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2015 Western to host panel discussion with successful local business owners

DANBURY, CONN. Western Connecticut State University’s Ancell School of Business will host a panel discussion on “Passion, Purpose & Problem-Solving: The Entrepreneur’s Journey” from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, April 20, 2015, in Room 218 of the Classroom Building on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. Three local small business owners, David Reunert, Kelley Hopkins-Alvarez and Manny Carreras, will comprise the panel. Panel guests will discuss strategies that have worked best in the field of entrepreneurship, as well as obstacles encountered during the initial startup and planning phases.

David Reunert: “Creatively Connecting Small Business Risk-taking as a Serial Entrepreneur.”

Reunert was born in South Africa and learned about entrepreneurship when he started working with his father at the age of 11. Reunert is the founder of Colupon, an app that aims to save college students money. He now works with National Galactic, a tech company that focuses on the development of location-based services technology and custom mobile application solutions. Reunert will share his thoughts on the risks and benefits involved in a startup company and why he became a serial entrepreneur.

Kelley Hopkins-Alvarez: “Developing a Successful Service Business.”

Hopkins-Alvarez is a WCSU alumna and a licensed professional counselor. She opened up a private practice in 2010, turning a profit in her first year. Her business, which deals with counseling for individuals and couples on a range of issues from anxiety and depression to perfectionism and development skills, is located in Ridgefield and attracts clients from all over the Northeast and even Canada. Hopkins-Alvarez will explain how she succeeded in a saturated market and developed her brand, and how she generates consistent profits in the service business.

Manny Carreras: “Selecting Strategies for Growth in the Restaurant Market.”

Carreras, who is known for never backing down from a challenge, is developing a restaurant and club on Ives Street in downtown Danbury. Carreras acquired the building in 2014 and has been working hard to open up his business. Despite a 2004 ban on clubs in Danbury, Carreras has collaborated with the town to attempt to change the regulations saying that the ban has “choked out growth in the district.” He will explore how to grow a restaurant business in the face of competition and the importance of having a clear strategy.

This event is open to the public. For more information, call Kathleen Lindenmayer at (203) 837-8511.


Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.