Function Meets Fashion in Hearing Protection

CEO Places 1st in 2016 PA State System Business Plan Competition


Blaise Delfino, a graduate student at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania who developed “Fader Plugs,” designed to protect the wearer from harmful noise, won the $10,000 first place prize in the fifth annual Student Business Plan Competition sponsored by Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. This is the second time that ESU won first place in the competition with Jonathan Weber ’15, winning $10,000 in 2011 for eDentified. In 2012, Thomas Rounsville M’12, won the $5,000 second place prize for his company Wildlife Integrative Forensics. A total of 223 students/student teams submitted their intent to compete in the competition last fall. Of those, 109 made it through the first round of judging, from which 17 entrants were selected as semi-finalists. Ten teams were selected as finalists.

The annual Business Plan Competition is designed to provide student entrepreneurs a real-world opportunity to pitch their original business plans and to win funds to assist in the start-up of their businesses. Students from the 14 State System universities are invited to participate in the competition each year.

“The faculty and staff at ESU have displayed great support, compassion and excitement as I embark on my journey of founding Fader Plugs, LLC,” said Delfino. “I consider myself both lucky and blessed to be a student at East Stroudsburg University. The faculty members and the staff tied to the University’s business accelerator and entrepreneurial leadership center truly care about the success of their students and they want to see them succeed; they are willing to go the extra mile. Words just can’t express how thankful I am for their continued support and belief in me as a student, an entrepreneur and CEO of Fader Plugs LLC.”

Delfino, a licensed hearing aid dispenser and audio engineer, is a graduate student studying speech-language pathology at ESU, where also earned his bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology in 2014. His winning entry in the competition, Fader Plugs, are designed to provide for “controlled decibel reduction in a highly functional and fashionable design.” Delfino’s winning business plan included a blueprint for research and development followed by commercialization of the product. For the complete story on Blaise, click here.