Entrepreneurs / Events

7 things we learned at UD’s Fast Forward lightning talk event

From building better battery technology to cultivating more women business leaders, here are some of the smart things people said during a series of 5-minute presentations.

Nfoshare founder and UD grad Nikhil Paul speaking at the October 2014 Fast Forward event at UD's Venture Development Center. (Photo by Christopher Wink)
Disclosure: The University of Delaware Horn Program in Entrepreneurship is a founding sponsor of Delaware.

You have the people and the program and the space. Then you need a way to bring them all together with a wider community. So the University of Delaware’s Horn Program in Entrepreneurship held its Fast Forward lightning talk event last week.
About 100 attended the event, held at the program’s sleek Venture Development Center, which opened in February. The program had a UD focus in programming and attendance, but beyond the students in button-ups and dress pants, there was a smattering of broader entrepreneurship stakeholders, like New Castle Chamber of Commerce President Mark Kleinschmidt and the host program’s namesake Charlie Horn.
The eight speakers, too, had a UD bent but showed the interest to use the event to widen the program’s reach, as Horn director and event emcee Dan Freeman has said.
Each of the speakers was given five minutes to convey a larger idea and how she was addressing the subject. The presentations were broken up in two parts, split by networking, an open bar and nibbling on an array of food. Full disclosure, this reporter was one of the speakers.

  1. Women need to develop their leadership in executive and business settings to force real change, said Sharon Hake, founder of female networking group Great Dames. Find our coverage of that group here.
  2. Wilmington is Delaware’s most vital city and needs to be revived, said Paul McConnell, the McConnell Real Estate cofounder who recently convened leaders around the issue. He played up his support of 1313 Innovation, the Wilmington incubator space that his hosting his Tech2Gether event this week.
  3. For future employment opportunities, we need to build new skills. Julie Frieswyk of the Horn Program introduced its partnership with McConnell to launch the Paul and Linda McConnell Youth Initiative. More on that to follow.
  4. The next great advancement in battery technology won’t rely on combustion, said Yushan Yan, the Associate Dean for Research & Entrepreneurship at UD’s College of Engineering. He’s researched this concept for years.
  5. Air quality is still worse in major American cities than we realize, said Jennifer Stewart, a scientist at the UD School of Marine Science & Policy. Almost half of Americans live in communities where air pollution is considered often “dangerously high,” according to a report this spring.
  6. We increasingly build companies wherever is best for the people it employs (rather than where the money is, like in the past), I, Christopher Wink, cofounder of, said. My slides are here.
  7. The next stage of social networking will be to connect through emotional relevance, not opt-in existing relationships, said Nikhil Paul, CEO and cofounder of Nfoshare. A UD graduate, whom we covered here, Paul now lives in Brooklyn.

Four UD students also presented, including Joost Elling, the freshman founder of Joost Wafel Co., which sells artisan Dutch-style stroopwafels, Brendan Teeven, founder of Social Heroes, a pre-launch mobile app aimed at reducing in-restaurant smartphone use, Nandita Bhagwat, founder of Voltaic Coatings, which has licensed the production of a new touchscreen material and Morgan Lehr, founder of Dare Women’s Foundation, a social good startup offering entrepreneurship programming for women in Tanzania.

Companies: University of Delaware

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