trademark
• Graphic designers in Suffolk’s New England School of Art & Design for logo development
• RamCam Productions in the Suffolk College of Arts & Sciences for campaign video production
The concept for the crowdfunding course came out of conversations between Dinger and Professor Chaim Letwin, a colleague in the Sawyer Business School’s Management and Entrepreneurship department. Dinger and Letwin both study crowdfunding platforms and how campaign components relate to people’s decisions to contribute money to a particular project.
The course looks at factors that lead to crowdfunding success, including the idea, the pitch and the prototype.

“Small business and innovation are critical to the health and vibrancy of the economy,” Dinger said. “Experiential courses like this are aimed at accelerating the startup launch process and increasing the rate of startup businesses among our most promising young adults.”

Student-led ventures launching crowdsourcing campaigns Nov. 14- 16 are:
WarmUp Protein Coffee: This venture, founded by Suffolk senior and Entrepreneurship major James Testa of East Boston, is targeting its first product, a high-protein coffee, to
fitness-focused people on the go.
The Wicked Fisha, founded by Suffolk senior Chuck Gibson of Malden, Mass., plans a line of innovative fishing equipment and accessories, starting with a cooler/tackle box combo that eliminates the hassle of lugging multiple boxes to a fishing destination.
Buddha Bus Yoga provides traveling yoga classes out of mobile studio. Founded by Suffolk Junior Sara Maloney, of Groveland, Mass., the business offers on-site classes at workplaces, college campuses, food markets and more.
Goliath Gallon, founded by Suffolk senior Zack Smith of Methuen, Mass., makes a reusable, bisphenol A (BPA)-free and easily cleaned gallon bottle for ice, fruits, amino acids or whatever is needed. The Kickstarter campaign will fund the initial production run, including a plastic molding tool that is necessary for mass production.
NEO Miners is a card game that focuses on resource management and economic principles, with a space-travel theme. Founder Jason Moker is a Suffolk senior from Georgetown, Mass. Be warned! The depths of space have encounters that can be dangerous and unpredictable!
Vegitano is a health food brand offering alternatives to people who follow a vegan diet or are allergic to dairy and/or gluten. The first product is an almond-based Alfredo sauce. The startup was founded by Willied Hessein, a Suffolk senior from Miami.
The Upward Bound + Startup Suffolk Partnership is aimed at raising money for the social good. The campaign, led by the student team of Manuel Lopez Campos, Ashley Cesero, and Carter Nuttall, is focused on funding Upward Bound students to participate in Startup Suffolk, a bridge program for rising high school seniors. Upward Bound is a federally funded academic success program that helps high school students who are below the poverty line and the first generation from their family to attend college. StartUp Suffolk introduces high school students to entrepreneurial concepts.


More information on the student startup businesses and crowdfunding campaigns can be found at

Suffolk University Entrepreneurship Launch Party.
Suffolk University Entrepreneurship Launch Party.

Start Your Business at Suffolk

The Center for Entrepreneurship is a catalyst to support your entrepreneurial ambitions with launching a new venture – while you are a student or after you graduate.

For current students, you can tailor your entrepreneurship major to add “Launching a New Venture” as a concentration focused on startups. Courses include crowdfunding, raising venture capital, bootstrapping, and preparing for the actual launch during your academic program (or shortly thereafter). The Center for Entrepreneurship provides access to 3-D printing, legal services (through Suffolk Law School’s Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Clinic), accounting services, financial support (through courses in crowdfunding, the $100,000 Dr. Sushil Bhatia Competition for Innovative Ideas, the Alumni Seed Fund, and additional resources as an E-Clinic capstone client. Your entrepreneurship 4 major core, along with the availability of 20 electives to tailor your exact needs. For more information, visit

Suffolk Entrepreneur Alex Hatzinikolau Co-Founder of Zelus LLC


Designed and engineered in 2014, Zelus is a consumer technology company that has developed a fashionable and functional, all-in-one workstation for students and professionals. Co-founder, Alex Hatznikolau, is currently a Senior at Suffolk University and is expected to graduate this coming May, 2016.

Alex began his entrepreneurial journey with business partner Scarlee Marseielle in their hometown Brockton, Massachusetts. Both Alex and Scarlee saw the demand for a laptop case that could transform any computer into a multi-functional workstation, especially for people with on-the-go lifestyles, like themselves. Zelus has created a series of sleek, stylish, and iconic laptop cases.


The ICON and the Edge by Zelus, are equipped with many features, such as a slide-out panel to organize and display papers and multi-media tools.With college students being one of Zelus’s target markets, both Alex and Scarlee have been able to find and observe evidence to support their claims as a business. Alex and Scarlee are able to make for certain that their is a need and a want for their product.

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 5.57.30 PM

Alex helped start Zelus during his Junior year at Suffolk University, though preliminary work on product development and strategy began the summer before they became a legal entity. Interested in the product, as well as, extremely proud of a fellow Suffolk Entrepreneur,  we attended the Zelus Kickstarter Launch Party at WeWork South Station.  The event was spectacular! Product displays were exhibited throughout the whole showroom, Sa Pa, a delicious local Boston based Vietnamese cuisine was catered, a DJ rendered music that made everyone dance, and there were free giveaways! The launch was a complete success, not to mention, the entrepreneurial buzz was in the air! 

Scarlee Marseielle left and Alex Hatznikolau right

We had the pleasure of talking with Alex and asked him a few questions about the products he was launching. More importantly, we asked him if he had any tips for starting a small business while in college. His number one tip was to be surrounded by people who motivate you and who you work well with.  He said it is important to build a team of people that “you click with in and out of the office”, he said, “your going to be spending ALOT of time with these people”.

Alex also mentioned that classes and schoolwork aways conflict with business schedules and there are some days he has to miss class for team meetings or outreach and networking. However, professors have been more than encouraging to Alex and enjoy that he incorporates hands-on knowledge into the classroom from starting his own company.

In the words of a Suffolk University Entrepreneur:

Your business is your baby. It requires a lot of attention and nurturing to grow. No matter what you have going on, you need to make time every day to take steps forward.”- Alex Hatznikolau



E-Clients Kick Off Capstone Experiential

Last week, local Boston area businesses came to the Center for Entrepreneurship to pitch their businesses to the senior entrepreneurship capstone students. The businesses participating in the Fall 2015 E-Clinic are Yum Yum Pix, Capsure, Statisfy, WWBE, and American Stonecraft.


Entrepreneurship Alumnus, John Huang, started Yum Yum Pix as a senior at Suffolk. Yum Yum Pix is your own personal food visual safari, dedicated to providing you with the inspiration to venture beyond your taste buds and explore new cuisines. I wanted to be involved with the E-Clinic because it encompasses the spirit that ‘anything is possible.'”

Eric Howard has been an E-Clinic client for the past three semesters. His company, World Wide Beauty Exchange ( WWBE is an online source for professional beauty products. Made by Beauty Professionals for Beauty Professionals and their clients. Suffolk’s E-Clinic reviewed our development and business model giving us validation and exceptional review from a new knowledgeable generation of peers. I find the collaborative to be quite a resource and look forward to tangible results.”

Capsure, Statisfy, and American Stonecraft are all new to the E-Clinic model. Capsure is a platform used to help investors expedite their due diligence with more accurate understandings of the companies that are seeking investment. Statisfy is an online polling software company. Their polling and engagement units allow you to engage your audiences in a unique, and playful way. The polls are free, and can be embedded on any article or webpage. Finally, American Stonecraft (featured in the image above) takes freshly unearthed field stones all across New England and skillfully crafts them into his full line of farm-to-table serving wares.