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.
July 2018 Newsletter
The Latest Happenings from the ECenter
The “Dog Days of Summer”… well, there is no such thing at the ECenter! 

We are continuing to run hard building out new programs and improving existing programs as we prepare for the return of students on August 27th.

More details below, but I would be remiss not to thank you for your support of the ECenter through the #603Challenge. We had recording breaking achievements and success across the board. 

As of publication of the newsletter, we are 2/3 of the way through the Summer Seed Grant work with students from SMARTwheel and Drunk TXT. Great milestones have already been achieved as they work on their ideas, get customer feedback, and prepare to have their products to market by fall. 
We also would like to welcome a new member to the ECenter team, Beth Mayton, who will be the Associate Program Manager and working with Heather MacNeill and me to do all that we do here! 

There are mere days left to nominate a person for the UNH Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. Submissions are due by August 1. We are excited to induct the first alumni on October 4 th.

More impactful stories from students will be rolled out over the coming months, highlighting their successes. It is really exciting to see some of the original vision of the ECenter starting to unfold and the culture of ideas, innovation, and entrepreneurship starting to take hold on Campus.

Thank you!
Ian Grant
Executive Director, ECenter
Send Us Your Logo!
The ECenter is looking for logos of UNH alumni businesses to add to our logo wall!

More than 10,000 UNH alumni have founded, co-founded, or run their own companies. The alumni logo wall at the ECenter showcases and celebrates the innovation and entrepreneurship that has been in the DNA of UNH students and alumni since the beginning. It also inspires students visiting the ECenter to see what is possible when you have an idea and take the steps to move it forward into a successful venture.

If you're an alum and you'd like to have your logo added to the wall, please email the high resolution image to Program Manager Heather MacNeill at If you know an alum who might be interested in sharing his/her/their logo, please have them reach out!
Game Changing Entrepreneurs Return for Speaker Series III
From left to right, Todd Baker '91 (Baker Properties), Chris Webb '92 '01G (Newburyport Brewing Company),
John Bowen '83 (MediaBridge Capital Advisors), Tyler Wentworth '08 (UNH CaPS), and Ian Grant (UNH ECenter)
On April 23rd, we wrapped up our "Game Changers: Creating Change and Innovation from all Majors” Speaker Series, co-hosted by UNH Career and Professional Success (CaPS). This three-part series welcomed many UNH alums back to campus. If you couldn’t attend, here is what you missed. You can also watch the full video here on our YouTube page.
One game changer spent 20 years in the corporate world before pursuing his passion for beer. The second has been an entrepreneur since his teenage years. The third was a mechanical engineering major at UNH before founding a finance company. All are successful entrepreneurs. All graduated from college with different majors and prove innovators and entrepreneurs come from all academic backgrounds.

To start, Chri s Webb '92 '01G (psychology major) shared stories about his journey. Chris got his feet wet as an entrepreneur at UNH when he started a fraternity. After graduating, he worked for 20 years, making six figures, before quitting at 40 years old to start his own business. "I just didn't want to be the 40 year old guy driving into Boston working in a consulting firm. I wanted to have my own freedom," said Chris. Newburyport Brewing Company is now a top 10 beer in MA and top 250 in the country.
Next, Todd Baker '91 (business and political science major), discussed his unconventional professional path. After graduating during a recession, driving a van to Alaska, and then moving to Japan, Todd met a commercial real estate developer on a train who hired Todd into his business. After getting his MBA, Todd worked in finance, bought a pet supply distributorship, sold it, and went to work for one of his investors. His investor became a mentor and helped him get the experience to go out on his own. Said Todd, "If you can provide cash flow stable investments that have been tried and proven...people will invest in that." Todd's Baker Properties has now been around for 20 years and has done nearly 20 projects with a 100% success rate.
Finally, John Bowen '83 (mechanical engineering major) talked about how he went from engineer to entrepreneur. It wasn't until after he graduated from UNH that he realized he didn't want to be an engineer. He worked in IT sales and then went back to school for his MBA. After a move to investment banking, John and his business partner decided to form their o wn firm. "You have to be mentally prepared for that journey," said John, and not assume that it will go quick." Now 15 years old, MediaBridge has advised on over 50 mergers and acquisitions and private equity financings for industry leading companies in the media sector worldwide.

Chris, Todd, and John followed their passion and now love their work.
Other key take-aways shared with the audience and moderator Tyler Wentworth, Director of Marketing, Communications, and Engagement at Career and Professional Success, were:
  • Work for a small business before starting your small business.
  • Follow what interests you the most - a problem you're motivated to solve.
  • Test what you think.
  • Find the overlap between what you love, what you're good at, and how you'll get paid.
  • Figure out how to make a difference in the world.
  • Have a laser-focus on your industry.
  • Leverage up!
i2 Passport Winners for 2017-2018
Sponsored by Harry Patten '58, the innovative i2 Passport Program rewards students for engaging in ideas and entrepreneurship activities on campus with the chance to win $25,000 in cash prizes to help pay off student loans and tuition, with an additional focus on FirstGen students (first in family to attend college). i2P encourages students to start to explore and understand ideas, innovation, and entrepreneurship and how they might incorporate aspects into their personal and academic lives. This involvement is then rewarded in Passport Visa Stamps Credits and the chance to win prizes totaling $25,000.

This spring concluded the 3 rd semester of i2P. A record 418 students enrolled for both semesters. The fall semester overall winners were Ethan Towsley ’21 (CEPS), Jamie Nelson ’20 (Paul), and Ashley Floyd ’19 (COLSA), and the drawing winner of $1,000 was Zach Eliopoulos ’19 (CEPS). The spring semester winners included overall winner Dylan Wheeler ’20 (CEPS/COLA) and drawing winners Sierra Migneault ’19 (Paul), Ethan Towsley ’21 (CEPS), and FirstGen Award winner Emily Masse ‘20 (COLA). The full year winner was Dylan Wheeler ‘20, drawing winners were Sierra Migneault ‘19, Ethan Towsley ’21, and FirstGen Award winner Emily Masse ‘20 (COLA).
First $5,000 Maurice Prize Awarded
Susan  McDonough of UNH Advancement (left) with Joel Knounkou of ecoText (center) and Ian Grant (right)
Last year, the ECenter received $150,000 from Alfred J. Maurice ’44 to endow t he annual J. Dolores and Alfred P. Maurice Prize for Innovation (Maurice Prize). The Maurice Prize encourages and fosters innovation, creativity, originality, ingenuity, and resourcefulness in undergraduate students enrolled at the University of New Hampshire. The goal of the Maurice Prize is to encourage students to be daring and not to fear failure. Students should know that not achieving everything they set out to achieve is not a failure, but an invaluable learning experience. The Maurice Prize is different than many other awards. It is designed to encourage students to take the first steps to move their idea forward. It is judged on what the team learned in the process of the “idea into actions phase” and not necessarily a complete successful outcome at the time of judging. 

In April, we were proud to award the first $5,000 prize to Joel Nkounkou ’18 (CEPS) of ecoText. ecoText is looking to revolutionize the way students and professors engage with textbooks. They are the "Spotify" for college textbooks. Through their innovative technology and business model, they are developing an eco-System where the process of obtaining a textbook, and all the parties involved in that decision, are promoted to a main stream solution. ecoText is a company pioneering a new age in which technology, education, and eco-friendly consciousness join forces to create opportunity through increased affordability and replenished student engagement. With strong partnerships, experienced advisors and support behind the company in its early stages, ecoText is confident that it is going to help elevate the edTech world. Said Joel of his work with the ECenter, “The ECenter made the experience of being an entrepreneur inviting, fun, and rewarding. It provided tremendous mentorship, guidance, and opportunities to participate in competitions and events that I otherwise had no idea existed."
First Annual Start-up Career Fair
Looking for Start-up Companies to attend!

We're excited to be a part of UNH's first ever Start-up Career Fair, being hosted by Career and Professional Success (CaPS) in the spring of 2019! Tentatively scheduled for March 25th at UNH, start-ups from around New England will pitch their start-ups to students before the traditional meet and greet.

If you're a start-up interested in participating, reach out to Raina Sarvaiya, Director of Employer Relations at CaPS at
UNH Student Entrepreneur Spotlight
Francesco Mikulis-Borsoi, a rising junior in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (CEPS), has been involved at the ECenter since participating in one of our hackathons his freshman year. During his sophomore year, he and YouScheduler co-founder Kristian Comer (also a rising junior at CEPS), met regularly with Ian Grant for many coaching sessions. In the spring, Francesco and Kristian took their start-up to the Holloway Prize Competition at the Paul College of Business and Economics and won first place!

The ECenter recently caught up with Francesco to share more of his story.

About Francesco
I'm graduating in May 2020 with a degree in Computer Science. I'm involved in the Honors College and in all the competitions that occur in the ECenter. I love the hackathons because it allows me to meet other '"software-lovers," as well as compete with other students. Within UNH, I've been a teacher at the Math Center, worked as a Physics LA (Learning Assistant) and as a Computer Science UTA (Undergraduate Teaching Assistant).

Can you tell us more about the company and its mission?
YouScheduler was built from a personal pain point: Kristian and I agreed that there had to be a better way to schedule our courses. We personally spent at least five hours each semester preparing for registration, and imagined the amount of hours in which students experience frustration while creating their weekly (tentative) schedule. This frustration can become exponentially worse if the selected sections of the courses are all filled up, because most students don't prepare a second option for their selection! YouScheduler's mission is to enable students to instantly create a list of potential schedules that meet their personal needs! You take a look at YouScheduler from any device at We are currently investing our time trying to get UNH to be our first (paying) customer, which will empower us to further expand to other institutions!

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Personally, my mother was the one that inspired me to become an entrepreneur. Having grown up with a single mother in a managerial position of selling B2B (business to business) software, I have always aspired to impact the technological world as much as she has. One of my most important objectives in life is to be able to make my own hours. That said, I usually wake up before 6am every day, and try my best to make the most of every day, one step at a time. YouScheduler is the first opportunity for me to go the full length with a project, going on to develop a company around a service that solves a pain-point for students. This is also a crucial impact point that I want to make in my lifetime: use technology to empower people to focus on the things they love doing, automating the repetitive tasks that impact their lives.

What inspires you to innovate?
I consider my inspiration for innovation to be a self-fueling machine. At the core, each and every time I am able to successfully innovate, I re-use that energy to continue on my path. The real question then becomes "what inspired you the first time, and what about the plateaus?" The first time I was driven by my passion to try and impact the world around me. This aligned well with the variety of opportunities offered here at the University of New Hampshire, and I love attending the talks at the ECenter because they allow me to further my horizons and keep on aiming for a harder goal.

What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur today?
The spirit of an entrepreneur is composed of many different key aspects, ranging from knowledge to (correctly) dealing social interactions, yet possibly the most important skill is actually being able to pitch what motivates you at the core. Some people are hard to sell to, yet at the same time some products just aren't worth selling. The journeys that people experience in the startup world have surely one thing in common: energy, motivation and passion for a product. The positivity of these experiences vary wildly, and always remember that "Perfect people do not fight, do not lie, do not make mistakes and do not exist" - Aristotle.

Who has been the biggest influence in your work and life?
My mother has been my biggest influence in my work and life. She has always taught me that working hard is a minimum requirement to living a happy life, and I have always found her life lessons to be crucial for my development. While growing up, I lived in multiple countries and was fortunate to encounter people with vastly different opinions. Being exposed to different cultures empowered me to always try and understand their values, and in these, their common ground was hard work. Adults believe that students don't have a strong work ethic, and this exact controversy, in my opinion, has also been one of my most impactful motivators. I truly believe that my variety of experiences have led me to become the person I am today.

What does the future look like for you and your company?
Starting YouScheduler with Kristian Comer has been an amazing experience. Sometimes I remain amazed at the fact that we developed an idea into a fully-fledged product, working directly 1-to-1 with our consumers for instant feedback. We intend to offer our service at the University of New Hampshire, and work with other colleges to continue expanding our service. We have been in talks with a number of institutions in the surrounding area, and will hopefully deploy to our first six customers before July 2019. That is our personal goal, and we truly believe that with UNH's support, our expansion will become exponential!
YouScheduler's Kristian Comer (l) & Francesco Mikulis-Borsoi (r)
Winners of 2018 Holloway Prize & Coached at the ECenter
How has your experience with the Holloway Competition and working with Ian impacted your company?
The Holloway Competition was an incredible experience. When we heard about Holloway in February, we both knew that we wanted to compete with other entrepreneurs and pitch our idea! Neither Kristian or I had any business experience, and this competition really put us both in the mindset of understanding more than the "technological side" of things. Deciding to take the time and prepare the required documents for the initial phases was a decisive step in the development and pursuit of YouScheduler: we needed to have both a strong business plan and a product that could serve the market. We also knew that having an official pilot with UNH would have been a deal-breaker for us. With the Holloway deadlines coming up, student registration approaching fast and developing the product, Kristian and I had little time to waste; we connected even more tightly with Mr. Ian Grant, who had been coaching us since November last year, and started a the month grind. We also enrolled in NSF I-Corps, a 12-week lean launchpad course focused on customer discovery, and decided to get the most out of the experience. On top of this list of involvements, we decided to compete in UNH's Undergraduate Research Conference (URC)! Since February, Kristian and I were in the ECenter at least one day each week, and were dedicating two entire weekdays to YouScheduler and the competition preparations. I personally appreciate the ECenter because I can connect with other student entrepreneurs and hear about their latest innovation! There are also many resources available to students! Our presentation at the URC was very successful, and obtained first prize in the field of Computer Science Applications! Kristian and I then knew that Holloway was the "untamable beast." We were also enthusiastic about our pilot with UNH; over 3,400 unique users used YouScheduler between February 2018 and May 2018. We were thrilled to achieve this impact; in fact, these numbers correspond to a third of UNH's non-senior undergraduates. Concluding the semester by winning the Holloway Competition was also truly amazing. Kristian and I had practiced our pitch a minimum of 80 times, at the point where we were able to entirely recite our 10 minute exposition without the slideshow. We knew exactly what we wanted to communicate to the public, and had analyzed the misconceptions that could have arisen while explaining our product. This preparation and devotion led us to reveal our best qualities in front of the audience, and effectively transmit our vision.

Anything else we should know?
Since November of last year, Kristian and I have been working hard on understanding exactly how UNH can become a customer of YouScheduler. We conducted multiple meetings with Professors and Faculty members across UNH, trying to understand exactly how this service can benefit the University as a whole. After completing multiple rounds of customer discovery, the reasons became clear:
  1. Students can finally prepare multiple tentative schedules ahead of time, in a fraction of the time (students on average spend three hours creating their schedules, but with YouScheduler, they average six minutes, meaning that they save 96% of the time they previously dedicated).
  2. Advisors can prepare even more material for their advisees when they meet to discuss their schedule, and spend less time verifying the feasibility of a schedule. From the student registration analytics, we can in fact allow Universities to understand which classes are the most requested, which ones aren't being searched, and which courses are entirely conflicting!
  3. We can help with the University's distribution of students across sections! Our algorithms randomize section order to help with this issue, and will allow for less paper appeals of students trying to change their sections.
  4. Pre-registering freshman can become a much easier task: our estimates indicate that ten months of manpower is used every year to address the distribution of incoming students into different sections. Yet most importantly, one of their first experiences is registration. We allow Universities to showcase their course organization and drastically reduce stress on these incoming students.
  5. Kristian and I are actively searching for institutions in higher education that are interested in adopting YouScheduler! You can reach out to me at!
#603Challenge - Thank you!
We're so overwhelmed and grateful for the support we received during the 603 Challenge! Last year we had 22 donors and raised $2,200. This year, thanks to 135 donors, we raised over $8,000 before any matching or other bonuses.

Thanks to an anonymous donor, we received a $25,000 bonus because we got to 50 donors. The UNH Program with the highest number of donors received a $2,000 bonus - and that was us!

We started gunning for this bonus on the morning of the last day with 52 donors and in 7th place. By 6:00pm, we ZOOMED ahead to 1st place with a total of 135 donors. Never under estimate the determination of entrepreneurs! 
The core monies raised will go to fund the Summer Seed Grant (SSG). The SSG provides $3,500 to students as a stipend to work on their start-up ideas over the summer at the ECenter and receive mentoring on a daily/weekly basis.

Thank you to all who donated! We're excited to see what next year's 603 Challenge brings!
Ian Grant
Executive Director
(603) 862-5470

Peter T. Paul Entrepreneurship Center
21 Madbury Road, Suite 101
Durham, NH 03824
Heather MacNeill
Program Manager
(603) 862-4959

Peter T. Paul Entrepreneurship Center
21 Madbury Road, Suite 101
Durham, NH 03824

Beth Mayton
Associate Program Manager
(603) 862-1291

Peter T. Paul Entrepreneurship Center
21 Madbury Road, Suite 101
Durham, NH 03824