Entrepreneur in Residence
Each year the Cottrell Center recognizes a successful West Chester University alumnus, alumna, or friend as the West Chester University Entrepreneur in Residence. The Entrepreneur in Residence visits the campus twice per year. S/he judges the Annual WCU Business Idea Pitch, addresses students in the spring and the fall, coaches students on their business ideas, and advises the Cottrell Center. The Entrepreneur in Residence program was launched in the 2010 and has been a valuable program offered by the Cottrell Center.
2020-2022: Joseph S. Rizzello
Chairman, NewSquare Capital
Joseph was brought in as chairman of NewSquare in 2014 to grow the firm into an outstanding investment management firm. Under his leadership, the firm has experienced significant growth and expanded the suite of investment options to include some truly innovative investment approaches. He has also expanded and significantly strengthened the team by bringing in individuals with deep industry experience, diverse areas of expertise, and this prerequisite: a truly collaborative mindset.
Looking back on his long, successful career in the investment industry, Joseph sees a strong theme. While each challenge has been unique, what has brought success has always been the same: his passion for problem solving and his skills at building exceptional teams focused on finding innovative and workable solutions to the most critical issues. It starts with clearly defining the issue, finding the best talent, empowering them, and creating a culture that fosters innovation, lets talent thrive, and delivers success. That’s the exciting challenge he faces every day as chairman of NewSquare. And while he may be the most senior leader at NewSquare, the team says he is the one who brings the most youthful enthusiasm to work every day.
Joseph, a recognized industry innovator, was prominent in the lead-up to the creation of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which have enjoyed explosive growth since their introduction.
In his distinguished 40+ years career, Joseph has held senior positions with top-tier organizations, including serving as CEO of the National Stock Exchange, New York City; co-founder of the Mind Capital Group, Philadelphia; president of Pershing Trading Company, Jersey City, New Jersey; a principal in charge of Vanguard’s Broker-Dealer, Malvern, Pennsylvania; and executive vice president of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. He has also served on the boards of various financial industry associations.
He is highly regarded in the industry as an authority on ETFs, a senior advisor on market structure, a marketing expert, and a new product innovator. A role he especially treasures is that of speaker and lecturer at prestigious universities around the world (including INSEAD, University of Grenoble, Temple University, and the London School of Economics). There, he tells students to put away their textbooks for a moment to listen to tales of what really goes on in the world of financial services.
Joseph lives with his wife, Daria, in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. They love spending time with their four adult sons, Damien, Justin, Marcus, and Xander, and their families and are blessed with five grandchildren.
2018-2019: Guy Fardone
CEO & Founding Partner, Evolve IP
Guy is a startup business founder and executive with proven experience leading highly
successful technology companies with 5 to over 1,000 Associates and revenues from
start up to over $300M. He has 20 plus years of tangible experience building organizations
to achieve rapid revenue growth, long term sustainable profitability, high performance
personnel management and operational excellence. He has a passion for building high
performance work teams.
Guy has lead over four dozen mergers and acquisitions from both buy and sell side in various industries and global geographic areas with revenues ranging from <$1M to over $100M in revenue.
Guy currently provides the day to day leadership of Evolve IP and is a Founding Partner since company inception. He currently serves on several Boards of Directors and Strategic Advisory Boards of various tech companies, startups, non-profits, county agencies and various educational institutions. Guy is actively involved in various Chester County boards and initiatives such as i2n, ITAG, CCEDC and VISTA 2025. He is actively engaged in and committed to helping drive the Philadelphia Area business community. He lives in Chester Springs, PA with his wife and 3 children. In his spare time Guy loves family time, anything outdoors particularly biking, skiing and fishing and has 16 years of active involvement coaching youth football and most recently for the Chester County Crusaders.
2017-2018: Debra Blair
Debra Blair Design LLC
Debra is one of New York's most respected interior designers. She founded Debra Blair Design in 1990. The firm provides a full range of design services for both residential and commercial clients, from concepts to complete installation. Debra and her staff focus on creating elegant, luxurious and livable interiors that are tailored to reflect the personalities and lifestyles of their clients.
Blair Design has clients in the New York metropolitan area, Charleston, and in the resort communities of Cape Cod, Nantucket, Kiawah Island and Hawaii. Commercial work includes the design of executive offices of Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette; a book division of the Hearst Corporation; the Adelson Galleries; the new Members Reading Room at the New York Society Library and the executive penthouse apartment of Takashimaya, a Japanese luxury retailer.
Debra has been invited to participate in numerous design related charitable events and five designer show houses including the Kips Bay Designer's Show House in New York, 2002 and 2005.
Her outreach includes nine years as a member of the Board of Trustees at Lyndhurst, a National Trust for Historic Preservation site in Tarrytown, NY; six years as a board member of the Decorators Club, a professional club of all women interior designers organized in 1914, and she presently serves on the board of trustees of the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, NY.
2016-2017: Chris Heivly
Founders, Startups, Community & Corporate Innovation at Techstars
Chris is one of the nation’s leading experts in how to turn startups into multimillion-dollar companies. At a time when the nation’s economy is shifting from a reliance on large corporations to smaller, more innovative organizations, he has been dubbed the “The Startup Whisperer.”
For over 30 years, Heivly has worked at the highest levels for some of the world’s most recognized brands, including MapQuest, which was sold to AOL for $1.2 billion; Rand McNally, the worlds largest map publisher; and Accenture, the largest multinational management consulting, technology services, and outsourcing company on the planet. He has also personally directed over $75 million in investment capital on behalf of these and other companies.
Heivly currently serves as one of two managing directors of The Startup Factory, the largest seed investment firm in the Southeast. Under his leadership, the firm has made 35 investments in just three years in emerging technology companies. More than 60 percent of TSF’s portfolio has gone on to raise follow-on capital, more than double the industry average for similar investment programs.
Heivly has become a sought-after speaker and go-to source for media. He has been quoted in major national and international outlets such as Forbes, Inc., the Washington Post, TechCrunch, Crain’s Business Journal, Huffington Post, Tech Cocktail, the Financial Post and the Montreal Gazette, and has appeared in major-market TV stations across the U.S. Because of his stature in the startup world, he was heavily featured in the documentary Startupland, which showcased the world’s most renowned entrepreneurs and startup experts. He is a contributing writer for Inc.com, the nation’s leading entrepreneurial magazine for entrepreneurs and business owners, and has a significant following for Heivly.com, his own highly respected blog that offers brutally authentic commentary on startups and the startup community.
He just releasedBuild the Fort, his much-anticipated book about how to take the lessons you learned as a 10-year old and on applying those lessons to starting anything. His book was inspired from a widely acclaimed TEDx talk in 2014. The book focuses on the months leading up to the decision to start a company and those first three critical months of getting your idea off the ground. His insights are being applied in multiple realms, from any individual with a dream, to startups and companies that aspire to be more innovative, to emerging entrepreneurial communities.
2015-2016: Eli Kahn
Kahn Development Corporation (EKD)
EKD is a privately held real estate firm specializing in the acquisition, re-positioning, and development of commercial, industrial and multi-family real estate throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania. The firm’s expertise has helped transform numerous underutilized and often environmentally challenged properties into vibrant business and community centers throughout the region. EKD’s ability to identify market trends early in the real estate cycle has put the company at the forefront of the smart growth revitalization of the area’s oldest towns and boroughs. EKD manages a portfolio of approximately 5,500,000 square feet of commercial, industrial, retail and multi-family investment properties. In addition, the firm has over 600,000 square feet of transit-oriented mixed use projects either planned or under construction. Prior to forming EKD, Eli was the Director of Marketing & Leasing for J. Loew & Associates, a Chester County based real estate development firm.
Eli earned his B.S. in marketing from West Chester University.
2014-2015: Janice Leone
Principal at Corporate Interiors, Inc.
Janice Leone is the president and principal of Corporate Interiors. Ms. Leone has designed and developed a service profile that is the envy of the tri-state area. Primary services ranging from delivery, installation and reconfiguration to storage/asset management, refurbishment activities and office relocation are the backbone of Corporate Interiors and the reason clients trust an organization that focuses on longevity rather than short-term gain.
She has been featured in the Philadelphia Business Journal and Smart Business – Winter 2014. Corporate Interiors has recently been awarded the Top 25 Women Owned Business in the yearly Philadelphia Book of Lists. In addition, The New Journal named it a Top Workplace among 24 others in Delaware. Ms. Leone graduated West Chester University with a degree in Psychology
2013-2014: Matt Jesson
President, Owner at Green Lawn Fertilizing, Inc.
In 2004 Mr. Jesson transitioned the focus of his lawn cutting business "Jesson Landscaping" into Green Lawn Fertilizing, Inc. Green Pest Solutions was launched in April of 2012. Mr. Jesson is President and Owner of Green Lawn Fertilizing and Green Pest Solutions, which is a regional lawn, pest and termite service provider. The company services South Eastern, Pa, the state of Delaware, as well as, Central and South New Jersey.
The company was recently presented with the Inc. 5000 award in Inc. magazine, which ranks the fastest growing 5000 companies in the nation. Mr. Jesson was also honored by The Philadelphia Business Journal in the class of 2013, as a "Top 40 Under 40", which highlights young professionals in the Delaware Valley for outstanding success and contributions to their community. Mr. Jesson graduated West Chester University with a degree in Marketing.
2012-2013: Howard Lubert, PhD
Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic Area President
As Managing Partner of SafeHatch LLC, Lubert leads the corporate advisory and business acceleration services of the Wayne, PA based firm. Dr. Lubert brings his unique mix of technical and private equity related experience with Safeguard and other VC and Angel Investment related funds to SafeHatch. Prior to founding SafeHatch, he helped create the eBusiness consulting service line at Deloitte and Touche and led teams in various Inter/Intranet technology engagements. At Safeguard Scientifics he formalized the due diligence process and executed technical due diligence reviews. Dr. Lubert also developed successful channel marketing programs for many high tech firms including Novell and IBM and served as the Chairman of an international trade association for the networking technology industry.
In addition to his role as Managing Partner of SafeHatch, Howard is the Area President of the Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic Region. Keiretsu Forum is the world's largest and most successful Accredited Investor - Private Equity Community with over 850 accredited/angel investor members throughout twenty-three chapters on three continents. Since Keiretsu Forum's founding in 2000, its members have invested more than $300m in over 275 companies in software, telecom, health/life sciences, biotech, real estate, mobile applications, Internet, consumer products and other high growth areas.
2011-2012: Gary Daniels
The Creative Financial Group
Mr. Daniels is a 1975 graduate of West Chester University who was a professional golfer before becoming the youngest number one agent in the 120 history of Travelers.
Mr. Daniels went on to become one of the founding members of The Creative Financial Group. Mr. Daniels' primary area of expertise is developing financial and business succession strategies for entrepreneurs with estates valued at $10 million and more. In this capacity, his clients include some of the area's leading entrepreneurs in the construction, manufacturing, wholesale distribution and food industries.
Mr. Daniels is a member of the Delaware County, Chester County, and Philadelphia Estate Planning Councils; a ten-year qualifier of the Top of the Table; a life and qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table; and a former instructor of the Life Underwriter's Training Council. A recognized authority on business succession planning, Mr. Daniels frequently addresses professional organizations such as the National Association of Manufacturers and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal and Fortune magazine.
2010-2011: David Gansky
Mr. Gansky graduated West Chester University in 1988 with a degree in Marketing Management. Upon graduation, he founded and served as CEO of US Maintenance Corporation.
Over a period of 20 years, Mr. Gansky built this ground-floor operation into the largest provider of maintenance services for national retail chains in the United States, with revenues in excess of $500 million. During his tenure as CEO, US Maintenance expanded into numerous new service areas and acquired several major companies. In 2006, Transfield Services purchased US Maintenance.
Mr. Gansky retired from the company in 2008 to form Longport Capital, L.L.C. and become its managing partner. Longport Capital is a private equity firm that focuses on small to mid-sized companies in the eastern United States. Longport Capital seeks majority equity in firms with long-term potential for growth and profitability. In exchange, the company provides the investment equity, strategic direction, and hands-on operational expertise essential to helping companies realize their full value. Mr. Gansky also serves on the Business Advisory Council for West Chester University.
Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education Business Plan Competition is an opportunity for students attending one of the State System's 14 state-owned universities to compete for prize money of up to $10,000 for their innovative ideas. Winners receive prize money to assist in making their dreams of becoming an entrepreneur come true.
All competitors are encouraged to use their imagination to create their best business ideas. Each university has faculty and staff who are dedicated to providing personal attention to students' ideas to prepare them for launch in today's marketplace. A team of judges reviews the business plans, and the finalists, as well as all of the competitors, are recognized at an awards ceremony.
West Chester Business Idea Competition
The Annual WCU Business Idea Competition promotes creativity, idea generation, and entrepreneurship by recognizing innovative ideas for new products, services, and technology.
The Annual West Chester University Business Idea Competition is hosted by the Dr. Edwin Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center, the Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic and The Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce.
West Chester University Social Innovation Competition
The WCU Social Innovation Competition encourages participants from diverse disciplines to develop an entrepreneurial idea that addresses social needs. The competition inspires entrepreneurs seeking to make positive social advances.
What should a submission look like?
We have created a sample project to give a general understanding on answering the questions and formatting your answers.
Global Entrepreneurship Week
Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is an international initiative that acknowledges and promotes entrepreneurship in six continents. Each November, GEW reaches millions of people of all ages and backgrounds through local, national, and global events and activities. In the United States alone, nearly 5,000 events, activities and competitions are planned across all 50 states by a wide variety of organizations. West Chester University is proud to participate in this global initiative.
Collegiate Entrepreneurship Program
Entrepreneurship Club’s Mission
To create a community of aspiring high performing professionals who work together to turn ideas into reality.
To serve more than 400 colleges and universities helping students achieve their entrepreneurial dreams and goals. CEO provides student entrepreneurs with opportunities, events, chapter activities and conferences to help start businesses.
Benefits of CEO at WCU
- Access to a network of global/national collegiate entrepreneurs
- Access to live webinar's featuring successful entrepreneurs
- The Collegiate Entrepreneur newsletter, published quarterly and online
- Chapter speakers, business start-ups, teaching entrepreneurship, internships
- Communication on entrepreneurial challenges through the CEO online Social Networking Community
- Student entrepreneur competitions, including the elevator pitch at the national conference
- Chapter development support
- Leadership training
- Membership in member-exclusive Entrepreneurship Club Facebook Group
- Chapter Awards
Nicole Waslenko, CEO WCU Entrepreneurship Club President, NW923195@wcupa.edu
Dr. Edwin Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center
318 Business and Public Management Center
Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic Fellowship
The Keiretsu Forumis the world's largest private equity investor group. TheMid-Atlantic chapterof the Keiretsu Forum hosts a fellowship program to engage MBA students and law school students in the private equity due diligence process. The program provides a valuable opportunity for graduate students to gain practical experience, learn about private equity and the due diligence process, and expand their network.
The Due Diligence Fellows attend the monthly screening and Forum meetings held in Philadelphia, where they observe the entrepreneurs' presentations and participate in the discussions with the chapter's investors. Fellows identify the projects which interest them, are assigned to a due diligence team led by a Forum member, and assist with the due diligence process.
To prepare for the fellowship, the Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic President, Howard Lubert, conducts a workshop on due diligence including the Forum's rigorous due diligence process. The Fellows also receive continuous training and feedback from the due diligence team members and the chapter leaders throughout their fellowship.
The Fellowship provides a great opportunity to gain firsthand experience in private equity.
For more information, call the Cottrell Center at 610-425-5000 ext. 3456 or email CottrellCenter@wcupa.edu
Saxbys Experiential Learning Platform
Saxbys is a Certified B Corp and coffee company with a mission to Make Life Better. Saxbys partners with West Chester University to offer an entirely student-run cafe on campus!
The Saxbys Experiential Learning Platform (E.L.P) is designed to prepare and embolden students by providing them with in-depth entrepreneurial opportunities as a supplement to traditional classroom learning.
Santander Entrepreneurship Fellows Program
Santander Universities supports universities and students around the world to prosper, focusing on education and entrepreneurship.
Santander Bank has provided funding for West Chester University students to participate in an Entrepreneurship Fellows Program for the 2020/2021 academic year.
Undergraduate students who identify as first generation and are pursuing studies in Entrepreneurship can apply for the fellows program.
Additional details about the fellows program and the program application can be found here .
Interested students should complete the application and send it via email to Pattie Diggin, Director of The Cottrell Entrepreneurship Center.
If you have questions or need assistance completing your application please email Pattie Diggin
Santander Business Plan Competition
Santander Universities supports universities and students around the world to prosper, focusing on education and entrepreneurship.
First Generation students across the university can submit a business plan for a chance to win scholarship money or funding for a business venture. 1st and 2nd place prizes will be awarded for undergraduate and graduate students.
The Business Plan Competition details and application will be available August 31st 2020.
Santander Entrepreneurship Internship Scholarship Application
Santander Bank has provided funding to support first generation students and cover the cost of 3-credits for an internship with a startup, small business or non-profit. Fall of 2020.
If you are a first generation student (your parent(s) and/or guardian(s) did not graduate from a 4-year college or university) you may be eligible to receive one of 5 scholarships currently available.
Students who are currently enrolled in an internship section Fall 2020 or would like to find an opportunity and enroll in an internship section should complete the internship application and submit it to Pattie Diggin, Director, Cottrell Entrepreneurship Center by August 19th.
Please direct all questions to Pattie Diggin