Skip to content

Sextet of Student Entrepreneurs Square Off at E3 Expo

A sextet of students vied for a $5,000 first prize by pitching their business ideas in the annual E3 Expo on April 29.

The E3 cohort were together for the entire school year for the minor led Marketing Communication affiliated faculty member Shannon Rose McAuliffe. The class included workshops, lectures, and mentorship with other faculty and industry experts.

Each student presented a 5-minute pitch and had five minutes of Q&A with the panelists: Sam Magee, Director of Creativity and Entrepreneurship for Harvard’s Lemann Program; Katie Burkhart ’14, Founder and CEO of TheMatterLogic Co.; and Larry Fahey ’01, Creative Director, MassMutual.

First prize ($5,000) went to Ariel Wile’s venture, Abnormal Junk. Gail Andersen won the Karl Baehr Memorial Scholarship ($1,000) for her venture, Transformative Treasures, and John Huang’s ReadOn took the School of the Arts Pioneer Award ($500). Krusha Mehta, Christine Shen, and Charlotte Naftal each won $1,000 of seed funding for their projects.

Read more about the ventures:

John Huang ’24

Creative Writing major
John Huang
John Huang ’24

What is your E3 idea and its name?

Huang: My E3 idea is a writing/reading app called ReadOn.

What does the app do? 

Huang: The app is two sided. One portion is for authors/writers to upload work – this can be in the form of an upload, or as a live textbox. This side of the app will also provide a dashboard that gives additional statistics, information, and the ability to edit and delete published work. In the long term, this will ideally also provide resources for authors like connections to editors, agents, and learning resources.

The other half is for readers, composed of items like a recommendations page, a search page, a library, and customization features, allowing readers to find and consume content in their preferred dynamic.

ReadOn logo

Are you able to self-publish? 

Huang: Yes, the main objective of the app is to platform writers who might not be able to easily publish in the current industry. The idea is that the app allows for periodical publishing in the form of chapters or segments, decided by the author. This reduces the pressure of having a completed manuscript. The content will hopefully evolve over time.

Who is your E3 idea for?

Huang: The idea is primarily catered towards writers. Focusing on individuals who might have written extensively, but for one reason or another have not published. Additionally, the app caters towards Gen Z readers which are often underrepresented/considered a non-reading generation.

What inspired you to create your E3 idea?

Huang:
I was inspired by online international publishing apps like Qidan.

Is it subscription based?

Huang:
No. The pricing model is roughly set at 20 cents/1000 words. Thus, pricing depends on the length of a chapter and the overall book. This roughly translates to $15 for 70,000 words of content, which is the size of a standard novel. Authors receive a 40 percent of this amount; for comparison, royalties typically sit at around 12-15 percent for eBooks that have been published on paper, or 20-25 percent for those that published exclusively digitally.  

Ariel Wile ’25

Media Arts Production major
Ariel Wile
Ariel Wile ’25

What is your E3 idea and its name? 

Wile:
Abnormal Junk. It’s a brand upcycling secondhand clothing through simple embellishments. The clothing would be sourced from secondhand clothing and thrift stores. Furthermore, I’d be selling through my brand website (launching in July) as well as pop-up events.

Who is your E3 idea for? 

Wile: My target audience is primarily Gen Z and people who are interested in the arts.

Example of upcycled t-shirt

What inspired you to create your E3 idea? 

Wile: I’ve always loved fashion since a young age. I wanted to create clothing that would make people feel comfortable and confident to express their unique selves.

Christine Shen ’24

Interdisciplinary Studies major in Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Communications Disorders
Christine Shen
Christine Shen ’24

What is your E3 idea and its name?

Shen:
My E3 idea is an app called Reel Access that allows neurodivergent people to customize their viewing experience of short form video content.

Who is your E3 idea for?

Shen:
The primary target audience for Reel Access is neurodivergent people that view short-form video social media content. 

Graphic of outline of head over rainbow colors that reads: Welcome to Reel Access!

What inspired you to create your E3 idea?

Shen:
My personal experience with the limiting accessibility features of short form video content inspired me to create Reel Access.

Krusha Mehta ’25

Media Arts Production major
Krusha Mehta sitting outside
Krusha Mehta ’25

What is your E3 idea and its name?

Mehta: My Venture’s name is JAHAJ. My family has been making traditional gold Indian jewelry for the past 200 years. I want to bring these traditional pieces of jewelry with a modernized twist to the West by doing trunk shows three times a month. I won’t just be selling jewelry but a piece of history, traditions, and years and years of memories with it. 

Who is your E3 idea for? 

Mehta:
Jahaj in English means ‘ship’. When my ancestors 200 years ago ventured into the seas, they met pirates and sold their gold and jewelry to them; soon they came to be known as the ‘Jahajwalas,’ which, in English, means ‘People of the ship’. So this is what my E3 idea is for, my ancestors, people like me who love their roots but who also have changed according to times. 

What inspired you to create your E3 idea? 

Mehta:
A lot of Indian jewelry is sold by brands and designers that are not Indian. Colonization and imperialism becomes real when it comes to [non-Indian sellers selling Indian jewelry]. And a question arose for me, “Why do they get to sell something that’s not even theirs to sell?” I wanted to take it upon myself to share a piece of my history and tradition that comes from home. In some ways, I also wanted to create this because of my legacy, I want to take forward this legacy for another 200 years. 

Would you source all jewelry supplies from India?

Mehta:
I will be using Indian craftsmanship. And all the gold and silver will be sourced from India, but the semi-precious gem stones will be sourced all over Asia, mostly Thailand, China, and India as well. 

Gail Andersen ’25

Business of Creative Enterprises major
Gail Anderson smiling on a bridge
Gail Anderson ’25

What is your E3 idea and its name?

Anderson: I created Ga Jewelry in 2020, and Transformative Treasures is an extension of that project, serving as a pride collection that I created. It is jewelry designed to be subtle and subdued for wearing on various occasions without the risk of “outing” themselves.

Who is your E3 idea for?

Anderson:
People who are unable to come out 

Two colorful necklaces on someone's sweater

What inspired you to create your E3 idea?

Anderson:
I have a lot of friends who are unable to come out. I am an openly queer person and I understand the privilege I have being out.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your E3 idea? 

Anderson:
Transformative Treasures celebrates love, equality, and self-expression with subtle designs based on the different pride flags that are subtle and do not out people while still being mindful of environmental impact and remaining affordable.

Charlotte Naftal ’24

Business of Creative Enterprises major
Charlotte Naftal ’24

What is your E3 idea and its name?

Naftal:
My E3 idea is called Palette Pro Connect, and it is a website that connects makeup artists with clients who are seeking services spanning special occasions, film, theater, and more. The site also serves as a resource for artists to build community and engage in ongoing professional development through workshops and networking events. 

Who is your E3 idea for?

Naftal:
My E3 idea is for makeup artists struggling to find opportunities, as well as for those seeking makeup artist services. 

What inspired you to create your E3 idea?

Naftal:
I have witnessed the challenges of finding work in an industry where artists experience the frustrations of clique-y colleagues and competition for jobs that are often offered via word-of-mouth. My site offers a level playing field for finding opportunities, and creates a culture of mutual support.

(Visited 208 times, 1 visits today)