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UT Students Win Funding for Entrepreneurial Ideas

Published: November 26, 2012
From left are Brodeur, Daniels, 2011 winner Austin Holmes, Nochowicz and Matthews.

Four University of Tampa student entrepreneurs — whose ideas included transformable furniture, a nail salon and a website for dorm supplies — won UT’s 2012 CREATE (Creating Real Entrepreneurial Actions Through Education) business plan pitch competition.

The competition provided students with an opportunity to attend a six-week business boot camp and pitch their entrepreneurial projects.

The final competition was held on Nov. 9. A panel made up of local and regional business leaders from various industries provided feedback and coaching to the competing students. The winners received funding to help jumpstart their ideas.

The winners and their business ideas included:

  • Johnathon Brodeur, a junior, proposed the fabrication of a furniture unit that is able to easily shift into a bed, a sofa, a desk, and a wall treatment that allows more floor space.
  • Sarah Daniels, a freshman, proposed an on-campus nail salon.
  • Kelsey Matthews, a sophomore, and Lindsay Nochowicz, a freshman, proposed creating a website to provide residential college students easy access to many different dorm supplies.

Brodeur said the CREATE program helped him turn his abstract concept into a concrete reality. “I feel I now have an actual business,” Brodeur said. “The real reward from CREATE wasn't winning the money, but being able to develop my idea and figure out a way to turn it into a reality."

The CREATE program is coordinated by UT’s Entrepreneurship Center in the Sykes College of Business, and is powered by BNY Mellon Wealth Management. For more information regarding the CREATE program, visit Or, contact James Zebrowski, president of the student organization UT Entrepreneurs, at (267) 733-7049 or, or Rebecca White, director of the UT Entrepreneurship Center, at (813) 257-1760.