It's Summer!
Executive Director, Bruce Leech

Greetings and welcome to summer 2021! I think everyone is looking forward to this summer, as things are safely opening up around Chicago. We just finished our 5th Annual Purpose Pitch competition and we would like to congratulate Claoe Louis and his business Miranda for winning our student competition. We also congratulate Ruthie Moore and Chanettia Nelson, founders of Six Degrees Events, for winning our alumni competition, and we applaud all 8 of our finalists for their purpose driven startups. As we finish our school year, we would like to thank our CEC Student Assistants who are graduating this June, Natalie Velazquez and Lauren Pingad for all their great work at the CEC. We also welcome Mary Buxton and Elena Chamorro as our new Student Assistants, along with Drew Beasley who will be working in the CEC during the coming school year. 

As we start to move back to a new normal, several people have commented to me that they feel stuck. Perhaps it is because of being locked down or perhaps repeating the same basic routine; each day feels like Groundhog Day, over and over. Life moves, and unless you move with it, you will soon be trapped in a comfort zone that leads nowhere. So, I have a few quick suggestions to help you get unstuck.

First, admit that you are stuck and embrace it, denial will not help. Once you come to terms with being stuck, you need something to free you, but only when you are fully ready to be unstuck. Next, you need to develop a plan or map for your life. The old saying is that if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there. You need to write down a plan that includes where you want to be in 5, 10, 20, 30 years. What are your talents and passions? How can you improve the lives of others? What is your purpose, what are your dreams? You don’t need to have it all figured out as things will change, but simply determine that first small step to move you in that direction. Finally, you need to always be learning something new. Why do you think Oprah Winfrey, Mark Cuban and Warren Buffet are such voracious readers and continue to learn throughout their life? You can start by looking for books or podcasts on topics that interest you, however, I recommend that you look for organized systems that force your schedule (classes, courses, diplomas, sessions, etc.), so that you can lean on others to achieve your goals. Being a student for your entire life will help you redefine yourself and move you towards your life plan. So, as we begin our summer, I hope those of you who are stuck decide to get unstuck, make a plan for your life and embrace the path of being a life-long learner.

Finally, congratulations to all the DePaul students graduating this month. We know this has been a difficult year, but always remember the CEC is there for you for life as a proud alum, so we hope you stay connected with us!
Pairing students with the right mentors has always been one of the top priorities at the Coleman Center. We believe that the right guidance is crucial to advancing your academic and professional goals. 

The CEC Mentorship program is open to students and community members. Benefits include receiving ideas and feedback on your venture, expanding your network, and learning best practices for starting and running a business.

Founded by DePaul alumni Drake Roberts and Anthony Tamras, DeoBlock is keeping odors out. The reusable and compact DeoBlock deodorizer is designed for your gym bag or other small spaces. Made of a plant-based gel and an essential oil blend, DeoBlock comes with refillable pods that last for 30 days.

Why DeoBlock? How did you come up with this idea?
Anthony: I tried every air freshener on the market to combat my smelly football bag but they all just masked the musty odor with a synthetic scent. After enrolling in a class called “Small Business Incubator” during my senior year at Palatine High School, I partnered with Drake who experienced the same issue with his lacrosse bag and the rest is history.

Drake: Setting up supply chain for a product that has never been created before is extremely challenging because we need to build all the infrastructure ourselves. It’s not like a clothing company where infrastructure has been tested and tried for years. We created something truly unique and being able to mass produce something entirely new while maximizing quality and profits has been extremely challenging.

What kept you going since the time you thought of this idea?
Anthony: I knew DeoBlock had the potential to fill a void in our market. It’s fun to create something that hasn’t been done before. The endless possibilities keep me up at night and the opportunities get me up in the morning. We’ve created a lifestyle product that truly solves a common problem for active individuals.

How can all of us support you at this time?
Anthony: Follow us on social media (@deoblock on all platforms), visit the website and most importantly, spread the word to friends and family.
Tell us a little bit about yourself? Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
Drake: I think from a young age I always enjoyed creating things. My grandfather was a welder and my grandmother owned her own business. I like to think I get my entrepreneurial spirit from them.

How has the CEC helped you in your entrepreneurial journey?
Drake: The CEC has provided immense amounts of opportunity for my business. We met with many mentors and alumni of the program that volunteered their time to give us advice and help us grow our business idea. We constantly took advantage of the CEC facilities themselves, taking sales calls and having meetings in the conference rooms. Without the CEC at DePaul being a place for us to grow our business, we would not have been as productive as we could have been while being full-time students.

What is your advice for other entrepreneurs who are starting this journey?
Drake: Keep persevering. It’s going to get harder before it gets easier and that’s okay. Take every roadblock head-on and every challenge one by one. This journey is a fulfilling one. You just need to keep the tenacity high and continue to grow.
FlameFI CEO Nathan Parkins
DePaul alumnus and CEC mentor Nathan Parkins is co-founder and CEO of FlameFI, a budget and collaboration tool for consumers, financial coaches and advisors to set and achieve financial goals.

Nathan’s business recently won second place in the alumni category at the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center's 2021 Purpose Pitch Competition.


At this year's Purpose Pitch, our attendees presented stellar business pitches and showcased their entrepreneurial spirits. Congratulations to all of our finalists!


Are you ready to think creatively and generate new business ideas? DePaul University's nationally ranked MS in Entrepreneurship program will prepare you for the challenges of turning opportunities into thriving businesses in our ever-changing world.

Interested in Cryptocurrency and Blockchain?
FIN 798
would be a great course to check out! This fall, professor Lamont
Black in the Driehaus College of Business at DePaul will be offering
a FIN 798 special topics course on blockchain and cryptocurrency.
All Kellstadt and CDM students are encouraged to register! The
course will be in the online hybrid modality with a Zoom meeting
on Monday evenings (no in-person sessions).

Blockchain has emerged as a disruptive force in business.
Cryptocurrency has gone mainstream as more people invest. Now
these two worlds are merging as entrepreneurs use public
blockchains like Ethereum to create decentralized applications for
business purposes.

Come explore the potential of blockchain and cryptocurrency, and
get ahead of the curve! if you have any questions, feel free to
contact professor Lamont Black at
1871 hosts Pitch Practice every Friday where you can pitch your business plan in front of a group for practice. Visit their website to learn more! Students and faculty from every college across the university are welcome to apply for approval to reserve work space in the 1871 DePaul office or participate in their programs and events.

ISTC is a member-driven nonprofit organization that cultivates technology-based economic development throughout Illinois, offering mentorship programs and startup challenges for students and entrepreneurs. All DePaul students & faculty have access to their programming and events. 
2112 is Chicago's first incubator focused on the development of business and entrepreneurs in music, film/video and creative technology. DePaul is a member at 2112 which allows students to participate in their programs for free.

MHUB is an innovation center for physical product development and manufacturing. MHub members create breakthrough products in robotics, connected devices, sensors, energy tech, medical devices, smart building /cities, unmanned vehicles, and other cutting- edge innovations.

Questions? Email us at