New Venture Competition opens window for winner of $5,000 student prize
The average age of a CEO is mid-50s, according to a Forbes study, but Steven Brodeur ‘16 of Westport, MA, is a clear outlier.
Brodeur, 20, is the CEO and founder of Winsulate, a company that plans to sell advanced energy panels placed on windows to reduce heating and cooling costs. Brodeur plans to register his company as a corporation by the end of April.
None of this would have been possible if he hadn’t transferred to Bryant last fall.
"Steven has the passion, high energy and top-notch ability to turn this firm into a major success story.”
“The academic environment here at Bryant is very diverse,” he says. “I transferred here because I knew that Bryant University could offer me more opportunities."
Brodeur's participation in the University's Innovation and Design Experience for All (IDEA) program got the ball rolling. During IDEA, teams tackle various real-world challenges. Brodeur's five-person team was assigned to "find ways to increase sales by accentuating do-it-yourself projects at stores such as Home Depot and Michaels.”
Sensing a potential goldmine in one model he developed, Brodeur decided to take the concept a step further. “We had a concrete business model,” Brodeur says, “so we decided to take this mock product and make it into an actual product.”
Brodeur then started bouncing ideas off faculty members, and was advised to enter the Bryant Alumni New Venture Competition.
“He really listened to the feedback from his coaches and turned in a winning plan,” says Sandra Potter, Ph.D., director of Bryant’s Entrepreneurship Program. “Steven has the passion, high energy and top-notch ability to turn this firm into a major success story.”
As one of six finalists, he presented his business to a panel of accomplished alumni. Brodeur finished in the top three, winning the student prize of $5,000.
Brian Cowley ’82, CEO of CompareNetworks, Inc., one of Bryant’s most accomplished entrepreneurial alumni, and a competition sponsor and judge from the start, was amazed by what Brodeur and his team presented.
“You guys are on to something really neat,” Cowley said.
“I was speechless,” Brodeur said. “It’s hard to see the return" on what may seem to be an ordinary assignment. But in the two months he spent nurturing the spark that began in the IDEA program, "it just gave me more chance of hope in the future.”