Nick Lazzaro ’23 Wins 40 Under 40 Award

Nick Lazzaro with friends and family

In recent news, Holy Cross has been excited to witness the achievements of one of its alumni, Nick Lazzaro, a member of the class of 2023. Nick has been making headlines in the entrepreneurial realm with his company, Nick’s On-Site Detailing. His journey from a student at Holy Cross to a successful business owner not only deserves applause but also offers valuable lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs within our community.

Nick’s recent recognition in the Worcester Business Journal’s esteemed 40 Under 40 awards ceremony is a testament to his dedication and innovation through Nick’s On-Site Detailing. This acknowledgment not only celebrates his achievements but also highlights his entrepreneurial spirit, which has set him apart in the business world.

During his time at Holy Cross, Nick actively engaged in the Ciocca Center Shark Tank Competition, an experience he considers pivotal in shaping his entrepreneurial path. Reflecting on this experience, Nick emphasizes the importance of effective pitching, noting how the competition provided him with a platform to refine his skills, receive valuable feedback, and gain confidence in presenting his ideas. “The shark tank competition was instrumental in my pitching skills development. It allowed me to learn from mistakes, receive feedback from alumni, and gain comfort in presenting,” Nick shared.

A key takeaway from Nick’s journey is his unwavering determination to seize opportunities and step out of his comfort zone. His decision to apply for the Worcester 40 Under 40 award underscores the significance of taking risks and putting oneself out there, ultimately leading to remarkable achievements. Nick also advises current Holy Cross students to embrace challenging coursework, believing it will equip them with the skills and resilience needed for future success.

Nick Lazzaro’s journey from Holy Cross student to a recipient of prestigious business awards is both inspiring and instructive. His story serves as a beacon of hope for budding entrepreneurs within the Holy Cross community, reminding us of the importance of perseverance, seizing opportunities, and embracing the journey towards our work. 

Written by Nico Corporon ’26

Student Highlight: Nick Lazzaro ’23

Male student sitting outside

“Holy Cross helped foster my passions as an entrepreneur” shares Nick Lazzaro ’23, “and helped me to learn how to take risks.”  Nick was a long time participant in the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program and heavily involved in HC Launch, the student entrepreneurs group.  “Encouragement from professors and advisors at the College’s Ciocca Center for Business, Ethics, and Society allowed me to network out of my comfort zone” states Lazzaro, “and created a space for me to flourish in business. I learned that taking risks academically and professionally are crucial to success and the best way to accomplish your goals is to be your unique self.”

In 2022, Lazzaro won first place during the annual Shark Tank Competition for his pitch on Nick’s On-Site Auto Detailing business.  The company not only details cars but we seek to help others via a scholarship fund for Millbury students, where the business has donated more than $1,500 to future college-bound entrepreneurs.  He was also named one of Worcester Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 in 2022.

10th Annual Shark Tank Winner Announcement

Shark Tanke winner holding large check

The 10th annual Shark Tank Competition was held on Sunday, April 16th in the Performing Arts Center, hosted by HC Launch through the Ciocca Center. Held in person for the first time since 2019, this year’s competition displayed a new generation of Holy Cross entrepreneurs. From photography, candlemaking, to tech solutions, there was a variety of creativity and problem solving involved.

Three well-seasoned business professionals volunteered their time to select this year’s winners. The judging panel included former Ciocca Center Director David Chu, Venture Forum Executive Director Zak Dutton, and Inmedix Co-Founder Tim Sciarrillo ’82, as teams competed for $9,000 in prize money. Along the way, each team was connected with a mentor who provided guidance and feedback. Thank you to our mentors Brendan Candon ’10, Rob Murner, Larry Naughton ’93, Bill Phelan ‘04, Nalani Ramos Ruiz ‘21, Kelly Shaw ‘09 and Eamon Troy ‘11. Continue reading “10th Annual Shark Tank Winner Announcement”

Entrepreneurship & Innovation Week Awards Over $15,000 in Prize Money

sustainability bannerCongratulations to all of the students who competed during the annual Entrepreneurship & Innovation Week: March 26 – 31, through the Ciocca Center for Business, Ethics, and Society and the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program at Holy Cross. 

Sustainable Innovation Challenge

HC Launch held its bi-annual Innovation Challenge in partnership with the Office of the President, Environmental Studies Department, Political Science Department, Ciocca Center, Office of Sustainability, Green Fund, and Eco-Action. The challenge tasked Holy Cross students with developing and presenting creative ways to advance sustainability on our campus. With 8 teams pitching their ideas to a panel of 3 judges, students developed detailed applications of sustainable practices in an effort to lower the college’s ecological footprint and to inspire green-thinking on campus. Nick Bettenhauser ‘24, Sasha Paradise ‘24 & Eileen Evans ‘24 ultimately won first place with their innovative and feasible pathway towards the installation of solar carports. Eco Saders and Green Addition placed 2nd and 3rd respectively. HC Launch and other organizations are now collaborating with these teams to implement their ideas. 

Congratulations to the 2022 Innovation Challenge winners! Continue reading “Entrepreneurship & Innovation Week Awards Over $15,000 in Prize Money”

Virtual Entrepreneurship Week Awards Over $10,000 in Prize Money

Congratulations to all of the students who competed during the annual Entrepreneurship Week, March 18-25, 2021, through the Ciocca Center for Business, Ethics, and Society and the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program at Holy Cross.  These virtual events attracted more than 65 students with 9 alumni involved as judges and mentors throughout the week.

Kicking off the week, HC Launch held its bi-annual Innovation Challenge in partnership with CodeSaders and the Green Fund. The challenge required Holy Cross students to come up with creative ways to build community and connect students during the COVID-19 pandemic. With 11 teams pitching their ideas to a panel of six judges, two being our very own co-presidents of the Student Government Association, students managed to develop and create detailed plans and events that centered around the theme of community. The winning idea of this competition will be immediately implemented with the help and mentorship of Dean Murray.

Normally, the Innovation Challenge would have been held in person, but due to COVID precautions was held virtually this year. The Ciocca Center’s Head of Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program, Ja-Nae Duane, kicked off the event by informing the teams and 70+ audience members of the ground rules, prizes and goals. Tom Cremins ’21 and Mary Anne Wiley ’22, HC Launch’s Managing Directors, led intermission and gave out raffle prizes to audience members while the judges deliberated.

Congratulations to the 2021 Innovation Challenge winners:

  • 1st Prize: $1,000 for Fresh Fest: an outdoor festival to help freshmen to connect by Nick Bettenhauser ‘24 & Sasha Paradise ‘24
    * Watch for this inaugural event scheduled for Friday, May 1, 2021!
  • 2nd Prize: $750 for HC Jumpstart, a social connection to meet others on campus by Britt Axelson ‘21, Raphaella Mascia ‘21 & Connor McNerney ‘22
  • 3rd Prize: $500 and “Most Creative Award” for Sader Sips: a senior-focused beer garden by Katelyn Cody ‘22, Julia Covelle ‘22, Allie Russo ‘22 & Karter Seitz ‘22
  • 4th Place: ‘Special JudgesAward’ received for their outdoor movie night on the freshman field by Fabiola Trejo ‘22 and Victoria Covarrubias ‘22

Special thanks to our judges: James Keyes ‘77, Cheryl Martin ’84, Dean Michele Murrary, William Turtone, and co-presidents of the SGA, Noah Sisk ’21 and Victoria Tara ’21.

The next two events were casual pitch nights for students with early stage projects or ideas. These events are designed to helps students identify next steps, stress test an idea and find team members to help build it out. The first event was an opportunity for students to pitch to their peers and the second gave students pitch practice pitching their idea to an alum, Catherine Wilcox ’80.

To finish off Entrepreneurship Week, HC Launch held its eighth annual Shark Tank Competition. The  event allows Holy Cross students to pitch their business ideas to a group of judges for five mins each, followed by three minutes of Q&A. Ten teams (five teams in the seed stage category and five teams in the early-stages category) competed for a combined total of $10,000 in prize money.

Congratulations to the Seed Stage Shark Tank Winners: a category focused on the market opportunity and concept validation of the business idea.

  • $500 to Greenlist: a browser extension for identifying environmental product info Nathan Lewis ‘22
  • $500 to That’s Yo Body: A motivation/fitness brand
    Josh Azor ‘24
  • $500 to Chering: A web-app that helps thrift stores resell their clothing.
    Jacob Azzi ‘23, Dana Dinardo ‘21, Raphaella Mascia ‘21, Genevieve Wagner ‘21 of Ohio State & Molly Zachlin ‘21of Notre Dame

Congratulations to the Early Stage Shark Tank Winners: a category for students with more developed business models.

  • $3,000 to SaderSleeps: a mattress rental service for college students by Louie Fiacco ‘22 & Will Spangenberg ‘22
  • $2,000 to PakChat: a mobile app that allows different friend groups to meet other friend groups within their own community by Peter Blunt ‘21 & Chad Arle ‘21
  • $1,000 to FUD: an app using algorithms to identify common restaurant preferences by Chris Herndon ‘22 & Jean Baptiste “JB” Goriou ‘22

Congratulations to the Ignite Fund Winner: a category for students to work with funding and guidance through the JD Power Center.

  • $2,000 to SynchRUNous: an app for coaches to live track their runners by Meg Gerety

Special thanks to our Shark Tank Competition judges:

  • Matt Drinkwater ‘95: Former General Manager, Buzzfeed
  • Alex Hanlon ‘06: Executive, Reddit
  • Beau Lescott ‘95: President, Adaptive Portfolio Technologies
  • Michelle Stark Barrett: Director, Community Based Learning, Holy Cross
  • Jim Tselikis ‘08: Owner, Cousins Maine Lobster

Congratulations to everyone involved during the 2021 virtual Entrepreneurship Week and we hope to see you next year!


Update 6/24/21: Read more about the Shark Tank winners in WorcesterMag & the Worcester Business Journal!  Congratulations and keep it up!

Startup Spotlight: Matt Gasparrini ’20

I have always had new ideas. Along with those ideas comes with the excitement of trying something new, of creating something novel. Most of my ideas (even my best ideas) … are garbage. They wouldn’t make it in the real world. They wouldn’t succeed outside of my own head. Because at the end of the day, nobody has room in their kitchen for an English muffin separator or fireplace tools with a built-in vacuum. My latest idea was the least glamorous of them all. A dog food company. The dog food idea was inspired by my own dog Gracie. Gracie had boring kibble every single day, she was also sick a lot of the time too. I fed her kibble because it’s what everyone feeds their dogs and because it was cheap. It turns out that kibble was making Gracie sick. I had heard about homemade dog food and gave it a try. On the homemade diet, Gracie had more energy, a shinier coat, and was overall healthier. I looked for similar fresh dog food on the market and found only very expensive products that used expensive ingredients. I knew that feeding a fresh, homemade dog food was simply better for the overall health of the dog. I decided to create a dog food with simple, inexpensive ingredients.   Continue reading “Startup Spotlight: Matt Gasparrini ’20”

First HC Entrepreneurship Week Ends With the Annual Shark Tank Competition

Through the Ciocca Center for Business, Ethics, and Society, the College held its annual Shark Tank Competition on Thursday, March 28.   Entrepreneurship Week ended with a bang as the six competing teams went all-in asking for the big cash prize: Bidly, Equanimity Project, Feel Good Dog Food, Pledger, Sanctuary, and Wilox.

Thank you to our judges for making the tough decisions!

    • Mary Moran ‘77, CEO at MCM Financial Consulting
    • PJ Sansonetti ’93, General Manager, Carole Kitchen and Bath Design
    • Roy Vella ‘90, Business Development, Ripple
    • Daniel Klinghard, Director of JD Power Center at Holy Cross
      ›Judging for the Ignite Fund Recipient

In-Kind Services Awards:

  • Matt Campbell ‘14 at Neurala will advise Bidly on sales and business development.
  • Diego Mas Gonzalez ‘12 at General Assembly will advise Sanctuary on user experience.
  • Bill Kelly ‘92 at Exosome Diagnostics will advise Feel Good Dog Food on scaling the business.
  • John Loughnane ‘87 at Nutter will provide Wilox with a Power Legal Lunch.


Cash Prize Awards: A tie for first place!

  • Feel Good Dog Food: $3,000
  • Wilox: $3,000
  • Sanctuary won $2,600
    • the “People’s Choice” award: $100
    • the Ignite Fund: $2,600

Curious what these student-run businesses are all about? Continue reading “First HC Entrepreneurship Week Ends With the Annual Shark Tank Competition”

New Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program at Holy Cross

Have an idea for a business? Interested in working with cool ideas?
Get involved with entrepreneurship and innovation this fall!

 

“The extracurricular entrepreneurial opportunities offered outside of the classroom such as the Ignite Incubator, the Fullbridge Program, the Shark Tank Competition, visits to start-ups, and networking events have all furthered my desire to pursue a career in business.”

– Paul Wiley ’20, chemistry major
2017 Shark Tank Competition Winner



>> Join the new Holy Cross student run Ignite Incubator!
The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program is excited to launch the College’s new student run incubator. The Ignite Incubator enables students from all class years to learn what it takes to bring a business to market through hands on experience. Students can either:

  • have their idea or business incubated in the program
  • work on other students business ideas

The incubator is now accepting applications for both business ideas and for associate positions on the management team.
Apply NOW! Deadline: September 10, 2018


>> Fall Course: Entrepreneurship 101
Tue. & Thu. from 12:30-1:45pm
Prof. Ja-Naé Duane

Entrepreneurship begins with a vision.  This course focuses on the foundations of entrepreneurship and is appropriate for students from any major.  It is designed to introduce students to the entrepreneurial process so that they may begin to shape their own entrepreneurial vision. Course objectives include an introduction to the challenges of entrepreneurship, an understanding of the ethical environment in which entrepreneurs operate, the skills to think critically and work toward the ability to evaluate opportunities in the business. This is a course that includes project-based entrepreneurial activities where students work to test and validate ideas.

Who should take this course?

  • Students who have a business idea
  • Students who want to work on existing business idea
  • Students who want to explore the field of entrepreneurship and innovation

Space is limited. Seats available for second, third and fourth year students.


>> Have questions? Reach out to Ja-Naé Duane, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, for more program details!

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“Redefining Black Masculinity” Awarded Top Shark Tank Prize

The Ciocca Office of Entrepreneurial Studies held the Shark Tank Competition on February 22, 2018.

Intensity was in the air last night as Holy Cross held its annual Shark Tank competition in Hogan Suite A. This year the competition was fierce among nine teams pitching for seed money (about $1,000) with just three minutes to pitch, or venture money (over $10,000) with five minutes to pitch.  After each presentation the judges had time to ask a few questions before heading to a private room to deliberate.  While waiting, the audience got the chance to vote for a new category, the People’s Choice Award. The contestants waited anxiously as the room filled with fellow Holy Cross students and alum. Around 8pm the judges returned with three oversized checks in hand… Check out photos from the event HERE.
Winners:

$5,000: Dillon Carmichael ‘18 pitched Redefining Black Masculinity, a platform for those actively redefining black masculine identity. Dillon said “the event is intimidating and inspiring. To see different people come with such great ideas and motivations makes you want to improve and keep on doing better. Hearing some people go before me almost disuaded me from giving my pitch, but once those jitters settled, it served as additional fuel for my fire. It’s competitive, but a healthy competitive because it comes from a place of genuine passion. Winning still comes as a surprise, but I am beyond grateful that I did and had the opportunity to share my idea with everyone at the event.”

$5,000: Riley Benner ‘20 launched a bespoke men’s fashion line produced by refugees for his company Phoenix Haberdashery. Riley commented “Holy Cross’ Annual Shark Tank was a really unique experience. It’s not often that you get the opportunity to share a night with other aspiring entrepreneurs and get to see the wide range of projects that they’re working on. We have a great community of support here on the Hill, especially from Ja-Nae and Professor Chu and many faculty members, but I think the most rewarding support that we can receive is from our peers who are all just trying to make their dream ideas into reality. Winning the competition was an honor, and it’s a reminder for me to keep working towards fulfilling the mission of Phoenix Haberdashery, because the judges clearly believed in that mission. It’s a wonderful affirmation of the hard work that my team and I have been putting in for the past 6 months, and we’re excited to use the money we received to further that mission.”

$2,500: Brad Ross ‘18 wants to improve goal accuracy for soccer players with his idea Scopum.  Brad commented “The Shark Tank event is a really fun and exciting way to engage the entrepreneurial side in all of us. The prospect of pitching in front of judges with incredible backgrounds and experience while competing for real cash prizes allowed us to think as true entrepreneurs. This coincides with the exciting new entrepreneurship program at Holy Cross that provides us as students a platform to truly find our entrepreneurial spirit and bring it out the right way. Thinking about not only specific projects or ideas, but also the market opportunities, business plans, and go-to-market strategies that are necessary to consider in the real world.”

$1,140: Christina Nee ‘19 is interested in upcycling food waste to make delicious treats with her company named Top Banana. Christina wants to say “Thank you to everyone involved last night! I’m so excited to be able to pursue a business that will help combat food waste!”

$100: Hawar Haddadi ‘19 and Michael Lyons ‘19 won the People’s Choice Award for their idea, The Device Doctors. This company is a door-to-door phone repair service for campuses, starting with the College of the Holy Cross. Hawar commented  “The event really brought to light the competitive nature of the entrepreneurial world. Everyone really came with their A-game and it was clear that everyone was extremely passionate about their idea. It was great to see such a high level of competition and excitement from Holy Cross students. I had a blast presenting and we received some really awesome feedback on how we should advance with our business!”

Thank you to our runners-up:

  • Anthony Saltarelli ‘18 presented his mobile app, The Networking Assistant, a tool to help students organize their network.
  • Nick Lacasse ‘18 pitched Table Split, a mobile app to divide checks amongst a table of friends at restaurants.
  • Nate Chung ‘18 launched a mobile app named EchoMe that enables users to live broadcast music and listen together in real-time, regardless of geographic location.
  • Michael Lowther ’18 pitched Undercover Difference Makers, an online platform to highlight those making a difference in the world.

Special thanks to our judges:

  • Stacy Chin ’12, CEO & Co-founder, HydroGlyde Coatings
  • Prof. Daniel Klinghard, Director, J.D. Power Center, Holy Cross
  • Tyler Scionti ’15, Product Expert, Hubspot

Thank you to Ja-Nae Duane, EIR, and Ben Lodge ’18 for making this event a true success.  Looking forward to next year and hearing about all the incredible ideas the next group of Holy Cross students have!

Annual SHARK TANK Competition

Group photo at the 2017 Shark Tank competition. From Left to Right: Bryan Sparkes ’04, Dylan Oliveira ’17, Ed McLaughlin ’78, Mary Kate Vanecko ’17, Paul Wiley ’20 and April Lukasik P16.

Have you seen the show Shark Tank? Did you know we had our own version of it here at Holy Cross? YES! It’s run by the Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Ja-Nae Duane, where current students will pitch their ideas to a panel of alumni judges for real money. Don’t want to compete? Come watch the show!

The annual competition will be held on Thursday, February 22 from 6-8pm in Hogan Suite A …followed by an alumni networking event! Stay tuned to see who the alumni judges will be.

>> Want to compete? Join us for a prep session held on:
Monday, February 5 and Monday, February 12 at 6PM in Stein 216. *Must attend one prep session to compete.

MORE INFO: Meet with Ja-Nae via Google Hangout or stop by the new co-working space in Stein 129C.

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UPDATE: Interested in who will be on the judging panel this year?  Come to the event to meet them and mingle during the networking hour with a number of alumni entrepreneurs!

Stacy Chin ’12, CEO & Co-founder, HydroGlyde Coatings
Prof. Daniel Klinghard, Director, J.D. Power Center for Liberal Arts & the World, Holy Cross
Tyler Scionti ’15, Product Expert, Hubspot

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