Victoria Suarez and Chavdar Petkov have been busy since winning the Business Plan Competition in 2005.
The two were part of Eleven Moons LLC, a company that made one of the first video sharing networks, a la YouTube. But while YouTube focused on a platform for all; Eleven Moons primarily marketed itself to the wedding industry to specialize themselves and build their brand. Also, their platform was designed to work with cell phones via 3G networks.
“It’s amazing how far technology has come since then. I can remember so many people saying “What? You can’t do that. There’s no way you can send a video to a phone.” Now it just seems so obvious that you’d be able to,” said Victoria.
Today, the pair have expanded into other careers. Victoria is the Manager of Academics at Johnson College, and her responsibilities involve student conduct and managing enrollment initiatives and faculty.
Chavdar on the other hand is a national media producer and freelance consultant, helping companies incorporate the same video-sharing technology they brought to the BPC more than ten years ago.
Both Victoria and Chavdar are graduates of Marywood University, but neither were typical business students, studying video production and broadcast communications respectively, but found their way into the business plan competition thanks to the urging of faculty members.
“I think we were nagged for about three weeks straight to submit our business plan,” Chavdar joked. “But that was the kind of kick we needed to seriously sit down and plan this thing out.”
Of course, it wasn’t always smooth sailing for the Eleven Moons team.
“I was an army brat, and Chavdar was an international student from Bulgaria, so neither of us had local roots. We didn’t have high school teachers or local business leaders to reach out to for help,” Said Victoria. “That’s why the Greater Valley Technology Alliance (renamed tecBRIDGE) was so important to us.”
For those entering the BPC in 2017, both Chavdar and Victoria stressed the need to start early and take advantage of all the available opportunities, and to talk to everyone, including other teams.
Look for Chavdar and Victoria’s video work at the 2017 Business Plan Competition Awards Dinner at Mohegan Sun on April 27.