Stillman School of Business

Nursing Student Entrepreneurs To Represent SHU at the Big East Startup Challenge on Feb. 22  

care call nursing students

The CareCall team with faculty advisor Dr. Katherine Connolly from the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Dinner

With the Big East Conference Men's Basketball Tournament in full swing, there is a lot of excitement on campus. But there’s another Big East Conference competition that also may interest you – this one involves student entrepreneurs battling for a Big East Championship trophy and seed funding to a launch a startup venture. 

The third annual Big East Startup Challenge, in which Seton Hall University and ten other Big East universities will compete for the coveted title of top entrepreneurship team, will be held on February 22nd from 6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. EST. The contest is sponsored by the Big East Conference and will be hosted by Creighton University and broadcast on Zoom and Facebook Live.

In this exciting competition, student entrepreneurs will have five minutes to pitch their innovative business ideas to a panel of judges comprised of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and BIG EAST alumni. Each university has selected one team of undergraduate entrepreneurs to participate in the Shark-Tank-like contest. Student entrepreneurs will be evaluated on the originality of their idea as well as the feasibility and sustainability of their business model. The first-place team will be awarded $1,500 and will also have an opportunity to attend the Men's Basketball Championship game and be presented with a Big East Championship trophy. The second-place team will take home $1,000, and the third-place winners will receive $500.

Seton Hall University will be represented by the CareCall team, a startup team comprised of Buccino Leadership Institute nursing students. CareCall, their startup idea, is designed to improve hospital patient care. Seniors Katie Mazzarelli and Madison Loustan, and juniors Wendy Gonzalez and Theresa Wang, thought up the idea for CareCall based on their own experiences. Mazzerelli explained: "The traditional patient call system sends a message to personnel at the front desk, instead of directly to the responsible nursing care provider, which can result in long wait times. By contrast, CareCall uses bedside tablets and smartphone technology to send requests to the appropriate provider depending on the request, which saves time, reduces unnecessary traffic in and out of patient rooms, and improves workflow productivity."

The CareCall team, which holds a provisional patent, tested their concept at the university’s Interprofessional Health Sciences Campus Patient Simulation Laboratory. The group's faculty advisor, Dr. Katherine Connolly, said the team's next step is to test a prototype in a pilot study in an actual hospital setting. 

Susan Scherreik, director of the Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, praised the team for striving to make their dream a reality. She stated: "We are honored to participate in the Big East Startup Challenge and thrilled to have CareCall represent Seton Hall University." 

CareCall team members Wang and Gonzalez recently were awarded an Opportunity Meets Innovation Grant, an interdisciplinary grant sponsored by the university. Additionally, in December, CareCall was a winning team in the New Jersey Institute of Technology New Business Model Competition. Team members credit the Buccino Center and the Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship with instilling in them the confidence and leadership skills to keep moving forward with the project. 

You are invited to cheer on the CareCall team while they present at the Big East Startup Challenge. Please register in advance for the event by clicking here.