RCB hosts School of Innovation & Entrepreneurship ribbon cutting, New Venture Competition & Expo

RCB hosts School of Innovation & Entrepreneurship ribbon cutting, New Venture Competition & Expo


Rowan University’s Rohrer College of Business officially opened its School of Innovation & Entrepreneurship April 22 amid a sea of student business startups – some in the idea stage and others already generating revenue.

A morning ribbon cutting for the SIE marked the start of a school designed to inspire cross-campus entrepreneurial mindsets while the program that followed, the New Venture Competition & Expo, presented students with opportunities to not only exhibit business ideas but to earn seed money to support them.

“This is like the Super Bowl for us,” said Dr. Susana Santos, an assistant professor of Entrepreneurship and associate director of the Rowan Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship within the SIE. “Today’s program is an important way for students to showcase their ideas.”

The center hosts more than 100 events and programs throughout the year, including a fall Idea Challenge and the spring New Venture Competition, through which finalists have an opportunity to earn thousands of dollars in funding. A judged art gallery also awarded students prizes.

Students within the RCB and other Rowan schools and colleges developed business concepts all year to present during the April 22 program.

Junior management major Nicholas Nastasi said his company, 4Umedicaldesigns, has moved well beyond the idea stage and is already generating revenue.

Founded to ease anxiety among young medical patients, the company produces sticker collections in themes like dinosaurs, dogs & cats, smiley faces and sports gear to decorate IV bottles, syringe barrels and other therapeutic equipment.

“I never understood why (pediatric) doctor’s offices and hospitals are decorated to be child friendly but not the medical devices they use,” said Nastasi, who took 2nd Place and won $2,500 in the New Venture Competition.

Inspired by a childhood medical experience of his own, Nastasi said at least three doctor’s offices and five hospitals are currently using the stickers. Just as important, he said, parents say they help their children feel at ease.

“We’re hearing that what we’re doing is valued and appreciated,” he said.

Dog for a Day and more

Among the dozens of Expo presenters were idea stage students with plans to use drones to eliminate carbon and ease climate change; a group whose paper straw technology would detect date rape drugs in bars; and a team inspired by Rowan’s own Shreiber Family Pet Therapy Program.

Junior marketing major Gianna Gussen said her group’s Dog for a Day company, now in the idea stage, would rent pets to people who could not keep a pup of their own.

Hosting a table laden with bone-shaped pretzels for visitors and judges, with her Bernese Mountain Dog on a bed beside it, Gussen believes that calm, soothing dogs like Leo can positively affect one’s outlook.

“Just to take a dog out for a day would help alleviate stress,” she said.

Award-winning, cross-campus program

The Princeton Review this year named the RCB’s entrepreneurship program a Top 50 in the nation and the college’s popular “Think Like An Entrepreneur” summer academy, which is offered for free to high school students, provides three college credits to students who complete it.

Senior Associate Dean Dr. Morris A. Kalliny, a professor of marketing, said the entrepreneurship program’s open, cross-campus structure has become a magnet to students from all of Rowan’s colleges, including its two medical schools.

“Entrepreneurship is a discipline that cuts across majors,” Kalliny said. “You don’t have to be a business major, you just need a good idea for business. But you also need to know how to promote your idea and that’s what students learn from us – from idea generation to implementation.”


Winners of the New Venture Competition, Expo and a judged art gallery include:

Rohrer New Venture Competition

First Place, Aeriform, $4,000, Douglas Hartmann

Second Place, 4U medical Designs, $2,500, Nicholas Nastasi

Third Place, Art for Hope, $1,000, Ashley Kulikowski

Honorable Mention, Xoaesis, Certificate, Dallas Addis-Hartsough

Honorable Mention, Elemeat, Certificate, Skye Chang

New Venture Expo

Best in Show, PULLAtracker, Award package valued at $100, Siena Rampulla

stARTup Gallery

First Place, award package valued at $100, Tyler Allen-Williams

Second Place, award package valued at $75, Isabella Shainline

Third Place, award package valued at $50, Dayna Stauts