ESU Graduate Student Wins $110,000 Business Plan Competition
Blaise Delfino’14 M’16, an East Stroudsburg University master’s degree candidate from Bethlehem, Pa., earned first place in the collegiate sector of the TecBRIDGE Business Plan Competition on April 27 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Other finalist in the competition represented King’s College, Marywood University and Wilkes University.
Delfino’s company, Fader Plugs LLC, created first of its kind, patent-pending adjustable earplugs. The design of the earplugs allows the wearer to adjust noise levels without taking the plug out of the ear. Delfino, also a musician, believes the product will resonate with concert goers and those in the music industry. The company is located in the ESU Innovation Center – Business Accelerator.
“Blaise is an outstanding innovator and entrepreneur, he’s an accomplished student, and a musician,” said Marcia G. Welsh, Ph.D., president of ESU. “As a student he launched Autism Speaks U, one of the largest clubs on campus. As a recording artist he charted on the iTunes Top 100 pop charts. He’s stay trued to all of his passions while starting his business. What he has achieved with Fader Plugs is just the beginning for young man and his business. Blaise truly is a Warrior Entrepreneur.”
The TecBRIDGE Business Plan Competition prize includes $100,000 of in-kind business services and $10,000 in cash. In 2016 Delfino won the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Student Business Plan Competition, which included a $10,000 cash prize. The money he won has helped develop the product and will be used to conduct pilot studies.
“Team Fader put in a lot of time, energy, and effort into the competition deliverables,” Delfino said. Winning the TecBRIDGE Business Plan Competition is a testament to our ability to work as a team, our viability as a company, and affirmation regarding market penetration.”
Delfino earned a Bachelor of Science in speech-language pathology from ESU in 2014. He graduated with a Master of Science in communication sciences and disorders on Friday, May 5 and served as the graduate student speaker at the ceremony.