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.
November 2019 Newsletter
The Latest Happenings from the ECenter
As we head into the end of the semester and the time of year to give thanks and appreciate all that has happened, I wanted to say how appreciative we are of all of you and your interest and support of the ECenter and the amazing UNH students who call the ECenter home. Every day we have so much fun working with students from all over campus who have an idea they want to bring to life. It is hard to explain the contagious energy it creates and the satisfaction felt by the whole ECenter team—and by proxy, you!

As you will read, we had an amazing UNH Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame induction day and ceremony. We don’t get awestruck very often, but hearing the stories and understanding the passion behind what each alum built was remarkable.

Providing the tools for students to become better problem solvers does not happen in one evening at one event. It is a process over time and it happens with the dedicated help of so many UNH alumni and community entrepreneurs.

Thank you to Tyler Goodwin ‘12 and Alex Vandermark for sharing insights into their journey—and problem solving tactics (see more below). Thank you to Todd Boucher ‘03 for his always inspirational “Pitching Bootcamp” that helped a packed room of students understand the key aspects to successful presentations. Below you will read many other stories of programs hosted at the ECenter this fall that give each student one more valuable tool in their innovative toolbox.
We have been working for months with five of the student teams/companies that made the finals of the Social Venture Innovation Challenge (SVIC), hosted by the Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise. The five include, Kendra Bostick, Haley Burns, Chris Hollis, Marisa Rafal, and Cameron Horak. We are proud of their hard work and success. Respectively, these students won 1 st  place student track, 1 st  place community track, 2 nd  place student track, 3 rd  place student track, and top 8 finalist. For them, the competition isn’t the end game. SVIC is a step along the way as they work to launch and grow their ventures. More details on SVIC in our January issue.

In closing, we're asking for you to consider your end-year, tax deductible, financial support of the ECenter - $25, $250, $2,500. We rely on donors to support ALL of our programs. Every dollar goes directly to helping support student innovators. If you have been following our journey, you have seen the impact - the #ECenterImpact - first hand. Thank you for considering us a part of your philanthropy. You will see a link below, if you want to get your support in early!

Heather, Allison, and I wish you the best for Thanksgiving and the holidays ahead.
Ian Grant
Executive Director, ECenter
UNH Alumni Entrepreneurs Inducted into Hall of Fame
From left to right: President Dean, Thomas Hazel '95, Christine Dodson '88,
Les Hiscoe '87, Joe Faro '91, Harry Patten '58, and Ian Grant
October 4, 2019 marked an important occasion at the University of New Hampshire as we celebrated the second annual induction in the UNH Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is housed within the UNH ECenter and recognizes alumni who have achieved significant entrepreneurial success with ventures as founders, co-founders, or owners, while also giving back to their communities in a meaningful way. With over 10,000 entrepreneurs in UNH’s alumni ranks, it is not surprising that we received a record number of nominations and the selection process was highly competitive.

The 2019 inductees into the Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame are:
  • Christine Dodson ‘88, COO and Co-Founder, Mamava, Inc.
  • Joe Faro ’91, Chief Food Taster, Tuscan Brands, LLC
  • Thomas Hazel ’95, Founder, CTO and Chief Scientist, CHAOSSEARCH
  • Les Hiscoe ’87, CEO, Shawmut Design and Construction
  • Harry S. Patten ’58, Chairman of the Board and CEO, National Land Partners, LLC

In the afternoon, the inductees met with more than 25 innovative, entrepreneurial UNH students at the ECenter to share their stories and engage in a round table discussion. Students were encouraged to ask questions and seek advice on the issues they face in the development of their ideas and businesses. The insights shared by the inductees were hugely impactful to the students and the discussion was a highlight of the day for the inductees. Said one inductee, “The quality of ideas and students was so very impressive. I neither had the fortitude nor the resources of the ECenter during my undergraduate time here. I wish I did.”

Following the student discussion panel was the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Nearly 100 members of the UNH community filled Hamilton Smith Hall to hear from our alumni and celebrate at a reception following the ceremony. True to the innovative spirit of the award, inductees were tasked with a specific topic for their acceptance speeches. Rather than offering the traditional round of thanks, they instead had to outline a problem they see in the world and address the steps that UNH students and community members can take to solve it.
The speeches spanned a broad range of topics, with Christine addressing the challenges and inequality facing new parents returning to the workplace, Les discussing the decline in productivity stemming from construction being the second least digitized industry, and Thomas focusing on the all-encompassing energy problem – the cost, complexity, creation, and storage of energy – mused, “what could be more challenging? What could be more fun?”

In his concluding remarks, President Jim Dean said, “Today, the Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame invites us to honor these five inductees who exemplify not only the excellence of a UNH education, but also the remarkable things that our graduates can achieve with it.” He noted that, “Through their vision, their talent, and their hard work – and a lot of long hours – they create tremendous opportunities. Today, we honor them for showing the world what a UNH education makes possible.”

Following the induction ceremony, guests moved downstairs to the Hamilton Smith Great Hall, where they enjoyed a hosted reception, capping off a truly celebratory evening.

This year’s ceremony and celebration ushered in a significant change from last year. In 2018, the inaugural induction of the Hall of Fame was incorporated in UNHInnovation’s annual Innovators' Dinner. Now in the second year, the Hall of Fame celebrations were made independent to give an appropriate weight to the occasion and celebrate the momentous achievements of our alumni.

Nominations for the 2020 Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame are now open . We encourage you to nominate someone deserving of this recognition, and self-nominations are accepted. Biographies for the 2019 inductees and videos of the student discussion and induction ceremony are available on our website . Photos of the event can be viewed here .

Save the date for next year’s third annual induction as part of Homecoming on Friday, October 2, 2020!
The ECenter Took Over CEPS!
We tried something new this semester - completely "taking over" one of the UNH colleges in an effort to share information on the resources at the ECenter with all students in that college.

Fortunately, Dean Charles Zercher of the College for Engineering and Physical Sciences (CEPS) was fully on board with our plan (thanks, Dean Zercher!). Not only were we stationed in both of the Kingsbury Hall lobbies all day every day, we also visited CEPS classrooms, gave tours of the ECenter, and blanketed the lawn at each Kingsbury entrance with signs sharing information on our programs and highlighting CEPS students who have been positively impacted by the ECenter - #ECenterImpact.
We were thrilled with how many students, who hadn’t known more about the ECenter, were excited to engage in programs, coaching, and the Makerspace. We spoke with well over 200 hundred students in CEPS classes or who came up to our tables. The word is getting out and innovative students are excited to share and grow their ideas.
Idea Creation Bootcamps Teach Problem Solving
We had another great semester with our flagship Idea Creation Bootcamps, sponsored by Bottomline Technologies . More students attended than ever before! At the first Bootcamp on September 30th, the group was led by Alexandra Suarez, a facilitator and trainer focused on innovation and human-centric research and insights. Alexandra came all the way from Puerto Rico to share her expertise with UNH. The goal of the evening was for students to:
  • experience mindsets for creativity growth
  • identify what can build or hinder creativity
  • explore different tools to increase creativity
  • act upon their ideas
"We're all born creative. We all have that, but along the way, something happens and we become less creative," said Alexandra. In order to get the students back to the creative mindset, Alexandra led the group in many exercises, such as a challenge with a coffee filter. Students were asked to come up with as many uses for a coffee filter (aside from filtering coffee) as they could. Another exercise was called "Yes, And," in which students kept building off of what each other was saying. Everyone left the event prepared to be more creative problem solvers! Check out the video here .

Our second Idea Creation Bootcamp of the semester on October 8th was led by Marc Sedam, Associate Vice Provost of Innovation and New Ventures and the Managing Director at UNHInnovation. Marc is an expert in leading
groups through idea creation and problem solving. Nearly every Wednesday during the semester, Marc is leading a cohort of innovators through the process as part of the National Science Foundation's I-Corps program, for which UNH is a site. At the Idea Creation Bootcamp, Marc tasked the students with coming up with problems they see at UNH, narrowing them down, and then coming up with solutions. It was a very productive evening! Thank you to Bottomline Technologies for making these events possible!
All About the Entrepreneurship Club
Wildcat Tank winners left to right: Jaiden Evarts '21, Christian Hollis '22, Jamie Nelson '19, & Jessica Nelson '21
Dylan Wheeler '19 (standing) talks with other students who are participating in the Entrepreneurs Game of Life
The UNH Entrepreneurship Club (E-Club) calls the ECenter home and Ian Grant (ECenter Executive Director) its Advisor. Sponsored by The Patten Family Foundation, E-Club has lived at the ECenter for almost four years. In that time, E-Club has grown its programming to include fun events and speakers. “The E-Club was founded almost 5 years ago due to the vision of Paul College’s Assistant Professor, Andrew Earle. Since the small group of six students back then, it has grown to over 50 students who active members. The student-directed club looks to encourage students who share the same interest and passion in self-determination though entrepreneurship.” E-Club's student leadership team is made up of seven students headed up by President TJ Evarts '19 and Vice-President Jack Potvin '22. You might recognize TJ as the founder of SMARTwheel, which placed 2nd with a $40,000 prize at e-Fest earlier this year and was selected for one of the ECenter's Summer Seed Grant spots in the summer of 2018.

TJ and the E-Club Board plan active workshop meetings for every Monday during the semester, and an occasional external field-trip event. This semester, E-Club hosted their second annual Wildcat Tank, their version of  Shark Tank . The prizes in Wildcat Tank were made possible by The Patten Family Foundation and the Maurice Prize for Innovation/J. Alfred Maurice. E-Club also hosted the Entrepreneurs Game of Life, which lets students make decisions as entrepreneurs without having to leave the ECenter.   "The speakers this semester, including UNH alumni founders of the beverage company NOCA, have been amazing," said President TJ Evarts. "They shared great insights into the start-up world and provided us with unique guidance and advice for our own start-ups."

Even more is in store for E-Club next semester, so stay tuned! In the meantime, check out E-Club's website .
Fall Speaker Series: True Stories Behind
The Juicery, 360 Intel, and More
We were pleased to welcome Tyler Goodwin ‘12 (CEO of 360 Intel) and Alex Vandermark (owner of The Juicery) to the ECenter for fall semester Start-up Speaker Series, sponsored by Lake Street Advisors . These two entrepreneurs from two different industries shared their journeys with the enthralled group of students in attendance.

When asked what his approach to expansion at The Juicery was, Alex explained, “I didn’t take an aggressive approach to expanding. I wanted to know it would be a home run. I feared failure, for sure. I would look through everything, all the different demographics for the area, the traffic. I’d sit outside the space and observe the traffic patterns, things like that.” Fearing failure is a common theme in entrepreneurship. At the ECenter, we endeavor to teach students failure is okay and is naturally part of the building process.
Tyler got his start in the family business, working for his dad, Eric Goodwin. When moderator Jerry Howard asked Tyler what the hardest part of joining a family business was, Tyler was quick to respond. “Definitely the perception people have. I started at the bottom, had the same pay and expectations that everybody else did, but no matter, what you’re always going to have folks who think that you’re going to have things handed to you. In my experience, there was more pressure in that environment because I didn’t want to fail and I didn’t want to put my dad in a situation where he had to justify my existence in the company. I wanted to make sure that he could be proud of what I was bringing to the table.” Tyler worked his way up through the company and is now CEO!

Check out the video from the event to hear the great stories for yourself! Thank you, Lake Street Advisors, for making the Speaker Series possible!
ECenter Annual Report Available
Extra, extra! Read all about it!
Our 2018 - 2019 Annual Report is out! It's a comprehensive retrospective which includes updates on all our donor-funded programs and stories highlighting what innovative UNH students have been up to lately. We're very proud of everything we accomplished in the 2018 - 2019 academic year, along with the students, and we want to share it with you!

If you'd like to request a copy of the Annual Report, please send us your information in this webform .

Thanks for your interest in the ECenter!
Please consider a year-end donation to the ECenter.

$25, $100, $500, $1,000... every dollar has a big impact.
Make a tax deductible gift below.
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