Coleman Fellow Teaches Entrepreneurship in Advertising

8392a843b62890f212b14f22_425x254This spring, Coleman Fellow Dr. Matt Ragas, Asssistant Professor in DePaul’s College of Communication, taught an undergraduate Public Relations class focused on entrepreneurship in advertising. In collaboration with TechNexus, the Public Relations & Advertising Entrepreprenurs (PRAD 373) class acted as consultants working with Chicago technology and startup companies at TechNexus to develop unique public relations, advertising and marketing ideas to help grow the entrepreneur’s businesses.

Students in this class learned about the risks and rewards of entrepreneurship from a public relations and advertising perspective, and learned the story of a Chicago entrepreneur and startup company. The class, divided into 11 teams, worked with 11 startup companies. At the close of the quarter, each student team presented their marketing and advertising strategies at TechNexus. Read more about their entrepreneurial experience on their class blog.

Pictured above is Dr. Matt Ragas (front left) and his class with Brendan Karp (back right) of TechNexus. Photo is taken by Perfect Cut Productions, a TechNexus tenant and partner.  

Startup Internship Program (SIP) Places 6 Students with 6 Startups


Thanks to a grant from the John E. and Jeanne T. Hughes Foundation, the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center is once again sponsoring DePaul undergraduate student internships at Chicago startups this summer. After a competitive interview process, 6 qualified students were selected from a pool of 30 student applicants. The selected students reviewed applications from 36 startup organizations to determine where they would work for 125 hours over 12 weeks of the summer.

Sophomore Jasmine Farley, a Computer Science/Software Engineering major, will work for FanPay, a crowdfunding website helping college athletes earn an education.

Taylor Jennings, a DePaul Junior double-majoring in Business/Hospitality Leadership and Marketing, will intern at Chicago Foodseum, the first nonprofit food museum.

Junior Lena Newkold, a Management/Entrepreneurship major with a minor in Studio Art, will work at Meliora K, a sustainable cleaning products company.

Omar Ortiz (pictured bottom), a DePaul sophomore double-majoring in Marketing and Finance, will intern at Levi Baer Consulting, LLC, a consulting company that brings teams and organizations to new levels of awareness, cohesion, and productivity.

Senior Management/Entrepreneurship major, Alyssa Prince, will intern at Kannatopia, a social media company focused on connecting the cannabis industry.

Annie Schmittgens (pictured top), a junior majoring in Management/Entrepreneurship with a minor in Studio Art, will intern at Spare to Share, an online private sharing network within residential buildings.

Congratulations to our SIP student interns! Look for updates on their summer experiences at Chicago startups in upcoming issues of On the Radar and on


New Expanded Coleman Center to Open in 2016

DePaul startup lab renderingAs we look to the future of entrepreneurship at DePaul, the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center is pleased to announce significant progress in the continuing fundraising effort to create the new expanded home of the Center, Entrepreneurship Suite 7900. This 4,038-sq.ft. space, located on the 7th floor of the DePaul Center, will serve as the new home for the Coleman Center and a physical hub of entrepreneurial activity for the university. Additionally, the new Center will include a dedicated Startup Lab to provide a co-working space for students to work on new business ventures.The Startup Lab’s flexible structure — with movable worktables and chairs — will allow the space to be easily transformed from a co-working environment into an event space for workshops, seminars and other gatherings. An 18-person training room, a 10-person conference room and private advising room will also be housed in the space.Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, this new home of the Coleman Center will bring together co-working space, the Center’s administrative offices, advisors and training to support student entrepreneurs, faculty, staff and recent alumni. It will also host dynamic programs with members of the greater Chicago business community, many of whom will serve as advisors, mentors and entrepreneurs-in-residence.
This capital project is scheduled to be completed in 2016, with more information on construction progress and the grand opening to follow.

Startup Internship Program (SIP) Reflections

b5c68f9a1e60726adc70c859_425x283This summer the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center is sponsoring six student internships at premier Chicago startups. DePaul undergraduate students — Jasmine Farley, Taylor Jennings, Lena Newkold, Omar Ortiz, Alyssa Prince and Annie Schmittgens — are each working a total of 125 hours at their startups throughout the summer.


We have checked in with both the students and the startups about the internship process and received great feedback from all parties. In addition to bringing entrepreneurial energy to the companies, the startups appreciate the strong organization skills the students bring to their respective companies.


They have expressed gratitude for the talented student interns who are helping them achieve significant progress with their ventures.The students enjoy the experience of having great autonomy in implementing their ideas, and are making a lasting impact on the companies. They have taken on roles developing market research and competitive analysis, creating marketing campaigns and developing promotional media materials. They also have launched creative sales strategies to help grow their respective startups.


These six DePaul student interns will continue working at their  startups through the beginning of August. Upon the completion of their internships, we will be posting their reflections of their experience. To learn more about our Startup Internship Program, visit

DePaul Student Entrepreneur Award Winners

DePaul’s Launch DePaul New Venture Competition aims to give student companies the initial support they need to “launch” or continue into grow a successful company. Since the Launch DePaul 2014 competition, two of the winning companies have gone on to win other venture competitions this spring.


Photo submitted by Dr. Patrick J. Murphy

Under the mentorship of Dr. Patrick J. Murphy (left photo, first from right), DePaul MBA student Elizabeth Ames (second from left) and her co-founder/sister Melissa Ames (third from right) won first place at Loyola University’s 3rd annual Quinlan Social Enterprise Competition on April 11th. The team, pictured above with Loyola Professor Mike Welch, recevied a $5,000 prize. Out of many applicants, they competed against finalist teams from Chicago-area universities (Northwestern, University of Chicago, UIC/Loyola, SIU and DePaul). Their venture, EarlyVention, is a one-step ordering process for effective tools that help a family start an early intervention program for a child diagnosed with autism. The judges and audience were impressed by EarlyVention’s innovative business model that integrates social mission and operations, and also by its core product: a cognitive development tool kit for parents of children with autism.

The same weekend in April, DePaul sophomore, Bianca Perry, and her company Bbands, took First Place in the Elevator Pitch division at TCU’s Values & Ventures Business Plan Competition in Fort Worth, Texas (right photo). In addition, BBands was one of three companies recognized with an additional award new to the competition this year, the Ripple Effect Award (named for the impact that one woman can have on the world). In all, she brought home $1500, valuable mentoring advice, and lots of “hardware”.


Photo submitted by Molly Haigh

Bianca was competing against undergraduate teams from 49 different universities, including 5 international entrants. Her company designs sports headbands that display an encouraging tagline and message of inspiration to young women. She employs disadvantaged women to sew the headbands, and is creating a virtual community to connect her young female customers and offer them mutual support through role models and influencers.

We’re proud of our DePaul student teams who have continued to grow their successful companies and make a difference in the entrepreneurial community.

Workshops Attract 250 Participants

IMG_96791Throughout the 2014-2015 academic year, the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center held Startup Advising Workshops three times each month, attracting a total of 250 participants. Startup 101 and Marketing for Startups were held each month, and the third workshop rotated monthly with topics such as Legal Basics, Money Basics, HR: Building Your Team and Sales Basics.

We would like to thank everyone who made these workshops a success in continuing to help in providing DePaul students, faculty, and alumni, as well as the broader Chicago business community with real-world guidance in starting or growing a business. We greatly appreciate our more than 250 workshop attendees through the academic year. A very special thank you to our workshop speakers: Terri Lonier, Mandy Terc, Eugene Freghetto, Cynthia Williams, LaShon Anthony, Mason Cole, Lori Igleski, Bob Achettu, Kristen Lampert, Mason Cole, Katherine Kim, Al Kutchins, Charlie Drehmer, and Lamont Black.

We are delighted to announce that Startup Advising Workshops will begin again in the Fall Quarter of the 2015-2016 academic year. In consideration of the many suggested topics for our next set of workshops, we will focus on new themes such as Social Media, Networking, and VC Basics.


Are You an Entrepreneurial DePaul Alumni or Recent Grad?

success sign

While current students may be leaving the classroom and becoming DePaul alumni, the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center welcomes alumni to all of our events and services.

Are you an entrepreneurial DePaul alumnus who has started or are in the process of starting a new venture? If so, we want to make you famous! We would like to feature you and your entrepreneurial story on the Center’s website,, and on our social media platforms. If you would like to be featured or have news to share, please email

Launch DePaul 2015 Awards Night

IMG_24211From cross-training for horses to an elliptical conversion kit for bikes, the businesses presented on at the Launch DePaul 2015 Awards Night were anything but ordinary.

At the Launch DePaul Awards Night on May 5th, six final teams pitched their new ventures to a judging panel composed of four distinguished entrepreneurs from the Chicago business community. All competed for a prize pool of $17,000 and in-kind professional services. Attendees also selected two Audience Choice Award winners by voting with blue chips in the respective teams’ boxes.

Joining us as VIP judges were Seth Kravitz, Co-Founder of Technori; Maura O’Hara, Executive Director of Illinois Venture Capital Association; John Pletz, Senior Reporter – Technology of Crain’s Chicago Business; and Kip Read, Senior VP – Commercial Banking of American Chartered Bank. Suzanne Nance, Emmy Award-winning Broadcaster and Host of 98.7FM WFMT Chicago served as our Honorary Emcee for the evening. 

In the Undergraduate Division, the judges awarded the $4,000 first prize to Elizabeth Hakimi and her company, UpRide, a bicycle-to-elliptical conversion kit. The $2,500 second prize was awarded to AxeCrate, a subscription box of items for guitarists founded by Ryan Siepka. Kidsband, a wearable that monitors a child’s health and location founded by Jenny Fuerte, received the third prize of $1,000.

In the Graduate Division, the judges awarded the $4,000 first prize to Horse Pilates, founded by Sue Nicole Susenburger, an online service that offers cross-training instruction for horses. The $2,500 second prize was awarded to Yanqin Yang and her company, LingoStone, a website/app for learning English with a built-in marketing tool for companies seeking to connect with Chinese consumers. Smart Insurance Saver, the Priceline for car insurance founded by Syed Hussain, received the third prize of $1,000.

One team in each division received an Audience Choice Award of $1,000. The Audience Choice Award winning teams were UpRide (Elizabeth Hakimi) in the Undergraduate Division and LingoStone (Yanqin Yang) in the Graduate Division.

Launch DePaul 2015 Thanks You

The Coleman Entrepreneurship Center thanks and congratulates all who participated in making this year’s Launch DePaul New Venture Competition and Awards Night a great success. 

Thanks to our first round judges for helping us choose the six Launch DePaul finalists: Bob Achettu, La’Shon Anthony, Kristin Barrett, Brian Bauer, Tim Cole, Rania El-Sorrogy, Glenn Gottfried, Aksh Gupta, Lori Igleski, Scott Issen, Greg Jaros, Ron Kirschner, John Lump, Drew Marticke, Tricia Meyer, Tony Mirchandani, RJ Pahura, Rob Pasquesi, Matt Ragas, Jennifer Rosen, Pat Sandercock, Greg Silich, Katie Sowa, Kevin Turner, Harold Welsch, Alex White, and Cynthia Williams.
We particularly appreciate our VIP judges for the Launch DePaul Awards Night: Seth Kravitz, Co-Founder of Technori; Maura O’Hara, Executive Director of Illinois Venture Capital Association; John Pletz, Senior Reporter – Technology of Crain’s Chicago Business; and Kip Read, Senior VP – Commercial Banking of American Chartered Bank. We also acknowledge our Honorary Emcee, Suzanne Nance, Emmy Award-winning Broadcaster and Host of 98.7FM WFMT Chicago

Thank you to all of the DePaul students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the Chicago entrepreneurial community who gathered on May 5, 2015 for the Launch DePaul Awards Night.Thanks, too, to Flowers for Dreams for providing beautiful flowers for the evening. We also extend our appreciation to the  donors of in-kind professional services: Cynthia Willams of Ideation Zone, Grind LaSalle, and the Coleman Circle.Finally, a very special thank you to our Launch DePaul 2015 sponsors: Accounting firm Kutchins, Robbins & Diamond (Gold) social talent recruiter QUEsocial (Silver), Chicago coworking community Grind (Bronze) and our media sponsor, Crain’s Chicago Business.In case you missed it, check out the picture gallery from the Launch DePaul Awards Night event.


Launch DePaul Finalists Announced!

Launch DePaul.
After a competitive first round of judging for Launch DePaul 2015, our judges have selected six finalist teams to participate at the Launch DePaul Awards Night on May 5th, 2015.

The six final teams who will be presenting their startup ventures in the final round of the competition are (in alphabetical order):

Horse Pilates
Smart Insurance Saver


At the Awards Night event, each team will present its venture to the VIP judges and the audience in a “Shark Tank” format. Once the six final teams present their ventures, the scores of the VIP judges will be tallied, and $15,000 in prizes will be awarded.

In addition, as an audience member, you will receive a stack of (DePaul blue!) poker chips upon arriving. After hearing the six teams present, each attendee will vote with their poker chips to determine two $1,000 Audience Choice Awards.

Our VIP judges for the evening include: Seth Kravitz, Co-Founder of Technori; Maura O’Hara, Executive Director, Illinois Venture Capital Association; John Pletz, Senior Reporter – Technology, Crain’s Chicago Business; and Kip Read, Senior VP – Commercial Banking, American Chartered Bank.

Tickets for the Launch DePaul Awards Night are still available for purchase, but are running out quickly! Tickets are $45 through April 30th, and $55 after May 1st. Each ticket includes admission to the reception and event, as well as sponsorship of a DePaul student to attend. Students will be selected from the pool of emerging entrepreneurs who entered the Launch DePaul competition but did not make it to the final round, as well as those who contact Molly Haigh at to be added to the registration list.

Accounting firm Kutchins, Robbins & Diamond, social talent recruiter QUEsocial, and Chicago coworking community Grind are sponsors of the evening. Crain’s Chicago Business serves as media sponsor.

Join us on May 5th to celebrate Entrepreneurship at DePaul! To purchase tickets and find out more about Launch DePaul, please click here to watch our video.