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Business Observer Friday, Sep. 27, 2019 3 weeks ago

Fieldr of dreams: Young entrepreneurs start networking site to connect students with businesses

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The recent college graduates who founded company hope the site will bridge the gap between students and companies.

A pair of recent Florida Gulf Coast University graduates think they’ve created the next LinkedIn.

Now they just have to get businesses to buy in.

The company, from Connor Firmender and Natalie Finazzo, a pair of 22-year-olds, is Fieldr. The founders launched as a social networking website in beta form about three weeks ago and proposed to allow college students to communicate directly with prospective employers. “We were discovering that students were having a hard time finding the right opportunity, with some students being placed in something they’re not qualified for,” company CFO and COO Finazzo says, adding that sites like LinkedIn and Indeed are “not very friendly for students.” 

Finazzo adds the founders want the site, and a planned Fieldr mobile app, to bridge the gap between students and companies offering “experiential learning opportunities, whether those are internship, part-time jobs or full-time jobs related to their desired career path.”

Firmender, Fieldr’s CEO, came up with the idea while enrolled in FGCU’s School of Entrepreneurship program. The core challenge the founders face now is both time and getting the word out about the company because both hold down full-time jobs separate from Fieldr. “If I had time during the day, you can bet that I would be handing out flyers on campus,” Firmender says.

For now, the site is free to use and will always be that way for students, the founders say. But they plan to convert over to a monthly or annual subscription model for businesses when the next beta phase launches in January 2020.

So far, about 25 students and 20 companies and organizations are active users on the site, and it’s currently only available for FGCU students. Their initial goal is to have 500 users by the end of 2019. The larger goal is to eventually take the site statewide, regional and finally, nationwide.

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