The students of the "Vermont Chill Company" team representing Saint Michael's College: from left:, Ryan Londregan, Ben Guilmette, Patrick Leary, Colin McKeith.
The team of four Saint Michael’s College Accounting/Business majors whose startup concept is known as Vermont Chill Company represented the College at the 2nd annual LaunchVT Collegiate event, held on Friday February 2, 2017 at Vermont Technical College in Randolph, VT.
The collegiate competition is an offshoot of the highly successful LaunchVT event begun four years ago by the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce in an effort to attract and retain more young entrepreneurs to the region. This year’s collegiate round involved student teams from nine Vermont-based colleges and universities. At stake was a $6,000 first prize and an invitation to the finals of LaunchVT which are held in May. The teams presented their proposals for startup businesses to a panel of judges consisting of local executives and entrepreneurship educators.
Vermont Chill’s team members - Ben Guilmette ’19, Pat Leary ’19, Colin McKeith ’19, and Ryan Londregan ’19 – displayed samples of their branded garments, novelty items and a rustic style cooler, and also outlined finance and marketing plans for their proposed startup. The team’s signature products were produced as prototypes at the MakerSpace in Dion Family Student Center on the Saint Michael’s campus, with contact made to several potential vendors off-campus for future supply.
A substantial contingent of supporters watched and encouraged Vermont Chill during the event. In addition to Business Department Chairperson Karen Popovich and Professor Robert Letovsky, Alex Colletta, a member of last year’s Saint Michael’s LaunchVT team, made the trek down to Royalton. As well, parents and family members for each of the four team members came to the event.
Though Vermont Chill did not finish “in the money,” Letovsky and Popovich said the team received enthusiastic feedback from several observers in attendance and strong encouragement to continue developing their business concept. The team noted during its presentation that it had already received strong expressions of interest from several local retailers, and "both of the observers who provided unsolicited feedback to the team felt that Vermont Chill’s offerings could really strike a chord in terms of building on and leveraging the state’s brand,” Letovsky said.
The lead-up to next year’s LaunchVT Collegiate event will be the Pitch Your Passion competition, to be held at Saint Michael's during the Fall 2017 semester.