Industrial engineering student named finalist in Collegiate Business Plan Competition
Story by Adrianne Uphold, Multi-Media Specialist
Robert Gianniny, a senior industrial engineering major from Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, started his entrepreneur journey in October 2021 following his first-hand experience seeing how challenging team projects can be during his first year as an engineering student.
“In addition to the challenges of adjusting to college, I found team projects to be extremely stressful between the general disorganization and barriers of communication between equally stressed students,” Gianniny said. “As I conducted more research, I found that many students felt the same way with a sizable portion ultimately changing their majors and even career aspirations.”
His small business DashPlain aims to make team projects easier by using a web-based project management application designed specifically with students in mind. DashPlain provides students with simple yet effective tools to collaborate, organize and deliver high-quality team projects with focus.
“I found several existing offerings for digital project management, but none of them were able to combine the right features and deliver a simple solution for academic users,” Gianniny said. “I want to be able to relieve students of stress surrounding team projects, help them maximize their grades and guide effective leadership.
“Looking ahead, I hope to see improved retention and career placement statistics, showing that students are continuing with their dreams and building upon early success,” Gianniny continued.
Gianniny is the only student from the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources to be named a finalist. DashPlain is among six other teams in the Collegiate Business Plan Competition who were awarded funding based on their business needs. Gianniny said this funding will help cover various start-up costs.
“I can comfortably build an initial product for testing, continue to execute marketing strategies and even offer incentives to students who are interested in joining a pilot program,” Gianniny said. “I want to ensure that students receive a product that will truly help them, and this funding enables key activities that will secure DashPlain’s value.”
For other entrepreneur engineering students thinking about participating in the next competition, Gianniny highly encourages anyone to pitch their business idea.
“The team at the WVU LaunchLab were instrumental in giving me the confidence and guidance to execute my idea and are some of the nicest people you will meet,” Gianniny said. “I could not ask for a greater support team between them and the countless mentors and advisers I have met through this competition. It has been a great learning experience and I cannot wait to see what is next.”
Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit
For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, contact our Marketing and Communications office: