Entrepreneur Surpasses $100,000 in Prize Money While Completing EEE Master's Degree

Bruno Gonzalez Hauger

Master’s in Entrepreneurship & Emerging Enterprises

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Staying to earn a master’s degree was the best choice for me. It gave me more time to plant the roots of my businesses and an extra year of preparation.

Bruno Gonzalez Hauger ’21 (WSM/NEW), ’22 M.S., not only just graduated from Syracuse University with a master’s degree, but this entrepreneur also walked away with a stunning $102,000 in winnings through various Whitman School business competitions over his five years on campus.

After completing a dual undergraduate degree in entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises (EEE) at the Whitman School and advertising at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Gonzalez Hauger decided to stay around for one more year to pursue a master’s degree in EEE.

This additional year saw him take first place in the Whitman School’s annual Panasci Business Plan competition in April with Justin Monaco ’21 (A&S), G’22, winning $20,000 for Illumenar, a patent-pending technology that allows for better understanding of the internal structure of a tooth, superseding even the technology of X-rays. It also marked Gonzalez Hauger’s grand prize win of $25,000 in the Orange Tank Competition with his other venture, Ambassadoor Technologies (now called Door), a company he co-founded to assist small brick and mortar companies stand out in social media through the use of nano-influencers.

“The competitions sponsored by the Whitman School are amazing,” he says. “I’ve competed in the Panasci competition four times since coming here. While I didn’t win the first two times, I still walked away with a solid business plan and feedback through alumni networking that allowed me to do great things. This year, of course, was incredible, and I’m so grateful to the sponsors, the Panasci family and Scott Friedberg ‘14. I wouldn’t even be close to where I am today without their support, along with all the other generous sponsors of these competitions. Surpassing the $100,000 mark in winnings was simply amazing.”

The decision to remain at the University to complete a master’s degree was a strategic one. As he completed his undergraduate degree, Gonzalez Hauger knew he wasn’t yet financially ready to make Door happen. Professor of Entrepreneurial Practice and Deputy Department Chair of EEE John Torrens encouraged him to pursue a master’s degree at Whitman, giving the entrepreneur additional time to continue working on both Door and Illumenar.

“Staying to earn a master’s degree was the best choice for me,” says Gonzalez Hauger, who took advantage of the University’s Forever Orange Scholarship for graduating seniors impacted by the pandemic. “It gave me more time to plant the roots of my businesses and an extra year of preparation.”

Gonzalez Hauger says he had been drawn to the entrepreneurial resources on the Syracuse University campus since he first enrolled five years ago while running a small clothing brand. 

“When I came here, I definitely didn’t have my sights on multiple businesses, but the resources of the EEE department and the Blackstone Launchpad have been able to provide everything and more. If I hadn’t stayed to pursue my master’s, I would never have even been involved in Illumenar,” he explains. “And, after I’ve made my impact in the business world, I might want to pursue teaching one day. Earning a master’s degree will help me keep my options open.”

Now, the Westchester, New York, native, has his sights on pursuing both of his businesses in the start-up hub of Austin, Texas. “I’m going to miss Syracuse and the home this school has become for me,” he says. “But, with a master’s degree in hand, I’m extra ready now.”

By Caroline Reff

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