Last semester one of Hampden-Sydney College's own, Will Correll '13, ventured down to Christopher Newport University in Norfolk, VA to participate in the periodically hosted entrepreneurship competition and incubator called Start! Peninsula. The incubator focuses on changing the way people in Hampton Roads and the Peninsula consider entrepreneurship by starting and building the potentially successful business ideas individuals bring forward.
Fortunately for Will Correll and H-SC, Will had something to offer the Hampton Roads incubator. His recent progress on launching his own hard-cider brewery was the focus for the weekend. He was reviewed so well by the judges at Start! Peninsula that he advanced through the first, one-minute lightning round of initial judging. Of the 65 people in the first "hot seat" round, only nine others advanced.
The 10, second round, individuals were grouped off with mentors, investors and other entrepreneurs to work and build a plan to present for final judging. Will listed some of the professionals that he was teamed up with and what it was like: "I was definitely excited to have such cool, experienced people on my team; I worked with a former NASA contractor, an industrial engineer, a web developer, and other serial entrepreneurs - even the guy who made the app Zombie Tag."
The weekend was long, 60 hours of work over three days, in fact. Will initially had expressed low expectations for large success at the event, but was planning on maximizing this chance a learning experience - at the least, he was happy the CEPE paid for some of his expenses. Once he got into the thick of 60 hours he was spending, his competitive spirit and work fit into all the right places because hours later he would be named one of two other winners.
His successes in this event as a non-tech company also become a noteworthy victory - mostly tech-oriented companies like the two other victors win these events. Will was awarded the option of $10,000 from an investor over the weekend because of his work. As Will continues to work on his startup, another Start! Peninsula event will be held this coming March. For more information on students and adults attending the event you can visit http://www.startpeninsula.com/, and hopefully we will see Will and other H-SC students there too!