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Entrepreneurs pitch products, businesses at holiday fair

Photo by Casey Bayer.

Max Kilb is a duct tape wizard, Lindsey Burke has an eye for design and Nikki Makwinski can bake almost anything in her dorm room.

All three were in the Curry Student Center last Friday afternoon to sell their products and promote their new businesses at the first annual Holiday Entrepreneurs Fair.

The fair — a collaboration between the Center for Research Innovation, the Entrepreneurs Club and IDEA, Northeastern’s Venture Accelerator — gave students and recent graduates a chance to bring their businesses to the marketplace.

Burke, S’11, founded Harper Lei, a company that sells eco-friendly clothing that she designs and creates.

“I just wanted to get my name out there and I’ve already sold a lot of things,” Burke said. “It’s really comfortable clothing made with high-quality bamboo fabric, meaning it’s good for the environment.

“Most of the clothes, from dresses and skirts to yoga pants can really meet any need, from something casual to something dressy.”

The event gave new entrepreneurs a chance to show their businesses to students, many of whom still have shopping to do before the holidays. The budding entrepreneurs were busy making sales, taking cash or swiping credit cards using their mobile phones.

“People are walking out of here today with cash. Isn’t that something?” said Rhonda Kivlin, an administrative coordinator at the Center for Research Innovation who helped organize the event.

Makwinski, a sophomore sociology major who runs her baking company from her dorm room in West Village F, said events such as the entrepreneurs fair help students transform their fledgling operations into full-service businesses.

“I’m getting a lot of business from students here at Northeastern and across the city,” Makwinski said. “Students are really interested in supporting other students.”

Kilb’s business, Productions, took crafting ordinary items — such as wallets and laptop cases — out of duct tape from a hobby to a real business.

“I’ve made these things all along and everybody said I should sell them,” Kilb said. “And now with this business support, I can finally justify sitting down for two hours working with duct tape.”

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