Boot Camp 2019

Throughout the month of June, the 2019 DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge winning teams participated in a 4-session summer Boot Camp to learn how to bring their product or service closer to market, develop their business models, and discover more about their customers.

Professor Deb Finch mentoring team USe Cart and giving them feedback and advice about their business plan.

Throughout these Boot Camp sessions, student teams learned about starting a business/non-profit. Before each session, videos about various topics, such as, building a start-up and customer discovery were provided. The sessions themselves allowed the teams to achieve a better understanding of who their customer segments are and gave them the opportunity to develop and test their business models and roadmap for their products.

The Business Model Canvas was used to further develop and understand their business.

The Boot Camp sessions allowed students to receive mentoring from previous DifferenceMaker teams and UMass Lowell faculty advisors. Homework was given each week and teams presented their discoveries in a pitch format, allowing them to receive immediate feedback from the Boot Camp mentors.

These mentors provided the students with advice on how they pitched, recommended people they could network with for guidance, and cleared up any issues on the products or services that might’ve come up in the future. The students asked them many questions, and received answers with many different opinions.

From left to right: Rajia Abdelaziz, co-founder and CEO of InvisaWear
Jonathan De Alderete, co-founder and CEO of NonSpec
Deborah Finch, UML Manning School of Business Professor
Brent Shell, UML Zuckerburg College of Health Sciences Professor and DifferenceMaker Faculty Fellow


All of these Boot Camp sessions helped the student teams prepare for Demo Day; an event that allows the teams to network, pitch their new and improved ideas, and talk to more mentors. Demo Day was on July 15th, 2019. Feel free to watch a video of Demo Day here.

The 2019 Idea Challenge winning team, Benji Ball, presenting their business model plan.

In addition to the Boot Camp advisors, we would also like to thank the Boot Camp guest speakers and mentors:

Richard Juknavorian

  • UML alumni,’98 Zuckerbug College of Health Sciences
  • Vice President, Centene

Erin Keaney

David Kantaros

  • Partner, Foley & Lardner LLP, Co-Chair, Technology Industry Practice
  • Business Law, Ventura Capital/Private Equity Attorney
  • Idea Challenge sponsor

Rajnish Kaushik

  • Associate Director, Office of Technology Commercialization

Hunter Mack

  • UML Francis College of Engineering Professor
  • DifferenceMaker Faculty Fellow

Chris McKenna

  • UML alumni, ’89, Francis College of Engineering
  • Partner Foley & Lardner LLP, Co-Chair of Technology Industry Practice, Co-Chair of Electronics Practice Group
  • Intellectual Property Attorney
  • Idea Challenge sponsor

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