University News

College of Business and Engineering Students Partner to Create and Innovate at the WNE Golden Bear Innovation Jam

Published: November 01, 2022 | Categories: All News, Business, Engineering
Innotvation Jam "pretotype"

Western New England University (WNE) held its annual Golden Bear Innovation Jam (GBIJ) sponsored by PeoplesBank. The goal of GBIJ is to foster ideas that have the potential to progress toward innovation, and eventually, commercialization.

Students and faculty from the Colleges of Business and Engineering came together on October 1 to focus on innovation solutions. Students were tasked with developing an "idea napkin" that outlines the problem, the customer, the solution, and its value. The next steps for these innovators was to form a team and develop a 3-minute pitch and a pretotype to present proof of concept to entrepreneurial mentors. Students were given a simple set of resources (Play-Doh, yarn, pipe cleaners, balloons, etc.) to build their product pretotypes for presentation.

Paul Silva, from River Valley Investors facilitated the event. VIP entrepreneurs included Bill Cole from Living Local, Rick Plaut from River Valley Investors, and Jon Schoonmaker from Data2R. WNE College of Business alumni Sabrina Serra, Bradly Montanez, and Ethan Valdes provided mentorship to the student teams.

Five innovations were presented at this one-day event including a healthcare app, a healthcare medical device for women, a financial app, a home improvement service, and a shelfing system for small homes and apartments.

Leah Cunha, Yassine Drissi, Aleksandra Dzietczyk, Emma Heslin, Knut Lundstrom Svahnqvist, Eli Melendez, Abbagail Vanvalkenburgh, and Kyle Zemba from the College of Business participated in the event.

Matt Barros, Cameron Burnham, Andrew Butt, Kendra Castagna, Paul Henderson, Alyssa Pompi, Jack Ryczek, and Caitlin Tatro represented students from the College of Engineering.

Professor Michael Rust and Associate Professor Andrea Kwaczala from the College of Engineering and Professor Harlan Spotts and Associate Professor Mary Schoonmaker provided additional faculty support for the students.

To learn more visit Golden Bear Innovation Jam or contact Mary Schoonmaker at