FDU student entrepreneur snags award in Princeton University business competition



Above: Rachel Catena pitching The Buzz at UPitchNJ 2017, Princeton University. (Photo courtesy of Timur Pakay)

By Timur Pakay

May 9, 2017 — Thirteen New Jersey colleges competed on May 5 during the second annual UPitchNJ — an intercollegiate business plan competition held at Princeton University.

Rachel Catena represented Fairleigh Dickinson University at the competition. Catena is a marketing major at the Florham Campus and a winner at this year’s Shark Tank — organized by the Silberman College of Business and Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Catena’s business idea, The Buzz, is a healthy kombucha drink — a beverage produced by fermenting sweet tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria. Catena’s mission is to bring awareness about the role the honeybee plays in proper nutrition. Each drink is packaged with a seed-embedded cork, which, when planted, provides a habitat for honeybees.

During the competition each student was given time before the pitch to display their products. As part of Catena’s presentation she provided the audience with kombucha drink samples, t-shirts, and hats. Thanks to the efforts of her mentors, FDU career development specialist, Marc DeBoer and Silberman College board member, Jon Budish — Catena confidently pitched her business idea in front of an impressive panel of five judges, each holding an executive leadership position within the business industry. Catena was awarded the Audience Choice Award along with a $100 Starbucks gift card.

In addition to FDU, the colleges that competed in this competition included: Montclair State University, Seton Hall University, Rutgers University, Princeton University, Rider University, Rowan University, The College of New Jersey, Stevens Institute of Technology, NJIT, Saint Peter’s University, William Paterson University, and Ramapo College of New Jersey.