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Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut actively supports startups and entrepreneurship in Connecticut. In preparation for Startup Weekend Stamford, Quinnipiac held a campus-wide Pitchfire competition. It was pure chaos but a lot of fun! After the smoke cleared, there was only one student left standing… Danielle Giglione.

I recently had time to sit down with this Entrepreneurial Warrior. This is Danielle’s first Startup Weekend! Here is how our interview went:

So, Danielle tell me a little about yourself?

My name is Danielle Giglione and I am a freshman at Quinnipiac University. My major and focus in school is nursing. However, I love to soak up information from all different disciplines. Imagination, creativity, and passion are three of my best friends; they are the key components that fuel my thoughts as well as my reading, drawing, writing, and even baking. While I am studying to become a Registered Nurse, I am looking into designing, developing, and marketing a new diabetes insulin pump, writing my own book (which I hope to publish and make a series out of in the near future), and teaching myself how to use tablets to make digital art. I do not believe in limiting oneself to a single talent or skill; I prefer to take a variety of things I am passionate about and do my best to excel in and learn about them.

Tell us a little about your idea that helped you win the PitchFire competition?

The idea I am bringing with me to Startup Weekend Stamford is the creation of a smaller, thinner, and more efficient diabetes insulin pump. My company, Live Natural, is looking for programmers, designers, and people willing to back/fund this project in addition to anyone who is passionate or curious to learn more about diabetes. I have a few ideas in mind such as the size, shape, screen, etc. For example, I am looking into using a FlexEl battery as opposed to the AAA battery currently used in insulin pumps on the market today. But, I am open to suggestions, feedback, and advice from individuals, especially those with knowledge about electronics and programming.

**A background as to why this is my idea:
My best friend was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes at the age of sixteen and no one could have imagined this happening. Diabetes did not run in either sides of her family; she was fit as could be, ate a healthy, well-balanced diet, and was even a track star. Her pancreas just stopped producing what her body needed to break down the glucose in her system. I remember sitting in homeroom, wondering why my friend hadn’t shown up the past few days. It was not like her to miss school. Later that night while doing my homework, I got a call. It was my friend and she had been hospitalized. She explained to me that she was at a track meet on Sunday, felt absolutely terrible and went to the doctor. The doctor immediately sent her to the emergency room. She had a blood sugar somewhere around 700 or 800 and her normal blood sugar should be between 80-100! The doctor told her if she were to have run in the meet, she could have gone into a diabetic coma. Needless to say, she was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes and I watched as she struggled to live normally with a bulky, unappealing, life saving device clipped to her.

Have you been practicing your pitch?

I have been practicing my pitch! I find that rehearsing the pitch out loud helps to determine the best phrasing, word selection, and speaking pace. When pitching my idea to others in practice, I am able to practice eye contact and posture. Practicing the pitch allows you to make sure the pitch fits the time limit, is concise but clear, and you can check with others that the idea is easily understood.

Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur?

I do consider myself an entrepreneur. There are many ways people try to define what an entrepreneur is, but my personal definition is: a person who pursues an opportunity they are passionate about and who is willing to take a financial risk after careful consideration and research into their idea. If people agree that is a valid description of an Entrepreneur than I certainly consider myself that.

Are you excited for Startup Weekend Stamford? What are you most excited about?

I am incredibly excited for Startup Weekend Stamford! It is an honor and a privilege to be attending, let alone giving my pitch. I am most excited to meet and talk with the other individuals attending the event. I cannot wait to hear the ideas other people have been working on, as well as receive advice and ideas for my own product.

How have you been preparing?

To prepare for Startup Weekend Stamford I have been practicing my pitch out loud alone and in front of others. As I stated before, preparing in advance helps you to make sure the pitch fits the time limit and is concise but clear. Also, practicing out loud helps with the phrasing and linguistics.

Has Quinnipiac helped you prepare?

Quinnipiac has been helping me prepare for Start-Up Weekend. The university and its faculty are always willing to work with, guide, and push you towards bigger and better things. The faculty is ready at all times with their fountains of knowledge. Additionally, their are countless resources that one can utilize from the faculty members to the library. My Entrepreneur professor, Professor David Tomczyk, has been especially helpful in fueling and preparing me. Professor Tomczyk encouraged me and my idea, even while I had my own personal doubts because I was a nursing student and that had nothing to do with “being an entrepreneur”.

 

What a great interview! Look out Startup Weekend Stamford attendees, Danielle is coming to town and she means business.

Will Haire