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"All of us involved in Auburn’s entrepreneurship programs are proud of what our students have accomplished, and the external recognition of the progress we’re making in educating and supporting our student-entrepreneurs." -- Lou Bifano, Director of Entrepreneurship Strategy at Auburn University
The Harbert College of Business is dedicated to providing students with engaging curricula, instruction, and high-impact experiential learning opportunities.
Two students entrenched in Harbert College's entrepreneurship programs, Mit Patel and Daniel Mazur, recently took third place in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) U.S. University Startup Competition – one of the premier student events of its kind in the country.
Patel, a senior in mechanical engineering and accounting, and Mazur, a senior in mechanical engineering, are among the first occupants of Auburn University’s New Venture Accelerator, where more than 8,000 square feet of office space is dedicated to fostering student startups.
Patel and Mazur, co-founders of SwiftSku – a hardware device that plugs into a retailer’s point-of-sale system to securely transmit transaction information, earned:
* Up to $100,000 in AWS credits, which can be applied to bills that help cover specific costs
* $5,000 in cash
* A guaranteed interview with a Techstars accelerator and an invitation to Techstars Empower Collective
* An interview with Dorm Room Fund – a venture capital firm focused on investments in student start-ups.
SwiftSku is no stranger to pitching before judges. Last spring, the startup captured the annual Tiger Cage Student Business Plan Competition and secured $25,000 in capital funding.
The New Venture Accelerator, located within the Research and Innovation Center at The Park, provides student entrepreneurs with ample office space, expert instruction, and work stations to collaborate.
“We were delighted to see an Auburn student-team place third in this prestigious national competition,” said Lou Bifano, Director of Entrepreneurship Strategy at Auburn University. “Mit and Daniel are bringing an exciting data analytics service to market for independent convenience store owners. They will be able to put their AWS winnings to good use.”
SwiftSku’s achievement at the national level comes on the heels of fellow New Venture Accelerator tenant Zac Young’s recent first-place at the SEC Student Pitch Competition. Young, a senior in mechanical engineering and founder of Vulcan Line Tools, created the Wave Timer – a device that measures sag, tension, and the temperature of power lines.
“These are great examples of the ability of Auburn student-entrepreneurs to excel at both the SEC level and the national level,” Bifano added. “All of us involved in Auburn’s entrepreneurship programs are proud of what our students have accomplished and the external recognition of the progress we’re making in educating and supporting our student-entrepreneurs. My special thanks to our two entrepreneurs-in-residence, Scott McGlon and Phil Fraher, as well as two members of our advisory council, Greg Cessna and Bob Roblin, for the many hours they spent coaching and mentoring Mit, Daniel, and Zac.”