Championship Labs

Whether turf or court, track or ice (and everything in between), Championship Labs is here to support UConn students as they explore entrepreneurial applications surrounding Name, Image and Likeness.

An emerging sphere of entrepreneurship, the Werth Institute is leading Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) activities at the University of Connecticut. Championship Labs empowers students and student athletes alike to explore individualized opportunities for money-making potential through personal and content branding. 

How Can We Help You?


As with any entrepreneurial venture, understanding how to construct a brand plan is crucial to success. Championship Labs provides industry expertise and a venue for collaborative development to formalize actionable strategies for growing brands. We are also here to keep you accountable in developing personal brands by outlining achievable goals and scheduling individual check-ins.


Through our award-winning in-house NetWerx mentorship program, students can receive advice from and forge long-lasting connections with full-time content creators. Coming from a myriad of backgrounds, our diversity in mentors allow mentees to engage with professionals they’re able to relate to. A partnership with the National C Club allows students to simultaneously have access to a network of UConn Alumni athletes to support their ideas. 


Hurdles and strategy pivots are always a part of early-stage businesses, especially personal brands. Whether it be a short piece of advice or revision of a brand strategy plan, The Championship Labs team is here to support at any step!


As a student, it can be hard to look beyond short-term finances to plan for the future. By partnering with industry professionals, Championship Labs offers assistance in financial planning for personal brands of all stages. We also realize that it can be difficult for students and student athletes to find a neutral third-party to help evaluate potential brand partnerships. We’re here to help assess deals and provide you with a toolkit to advocate for your own interests throughout the contract process.


Throughout the process of developing a personal brand, growing as a person, and succeeding as a student (and athlete), it is critical to ensure mental health and overall well-being are prioritized. Both Championship Labs and The Werth Institute is committed to connecting students to UConn-based and NCAA-rooted resources to holistically support a person.

Meet our Lead Coach

David Bruno

Dave Bruno is currently the Innovation Labs Director at Connecticut Innovations, New England’s largest and most active venture capital investor, and Venture Builder for The Werth Institute. Utilizing a hands-on approach, Dave also helps Founders build their businesses with his Red Planet Ventures. Dave’s strengths are his ability to visualize the future, ideate and find product-market fit, make sales and raise capital, and create teams out of a diverse set of people and skillsets. He previously built and ran Innovation globally for UBS, the world’s largest wealth manager, as well as F10 Switzerland’s FinTech Accelerator and the company-building unit for the Swiss Stock Exchange SIX.

Dave holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts and is a US Certified Public Accountant.

About National C Club

The National C Club Network was created through a collaboration between the University of Connecticut Athletic Department and Athlete Network to provide a platform for UConn alumni to stay engaged with the University following graduation. Central to the National C Club’s mission is connecting current UConn student-athletes with alumni who can provide mentorship and networking opportunities across all fields of work, crafting a culture of support that spans far after graduation.

Follow National C Club on Twitter and Instagram @Nationalcclub!


Are you a student interested in exploring your own personal brand? Fill out this form and we will be in touch soon!

Meet the Student Fellows Team

Zoey England

With a background in journalism and graphic design, Zoey is excited to be leading the Championship Labs Student Fellows Team.

Her first year at UConn, Zoey was part of the inaugural F3 Werth Innovator Leadership Development (WILD) cohort at The Werth Institute, where she worked to create Innovation Conversations, a speaker platform providing the opportunity for current UConn students to share their ideas, stories, and experiences with senior-level executives and industry leaders. Zoey is also heavily involved in several initiatives through the Dean of Students Office, including the Pack Ambassadors & Leaders program. Preferring an interdisciplinary, hands-on approach to learning, Zoey is currently a part of the Schwartz Lab, housed in the UConn Department of Physiology & Neurobiology, as well as several other community-based projects.

In her free time, Zoey likes to relax with her dog, whom she is training to become therapy certified. She is an award-winning cellist and nature photographer, with her favorite subjects being honeybees and migratory butterflies. You can oftentimes find Zoey reading, practicing her Spanish, listening to a podcast, or attempting to craft the perfect macaron.

Zoey England is currently an Honors student at the University of Connecticut where she is studying public health.

Joshua Charleston

Joshua Charleston is an Undergraduate Sophomore pursuing his b.s.e in Computer Science and Engineering and a minor in Mathematics. Joshua is an Executive Board member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) chapter at UConn and is also a player in the Uconn Ultimate Frisbee Club. He has a passion for learning and loves being active. In his free time, Josh volunteers at a local church, enjoys trying new things, and having fun with friends.

Justin Nappi

Justin Nappi started teaching himself development and design when he was twelve and is now studying computer science at the University of Connecticut’s School of Engineering. In addition to his passion for development and design, he is an entrepreneur and a self- proclaimed video game enthusiast. Growing up playing baseball, Justin found himself drawn to the world of competitive esports, which piqued his interest in Name, Image, and Likeness, leading him to launch an apparel brand.

Justin enjoys building and creating. Last semester, he participated in the Stamford Startup Studio, where he helped to innovate in the Real Estate and Construction tech space. He is also co-founder of SmartCards, a UConn-Founded startup innovating on education for neurodiverse individuals.

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