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Fairfield U. Student Wins Cash, Advice For Entrepreneurial Idea

From left are LifeBridge Junior Advisory Board member Ben Kozera, George Pertesis, Committee Chair and LifeBridge Board member Jeanne Breen, and Tucker Mays.
From left are LifeBridge Junior Advisory Board member Ben Kozera, George Pertesis, Committee Chair and LifeBridge Board member Jeanne Breen, and Tucker Mays. Photo Credit: Contributed photo

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield University senior George Pertesis won the grand prize of LifeBridge’s “Shark University,” which includes $500 and five hours of personal consultation from W.S. “Tucker” Mays, principal of OptiMarket.

The competition, held Thursday, April 14 at the University of Bridgeport Schelfhaudt Gallery for the second year, had four student teams from Fairfield University and the University of Bridgeport.

Pertesis won for his panel on Thrivio. As someone who is hard of hearing, Pertesis recognizes the problem that people with disabilities struggle to find a platform to find trusted reviews on products and services and a place where they can connect with people of similar needs.

Recognizing this need, he developed Thrivio, which helps users find reliable products and services through Thrivio’s rating and review system, and helps the community share and engage with a network of users with similar needs through Thrivio’s social media platform. His goal is to solve these problems so that those who are disabled have can participate fully in society.

“At LifeBridge we know there are many pathways to success,” said Bill Hass., LifeBridge president and chief executive officer.

Each team presented their ideas to a panel of five judges: Tony Bienstock, a partner at Cohesive Capital Partners; Chris Daley, co-founder of Pilgrim Capital Partners; Chris Martin, a managing partner and chair of the Corporate Group of the law firm Martin and co-founder of Ascencia Partners; Kathie Pelliccio, founder of SuperSeedz and a former LifeBridge Workshop In Business Opportunities graduate; and Warren Widener, a vice president of Bigelow.

Pertesis also won $25,000 and the possibility of a matching state grant at Fairfield StartUp, the university's business plan competition, on Tuesday, April 5.

LifeBridge is one of the largest and oldest human services agencies in greater Bridgeport and New Haven areas. Founded in 1849, they now help more than 17,000 low-income families and individuals each year to overcome complex social, economic and health issues.

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