RIST DifferenceMaker Celebration – 2019

On October 16th, 2019, we held our DifferenceMaker Thank You Celebration at Moloney Hall in University Crossing. This event was to give a huge thank you to everyone that has been helping out and supporting DifferenceMaker!

The night started off with lots of networking. About 105 people were in attendance, consisting of Faculty Fellows, student teams, directors, alumni, and more. Brian Rist, ’77, Manning School of Business, and CEO of Storm Smart, along with Chancellor Jacquie Moloney, also stopped by to celebrate.

Students, alumni, and faculty fellows all networking with one another before the dinner reception and speeches. Student teams are also explaining their projects along with their posters.

Following the networking, there was a dinner reception. Steak tips, along with seasonal roasted vegetables and potatoes were served. Everyone ate and networked with each other some more.

After the dinner reception, Entrepreneurial Initiatives Project Director, Holly Butler, gave opening remarks and an introduction of the night to the crowd.

This event took place at Moloney Hall in University Crossing. The room had blue lighting and elegant table settings for everyone to celebrate in.

After the introduction, Chancellor Jacquie Moloney followed up afterwards by giving welcoming remarks to everyone. She spoke about how much DifferenceMaker has grown since it first started in 2013 and how it’s been successful in getting students involved with learning about startups, being an entrepreneur, and making change in the world.

Brian Rist, followed up the Chancellor’s speech by speaking about his recent donation to establish the Rist DifferenceMaker Institute. Without the education he received from UMass Lowell, he would have not been as successful as he is now, being the CEO of his own company, Storm Smart. His donation to establish the Rist DifferenceMaker Institute was a way to give back and to help give students a boost in working to become their own CEOs’ as well. Towards the end of his speech, he gave everyone pieces of advice about startups. A quote of advice that was given to him which also inspired the crowd was “Businesses don’t fail, people quit.”

Following the speeches by Brian Rist and the Chancellor were pitch updates from former and recent student teams. Ha Pho, Entrepreneurial Initiatives Project Manager, introduced each team. The teams (some whom are now companies!) that pitched were Nonspec, Preventions Possible, invisaWear, Operation250, Benji Ball, and CAT Mat.

Matthew Clarke, who was an Honorable Mention in 2014, pitching about his nonprofit, Prevention’s Possible.

There was a Q&A session after each team’s pitch update to engage the crowd. The night ended with closing remarks by Vice Provost Steven Tello, along with dessert and more networking and poster viewing.

Winner of the Campus-Wide DifferenceMaker prize in 2017, Team Operation 250‘s updated business plan poster.

Thank you to everyone that attended this night! DifferenceMaker would not be where it is at right now without you all.

Please save the date for the upcoming College-based competition finals and 2020 Idea Challenge.

Digital Federal Credit Union/Manning School of Business Innovation Contest Finals: December 3, 6-8:30 p.m., in the Saab Center Perry Atrium.

Francis College of Engineering Prototyping Competition: December 4, 3-9 p.m., in the Saab Center Perry Atrium.

2020 $50,000 Idea Challenge: April 15, 2020, 5-8:30 p.m., University Crossing, Moloney Hall.

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2019 Rist DifferenceMaker Fall Kick-Off and College Competition Announcement

On September 25, at the Saab Center, Perry Atrium, we held our annual semester Kick-Off event! Over 60 participants came to network, ask questions, and learn more about DifferenceMaker and the college-based competitions. The night started off with food, fun, and networking.

Students and faculty members sitting in groups and learning more about the Rist DifferenceMaker Institute.

During the event, our two college-based competitions were kicked-off. The Digital Federal Credit Union/Manning School of Business Innovation Contest was announced by Thomaz de Moura, the Innovations Director at DCU. Jim Regan ’88, Manning School of Business and President and CEO of DCU stopped by to say hello. Dean Richtermeyer, Manning School of Business also came to show her support for the event and competition.

The Francis College of Engineering Prototyping Competition was announced by Professor Hunter Mack; a faculty member in the Francis College of Engineering and a DifferenceMaker Faculty Fellow. Provost Joe Hartman, former Dean of the Francis College of Engineering also stopped by to support the event.

Thomaz de Moura, Innovations Director, Digital Federal Credit Union, announces the Digital Federal Credit Union/Manning School of Business Innovation Contest!

The Kick-Off event ended with an exciting and interactive ideation activity. To start, each student team had to define a problem they were passionate about solving. Once that was completed, they developed a variety of solutions to solve that specific problem. Then, they chose the best solution and built it using Legos.

Students work alongside DifferenceMaker Faculty Fellows to define problems and develop solutions.

Each team pitched their problems and solutions to the audience and showcased their Lego prototypes. Once everyone pitched their ideas, there were closing remarks and more networking to end the evening.

A student team pitches their solution related to a healthcare problem.

Thank you to everyone that attended this event! A very special thank you to all of our sponsors that support The Rist DifferenceMaker Institute and our College-based Competitions.

We hope to see all students enter a college-based competition to win funding to move their ideas forward. To apply and learn more, click here. The application deadline is Oct. 25th.

Questions? DifferenceMaker@uml.edu

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