With his determined mindset and market potential ideas, it was just a matter of time before Saint Mary’s junior James Perreault realized the vast entrepreneurial opportunities that await him in his future.

Hailing from Batavia, Illinois, James Perreault initially came to Winona to play for the SMUMN soccer team and, while still an active member of the team, he has recently discovered a new extra-curricular activity to participate in within the business department. As an undergraduate pursuing a double major in Finance and Entrepreneurship, it was inevitable that his academic career would lead him to an event sponsored by the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies.

In the second semester of his sophomore year, Perreault entered the Kabara Institute’s semi-annual Elevator Pitch Competition, where he came out in first place with his product, the “UV CANOPY”. His pitch gave a comprehensive rundown of his product, which would utilize Ultra-Violet lighting to disinfect every-day items such as shopping carts, wheelchairs, and much more. By pushing these items through a small tunnel, they would be immediately sanitized from germs as they pass under the lights.

Prior to entering, Perreault claims that he “really didn’t know much about the competition,” however, after being encouraged by Professor Michael Ratajczyk, he decided to give it a shot. With such practical and desirable use, it was no question that Perreault’s idea would hold its own among his competitors and allow him to take home the first place prize.

Since winning the competition, Perreault has been working closely with Dr. Christine Beech, the Executive Director of the Kabara Institute, to find a way to make his product and ideas become a reality. Additionally, he was also one of the entrepreneurial students able to attend Kabara’s board meeting this past April. It was there where he received further positive feedback and constructive comments regarding the design of his product from the board members themselves.

In the upcoming 2018-2019 school year, Perreault is planning to participate in even more sales competitions, and we can’t wait to hear what he has in store.

If James’ story has inspired you to share your own entrepreneurial ideas, check out the rules and requirements of the Elevator Pitch Competition to get prepared for the next event!