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Business School Students Win With Whoopies

Published on April 19, 2012

Susquehanna University junior Lauren Elsasser, of Mifflinburg, and Lauren Elsasser and Josh Rogerssenior Josh Rogers, of Williamsport, recently took the top prize of $5,000 in the Greater Susquehanna Keystone Innovation Zone’s 2012 Venture Plan Competition. The business administration–entrepreneurship majors are partners in a business called Let’s Make Whoopie, which sells gourmet whoopie pies and offers customized whoopie pie bars for special events. The company also sells apparel, including aprons, sweatshirts, underwear and t-shirts, which will soon be available online.

Elsasser and Rogers competed against teams from Susquehanna, Bloomsburg University, Bucknell University and Luzerne County Community College. “Now we have seed money to launch our business into success,” said Elsasser. They plan to base Let’s Make Whoopie in Lewisburg and expand into Harrisburg, New York City and Washington, D.C.

Elsasser also joined three other Susquehanna students—Brittany Trinidad, of North Massapequa, N.Y.; Russian exchange student Kirill Tumanov; and Emmanuel Tapia, of New York City—at the Southeast Entrepreneurship Conference held recently at the University of Tampa. The conference featured an elevator pitch competition in which students had the amount of time it takes to ride an elevator to present their business idea to a panel of judges composed of venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and other business professionals.

Tapia became a finalist, ranking in the top six out of 65 other students froEmmanuel Tapiam around the country. He pitched Simply Unique Inc., a five-week, after-school program designed to foster entrepreneurship skills in children.

“I’ve never done an elevator pitch before, so I didn’t know what to expect,” Tapia said. “It was a pleasure and a unique learning experience.”

All are enrolled in Susquehanna’s New Venture Start-up and Financing, a course in the Sigmund Weis School of Business taught by Associate Professor of Management Mengsteab Tesfayohannes. The class teaches students about the challenges and opportunities in starting up business ventures. Students gain hands-on experience with creating business plans and securing finances as they start up a “mini-venture,” fueled by $100 in initial capital.

The Sigmund Weis School of Business prepares students for leadership roles in the global economy. Students gain real-world insights from visiting executives, a strong internship program and highly qualified faculty with significant professional experience. The semester-long London Program immerses students in international business environments. The school is proud to hold accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) and is one of only a small group of private, undergraduate-only universities to hold this prestigious credential.


Victoria Kidd


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