The ECenter is the co-curricular heart of ideas, innovation, and entrepreneurship at UNH. Our goal is to create the next generation of leaders with an entrepreneurial mind-set who can see opportunities and identify creative solutions others have missed, one idea at a time. Although part of UNH, we are independent of any one college.
January 2020 Newsletter
The Latest Happenings from the ECenter
Welcome 2020! A new decade and references to “perfect vision” abound.

Earlier this month the ECenter celebrated its 4th birthday. Amazing how fast that went by. Just like the true start-up process we talk about with students, faculty, and alumni entrepreneurs, the same process has been true for us over the past four years. The general direction of our original vision has been true and on course, except that we moved along much faster than expected and student impact has been more than we expected. This happened because we took time to listen and understand more about “our customer needs” (primarily student focused) and we modified and improved the programming to help ensure successful outcomes. Well that, and a whole lot of support from the UNH administration, UNH alumni and non-UNH entrepreneurs, rock star students with amazing ideas and passion to push those ideas forward, and finally a passionate and innovative ECenter team.

We are excited for another high-energy and high-impact semester ahead.
  • We're coaching more students for the Holloway Prize Competition and national competitions.
  • We have a great Agile Bootcamp sponsored by and presented by Bottomline Technologies to help provide critical innovation tools to students.
  • We've partnered with UNH CaPS and UNH MUB for an inspirational entrepreneur speaker series, co-sponsored by Lake Street Advisors.
  • We'll cohost the 2nd annual Start-up & High-Growth Career Fair co-sponsored with CaPS and the Entrepreneurship Club.
  • We'll award the $5,000 Maurice Prize, $16,000 Summer Seed Grant (sponsored by Pierce Atwood) and the $4,000 Paid Student Internships at Start-up Program (sponsored by Patten Family Foundation and UNH alumni). 

We're wishing you the best for 2020! While we have an exciting roster of events ahead, we can always improve with your insights and support - don't hesitate to reach out!
Ian Grant
Executive Director, ECenter
$17,500 in Student Debt Relief
Awarded with i2 Passport
From left to right: Naomi Schneider, Evan England, Scott Hinds, Jessica Nelson, Izaiah Barba, and Danielle Liska
Fall 2019 was the 6th semester of the i2 Passport Program, made possible with the generosity of the Patten Family Foundation. i2 Passport rewards students for attending activities and events surrounding ideas, innovation, and entrepreneurship with the chance to win money to pay down their student loans or subsidize tuition. Events and activities include participating in an Idea Creation Bootcamp, using the Makerspace at the ECenter, attending an Entrepreneurship Club meeting, attending a campus partner event, and much more.

This semester, we had a record number of students eligible for the minimum prize $2,000 raffle drawings! In order to be eligible for the minimum prize raffle drawings, students had to complete at least one event or activity in eight different categories. The two students who each won $2,000 in the minimum prize raffles drawings were:
  • Izaiah Barba '22 (Finance, Paul College) from Rye, NH
  • Danielle Liska '21 (Communications, COLA) from Succasunna, NJ

We also had four students who took home the $6,000 1st prize, $3,000 2nd prize, $2,000 3rd prize, and $2,000 FirstGen prize (just for students who are the first in their family to attend college) for participating in more activities and events than anyone else.
  • 1st Prize of $6,000: Jessica Nelson '21 (Business Administration, Paul College) from Deerfield, NH – she also won 1st Prize last semester!
  • 2nd Prize of $3,000: Scott Hinds ‘20 (Finance, Paul College) from Tilton, NH
  • 3rd Prize of $2,000: Naomi Schneider '23 (Nursing, CHHS) from Raymond, NH
  • FirstGen Prize of $2,000: Evan England '21 (Sociology, COLA) from Rollinsford, NH
At the Award Ceremony on December 5, 2019, all six students were awarded with their giant checks and a few of them spoke to the audience about how i2 Passport has impacted their UNH experience for the better.

Said 1st Prize winner, Jessica Nelson '21, "I’ve been thinking through a lot of ideas in my three years at UNH and I’ve begun to realize that to be a true entrepreneur you need to believe in yourself and love what you do. Working around so many other passionate students the ECenter has pushed me to keep this promise to myself – to do what I truly love."

3rd Prize winner Naomi Schneider '23, who is the first winner from the College of Health and Human Services added, "i2 Passport opened up so many opportunities and doors for me – beyond what’s possible just within my major."

Another first for the fall 2019 semester was FirstGen Prize winner Evan England '21. Evan is the first UNH staff member and full-time student to win a prize in i2 Passport. At the Award Ceremony, Evan said, "As a FirstGen student, I can tell you it can be a challenge to find the right social and financial support. Building connections and having access to resources such as i2Passport has been essential."

At the ECenter, we love to hear how our programs make a difference for students at all UNH colleges.

If you're a UNH student interested in participating in i2 Passport for the spring 2020 semester, sign up at . Students who signed up for fall 2019 don't need to register again for spring.

If you work at a university and you're interested in licensing i2 Passport for your school, learn more at .
Join Us for E-Club's Start-up and
High Growth Career Fair
The University of New Hampshire and the UNH Entrepreneurship Club (E-Club) are hosting UNH E-Club’s 2nd annual Start-Up & High-Growth Company Career Fair on Monday, March 9th    from 6 – 8 pm in Durham, NH. All UNH students and all regional start-up or high-growth companies are invited to participate!

It's the only event around where students who engage in innovation, entrepreneurship, and problem solving can mingle with start-ups and high-growth companies that can uniquely benefit from these skills. This will be for full-time, part-time, and paid internship positions.

Here is what you need to know:
  1. Set-up: Traditional career fair table set-up but with an energetic and fun atmosphere
  2. The Company Pitch: Each company will stand in front of students on stage to give their “1-minute elevator pitch”. Students will vote on the best pitch! Awards to be given. A FUN and good way to let students know about your company, what positions you are looking to hire, and why they should make sure to meet you!
  3. Networking: Students will then be free to meet with companies at the tables

W  e're pleased to co-sponsor this event with the UNH Entrepreneurship Club , and  Career and Professional Success (CaPS) .
Students interested in attending can register here . Companies interested in attending can register here .
Any event or registration questions can be directed to .
Students Learn to Pitch at the ECenter
Dylan Wheeler practices his pitch.
Jamie Nelson and Jessica Nelson chat with Todd Boucher.
At the Pitching Bootcamp at the ECenter, students learn not only how to transform a great idea and written summary into a successful pitch, but also how to present themselves in front of a crowd or panel. These are essential skills, regardless of career path.

The presenter for the evening was Todd Boucher '03, co-founder and partner at Hidden Collective and principal and founder at Leading Edge Design Group. Before the students got up to practice their own pitches, Todd addressed the making of a great performance: preparation, content, and presentation. He encouraged self awareness in order to project authenticity. One of the important parts of making the pitch, Todd said, is emphasizing the impact of the idea.

It's clear the students got a lot out of the Bootcamp. Remarked one student, "I couldn't have asked for a more fun and educational experience!" Thank you to Bottomline Technologies for making this event possible!
Paid Internship Opportunities
for Students at Start-ups
The ECenter's Paid Student Internship at Start-ups Program is back for another summer of pairing passionate UNH students with local start-ups. Thanks to the generosity of the Patten Family Foundation and UNH alumni, the number of available internships has been increased to ten!

As part of this program, UNH Durham students can get hands-on experience at a start-up company over the summer of 2020. The ECenter will provide the start-up with $4,000 to pay the student for the 10-week (40 hours a week) period.
The start-ups participating get the benefit of an intern without the financial commitment and the students participating learn about and understand the inner workings of a start-up and help in the building process.
We’ve had three successful years with this program over the summers of 2017, 2018, and 2019! Both students and start-ups can learn more and download the applications on our website . Students can also check out the start-ups available so far on the same page. Please email Senior Program Manager Heather MacNeill at with any questions or to apply.
Making a Difference: Makerspace Mentor Gives Back while Growing Skillset
“The Makerspace totally lured me to the ECenter,” says Nate Daigle ’21, one of the ECenter’s most engaged Makerspace mentors and member of the Makerspace's Board of Operations. As a Mechanical Engineering major in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, he has clocked in over 450 hours in the space. “Mentoring at the Makerspace is my favorite way to engage with my fellow Wildcats,” he remarks.  

And yet, he almost wasn’t a Wildcat. After being home schooled during his elementary years and graduating high school at the Academy for Science and Design in Nashua, NH (where he developed his passion for 3D printing), Nate had his sights set on a small school for his university experience. Luckily, the Granite Guarantee made UNH a viable option for him. “After finding out that I qualified for free tuition, I decided to check it out,” he explains. “However, it was important to me to have access to a Makerspace.”
Access, he has. As a mentor, Nate has 24-hour access to the ECenter’s Makerspace, housed within UNHInnovation at 21 Madbury Road in downtown Durham, NH. In addition to teaching his fellow students, and the occasional staff member, how to use the equipment, he also has the opportunity to work on his own projects using the Makerspace’s CNC mill, multiple 3D printers, laser cutter/engraver, and more. His access to the Makerspace, a space which is entirely donor-funded by friends of the ECenter and the Patten Family Foundation, has allowed him to independently develop his design and prototyping skills, while giving back to the UNH community in his own way. In addition to mentoring students, he also uses the skills he has honed in the Makerspace to take on bespoke commissions, such as a commemorative beer tap handle to celebrate the launch of UNH’s 1866 beer, brewed in partnership with UNHInnovation, UNH Brewing Science Laboratory, and Tuckerman Brewing Company.

While much of his time is spent in the Makerspace, Nate has also engaged with the UNH ECenter’s programs and opportunities, like the i2 Passport TM Program, which offers students the opportunity to reduce their student debt load by participating in events related to ideas and innovation. He has also participated in the Maurice Prize, which encourages students to explore idea development without the fear of failing, focusing instead on what they learn during the process, as well as the Social Venture Innovation Challenge, a competition hosted by the Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise (CSIE).
Says Nate, “the ECenter has opened the doors for me to several collaborative engineering/design opportunities. These experiences allow me to engage in projects where I work with others to put into practice both my analytical and creative skills. I feel better equipped to take the next steps towards pursuing my ideas.”

“The ECenter has so many opportunities for engaging in idea creation and innovation that you are bound to find something to get excited about,” says Nate in closing, while offering his “huge thanks to anyone who has supported the Makerspace!”
Nominations Open for the UNH Alumni
Entrepreneur Hall of Fame 2020
Applications are now being accepted for the 2020 UNH Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.

In 2018, UNH received a generous gift from an anonymous donor to establish the UNH Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame, housed within UNH’s Entrepreneurship Center, to celebrate the innovation and entrepreneurship that has been in the DNA of UNH students and alumni since the beginning. So far, ten alumni have been inducted into the Hall of Fame over the past two years.

If you're a UNH alum who would like to be considered for the Hall of Fame, or if you know a UNH alum deserve of recognition, submit the nomination by June 1, 2020. Self nominations are encouraged!
The 2019 inductees with President Dean and Ian Grant
The UNH Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame selection is based upon alumni who (a) have achieved entrepreneurial success with ventures as a founder, co-founder, or owner, and (b) have given back to the community in a meaningful way. The definition of “ventures” includes economic or social value in for-profit and non-profit entities. The 2020 award ceremony and induction will take place on October 2, 2020.* The inductees are also expected to engage with students at the ECenter during a roundtable discussion prior to the ceremony.
UNH Students Reimagine the
Office Park with The Kane Company
This fall, we hosted a very different kind of hackathon/ideathon, where event sponsor and ECenter corporate partner, The Kane Company, presented the student participants with a unique problem to solve: "How would they reimagine the traditional office park for young professionals?" Over the following 24 hours, the students embraced the challenge with gusto and came back together in the final hour to present their impressive and innovative ideas. Students were encouraged to explore not only practical design elements, but also image big, crazy ideas!

Grand Prize $2,000 Winning Team
Chris Hollis '22 & Jessica Nelson '21 
Ideas included: Entry signage with waterfall landscape, courtyard connecting building with native plants, man-made pond for summer activities and winter activities, CSA house for local fruits/veggies and a crazy, big idea of an indoor mixed-use ski area with roof-top bar. 
$750 Winning Teams
Jana Bushway '20 & Olivia Bessemer '21
Ideas included: Treehouse offices with conference rooms and decks in wooded areas and an environmentally-focused logo for the park.
TJ Evarts '20, Max Miller '20, & Francesco Mikulis-Borsoi '20
Ideas included: A unified campus connecting buildings with art-filled walkways and parking on the outside, creatively-named buildings, and high impact signage.

We're excited to see which ideas The Kane Company implements in its Portsmouth office park!
Left to right: Chris Hollis, Jessica Nelson, and The Kane Company's Jacquelyn Grinnell, Stacey Abel, and Scott Decost 
Left to right: Max Miller, Francesco Mikulis-Borsoi, TJ Evarts, Jana Bushway, Olivia Bessemer, and The Kane Company's Jacquelyn Grinnell, Stacey Abel, and Scott Decost 
Success at the Social Venture Innovation
Challenge for ECenter Students
From left to right: Ian Grant, Haley Burns, Cameron Horack, Chris Hollis, Marisa Rafal, Megan Estes, and Kendra Bostick.
This past fall, Executive Director Ian Grant coached a fantastic group of UNH undergraduate and graduate students on their ideas and presentations for the  2019 Social Venture Innovation Challenge, hosted by the  Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise. Read on to learn more about the students and their ideas.

Helping students succeed with their ideas is one of the ECenter's favorite pursuits!

1st Place - Student Track
Kendra Bostick ’23, Education (Ph.D.)
Kendra's idea, Transform Classrooms with Kikori, is an easy-to-use digital platform that helps educators improve their students' social, emotional, and academic outcomes with experiential education activities aligned with curriculum, training, and impact measurement tools. "The ECenter has been an incredible support in my journey as an entrepreneur.  As someone lacking business experience, Ian Grant has readily supported and encouraged me in a number of areas.  This has allowed us to refine our message and apply for and win the Social Venture Application. He is also an incredible resource for other grants and opportunities including the NSF
I-Corps Program and potential summer programming," said Kendra. Watch Kendra's submission video here .
2nd Place - Student Track
Chris Hollis '22, Undeclared
Chris is working on Ambrosia Fabrics, developing nontoxic and sustainable performance fabrics for furniture that are made from hemp and bamboo. Watch Chris' SVIC submission video here.

3rd Place - Student Track
Marisa Rafal '19, '20G, Master of Public Policy
Marisa started the NH Toy Library Network, a NH college-student-run initiative to support children's equitable access to toys, decrease waste, and reduce college-to-community siloing. Pictured above with Marisa is invaluable teammate Megan Estes. "Working with the ECenter was vital. They gave multiple 1:1 practice sessions, all with expert insights that really made me feel so much better equipped for competition day. I am very grateful for all the support the ECenter has given the NHTLN, and I'm honored to have had the chance to participate in SVIC," said Marisa. Watch Marisa's submission video here .

1st Place - Community Track
Haley Burns ’20, Business Entrepreneurship
Haley's idea, V'ice Haiti, is a Social Venture in Haiti that delivers affordable vitamin supplementation to the people who need it most by employing Haitian youth and mothers as micro-franchisees. Watch Haley's submission video here .
Save the Date to Support
the 603 Challenge
Rise to the Challenge!
The  603 Challenge  starts Friday, April 3, 2020 and ends on April 7th. Please mark your calendar to help support the nationally-recognized UNH Entrepreneurship Center! Every dollar helps support our 100% donor-funded programs. You don't have to be a UNH alum to give!

The generosity of friends of the ECenter, like you, helps students succeed. As part of the ECenter community, you'll receive an email from us when the 603 Challenge has launched, along with a link to the donation page. If you would like a personal email or text reminder when the 603 Challenge launches, please email Associate Program Manager Allison Bell at .

Thank you!
Premier Level Sponsor
Venture Level Sponsors
Partner Level Sponsor
Supporter Level Sponsors
W.P. Carey Foundation
Goddard Technologies
Fishnet Media
Interested in being a Corporate Sponsor? Learn more here.
Ian Grant
Executive Director
(603) 862-5470
Heather MacNeill
Senior Program Manager
(603) 862-4959
Allison Bell
Associate Program Manager
(603) 862-0349