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Student entrepreneurs to benefit blast victims


E3 Expo participants Sarah Dwyer ’13, Sana Bakshi ’14 and Charlotte Haab ’14. (Photo by Dan O’Brien)

Sixteen students are vying for funding totaling $20,000 to start their own business ventures in the eighth annual Emerson Experience in Entrepreneurship (E3) Exposition on April 20.

Given the tragic events of the Boston Marathon on April 15, exposition organizers have announced a partnership of former E3 entrepreneurs working in the music industry who are producing a compilation of songs titled, “Boston Strong,” to be released on the website Hold On Another Day.

Proceeds will benefit One Fund Boston, a charity set up by Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino to benefit the victims of the marathon bombings.

“This event struck a deep chord with the Emerson community,” said E3 director Karl Baehr, senior executive-in-residence in the Marketing Communication Department. “E3 entrepreneurs are healing the best way they know how — by innovating and taking action for good.”

This year’s E3 Expo, where students will set up tables and explain their business plans to visitors and business leaders, will start at 10:00 AM on Saturday, April 20, at Bordy Theatre, 216 Tremont St. (RSVP is requested by emailing

The keynote speaker is Jed Cohen, co-founder and CEO of, a technology and crowdfunding site.

“E3 entrepreneurs are healing the best way they know how — by innovating and taking action for good.”

“Even if you don’t win, you’re graduating with a business plan. I don’t think a lot of people get a chance to say that,” said Sana Bakshi ’14, a Marketing Communication major who is developing—what she hopes will be a social media analytical system that “quantifies your social networking connections.”

Bakshi and the other students are in an entrepreneurial studies class taught by Baehr.

About 30 percent of students who participated in previous E3 Expos have launched their business plans, according to Baehr.

Charlotte Haab ’14, a Broadcast Journalism major, said her idea is called TapIt, a $1.99 smartphone application that allows college students to securely store their student identification cards in their smartphones.

“I’ve been calling it an essential convenience,” Haab said. “I think students are going to want it, to the point where it will be considered a need.”

Haab has held two focus groups to back up her opinion.

“People are like, ‘I can’t believe it’s not a thing yet,’” she said.

The students will go through a rigorous judging process, including one-on-one interviews with local entrepreneurs.

“The judges might not choose you to win, but someone might say later on, ‘Hey, let me help you with your business idea,’” said Sarah Dwyer ’13, a Writing, Literature and Publishing major whose business plan is called, “The Jungle Gym,” which is an indoor play structure for adults.

“If you look at the offices of Google and other companies, they have ball pits and slides,” Dwyer said. “You’re thinking creatively and that fosters productivity.”

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