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.
September 2019 Newsletter
The Latest Happenings from the ECenter
The ECenter is entering its 8th semester helping students create ideas, ventures, and develop an entrepreneurial mindset. We often read about “tipping points,” and the start of this fall semester—within the first 2 weeks—it sure seems like a tipping point. The ECenter is buzzing like never before. On the heels of an amazing summer of student engagement, with our Summer Seed Grant students developing their own ideas here at the ECenter and our Internship at Start-Ups students working in the trenches with CEOs and founders, we're not slowing down a bit.  

First, we welcomed the second cohort of incoming first-year students in the Idea & Innovation Society—those are students who started a company, non-profit or were active in innovation in high school. Second, we have already had more students than ever find their way to the ECenter, for the first time, bubbling with a range of ideas they want help with. #ECenterTippingPoint
It is inspiring and exciting to know that what we do, with the help of so many mentors, donors, speakers, and facilitators, is not only having #ECenterImpact, but that students now have the knowledge and confidence to know where to come to move their ideas forward. 

One of UNH’s many hidden secrets seems now to be less of a secret! So many new faces, with new energy, are providing a shared camaraderie, passion, and belief as to what is possible. Lots of great new things are ahead for this semester and we can’t wait to watch them all unfold and see what blossoms.
Ian Grant
Executive Director, ECenter
UNH Student Entrepreneur Spotlight
When Christin Badylak-Reals first discovered the ECenter, her reaction was, “wow, this is a place I want to be.” She was nominated to the University Innovation Fellows program in 2015 by her mechanical engineering advisor and quickly found a home with like-minded students. Said Christin, “the ECenter is the Switzerland of UNH, where students are invited to venture beyond the silos of their major or college to apply their knowledge to explore, create, and develop something new. I engaged in every possible program.”

And engage, she did. Throughout her time at UNH, Christin participated in i2 Passport, the Makerspace, UNH and national competitions, coaching, speaker series, bootcamps, and more. She explains, “The ECenter gave me the opportunity to make the most out of my education by developing real-world skills that you just can’t learn in the classroom. I am a more skilled and effective engineer and honestly, a more valuable young professional because of the ECenter.”
It didn’t take long for Christin to apply the real-world skills she developed at the ECenter and launch her own start-up. “VELV was my first start-up company. It began out of a frustration with current dating platforms and a place of pain for survivors of dating sexual violence,” she said. “I called Ian Grant in June of 2018 when I was on a lunch break at my internship. He suggested I start with customer discovery to further develop my idea. The rest is history.”

By “history,” Christin means that she and her co-founders, Jessica Lavallee ’19 and Matt Ross ’19, built on the skills and experiences they developed at the ECenter and took the idea from inception all the way to the national Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs at Smith College. “We were the first team from UNH to apply, let alone go to the finals,” she said. “We were thrilled.”

After hours of tireless preparation, a morning spent tabling, and short three minutes pitching their start-up, the team placed in the semi-finals. “Placing in the competition was an honor. A national competition like Draper has you up against start-ups that already have sales and revenue. VELV was still in the idea stage at the time of the competition, so placing speaks volumes to the passion the judges had for our idea and the huge potential they saw in it.” The Draper Competition judges weren’t the only ones to see potential in VELV. Less than a month later, she and the team took first place at Paul College’s Holloway Prize Competition. 

Christin graduated in May 2019 and started a position at Dell Technologies a month later. “Without the ECenter it’s unlikely I would have developed the skills that helped land my job as a Pre-Sales System Engineer.” As she starts her career at a global company, she looks back on the long hours and late nights she spent developing her ideas as a student, summing it up by saying, “the ECenter gave me the tools and helped me develop the skills to initiate cultural change through entrepreneurial activism." 
Updates from the Summer Seed Grant Winners
Before we dive into the updates on our Summer Seed Grant 2019 start-ups, let's refresh on the program itself. Funded by Pierce Atwood LLP, the Summer Seed Grant allows students to focus full time attention on their venture(s) and receive grant payments to do so in lieu of having to find a summer job. They work out of UNHInnovation's Cube x Coworking Space full-time (except when out doing customer discovery) and have weekly meetings with mentor Ian Grant. This was the fifth year of the program. We had a great summer with Steven Schnobrich '21 and Marisa Rafal '19 (current grad student). Read on for updates!
Since the end of the Summer Seed Grant, Steven Schnobrich '21 has been hard at work finalizing the last few pieces of Bogey Bag production. Thanks to Fishnet Media and Pierce Atwood, they have finalized their packaging design and have officially signed off to create their legal entity, Bogey Bag, LLC. Along with this work, Steven has also begun working with two UNH students, Peyton Oakes '21 and Nathan Daigle '21, who are helping design a new clamp to attach to the golf cart. Bogey Bag is closing in on launching in the coming months – stay tuned!
Bogey Bag
A Bogey Bag updated with the start-up logo.
For Marisa Rafal '19 and the NH Toy Library Network, the weeks since the Summer Seed Grant have been busy! Dover Public Library hosted a Grand Opening "Family Play Day Celebration" for seacoast children, parents, and guardians in honor of their new collaboration with the NH Toy Library Network. This included Guessing Jar Games, a "Will it Float?" experiment table, and professional face painting from the local and talented Pretty Aud Face Paint. Check out @nhtoylibrary on Instagram to see more photos from the Celebration or visit  for more information.
NH Toy Library Network
Marisa Rafal at Dover Celebration. Photo credit: UNH Today
Idea & Innovation Society Kicks-off Year Two
We're excited to introduce our second cohort of the Idea & Innovation Society! These creative, ambitious freshmen from all across campus were selected to join the Society based on their engagement with ideas, innovation, and entrepreneurship in high school. On August 29th we got all the new Society members together to make connections, hear from Society students in the first cohort, eat pizza, and problem solve.
Here are just a few things these new Wildcats were up to in high school:
  • Brendan Bunnell (Paul College) from Center Harbor, NH started Small Town Flags, LLC, making handcrafted wooden flags from oak and pine.
  • Brennan Dwyer (COLA) from Durham, NH started a chapter of Future Business Leaders of America at his high school.
  • Grace Higgins (COLSA) from Windham, NH started Higgins Studios (private piano teaching studio) and Just A Veg (health and wellness social platform).
  • Bryan McKenney (CEPS) from Newmarket, NH started Endling Entertainment, a game company, with his brother.

We can't wait to see what their  #ECenterImpact  will be at UNH and in the community!
Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame
2019 Inductees Announced
We're just a few weeks away from inducting the second class of alumni entrepreneurs into the Hall of Fame. The Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame award recognizes a graduate who has achieved entrepreneurial success with ventures they have founded, co-founded, or own and who have given back to the community in a meaningful way. We're excited to announce the 2019 inductees are:

Christine Dodson '88
Co-Founder & COO
Mamava, Inc

Joe Faro '91
Chief Food Taster 
Tuscan Brands, LLC

Thomas Hazel '95
Founder, CTO & Chief Scientist

Les Hiscoe '87
Shawmut Design and Construction

Harry S. Patten '58
Chairman of the Board & CEO
National Land Partners, LLC

With just a few spots left for the induction ceremony and reception taking place on Friday, October 4th, we're extending the deadline to RSVP to September 26th. If you'd like to attend, please register here.

Student Summer Showcase
After three years of running two summer programs concurrently - the Summer Seed Grant (sponsored by Pierce Atwood LLP) and Paid Student Internship at Start-ups Program (sponsored by the Patten Family Foundation) - we finally brought them together for a Student Summer Showcase at the ECenter on August 6th. We had five students from the Internship Program, and the two students from the Summer Seed Grant Program showing the audience what #ECenterImpact is all about. The students who presented about their summer experiences were:

  • DJ Beasley '21 | Sleepbox Intern
  • Alex Bunnell '20 | UniteGPS Intern
  • Jessie DeLouis '21 | YouScheduler Intern
  • Jon Dryja '20 | Twin Barns Brewing Intern
  • Annie Henry '20 | Ourly Intern
  • Jacob Lenef '22 | SplitFit Intern
  • Marisa Rafal '19 | NH Toy Library Network
  • Steven Schnobrich '21 | Bogey Bag

We're thrilled so many ECenter supporters could join us for the Showcase. If you missed the Showcase, or if you were there and you want to relive it, check out the videos on our website .
From left to right, Jessie DeLouis, Jacob Lenef, DJ Beasley, and Alex Bunnell
From left to right, Marisa Rafal and Steven Schnobrich
Thank You to our Generous Corporate Sponsors
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
Program Manager
(603) 862-4959
Allison Bell
Associate Program Manager
(603) 862-0349