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@State - the SDSU Student Newsletter

Competition Helps Bring Business Ideas to Life

Last fall, Pieter van Niekerk and a team of fellow students were on stage presenting their business strategy for a novel idea in biotech lab management to a panel of judges in the Lavin VentureStart Competition.

Today, van Niekerk’s team of former San Diego State University biotech and marketing students is seeing 5-figure monthly product sales for their young business, and exponential growth is on the horizon.

Students from across the university are encouraged to follow in the entrepreneurial footsteps of van Niekerk and other winning teams by participating in the same competition that propelled their business, Epsilon Micro Devices, into existence.

Photo with caption: Epsilon micro competes at global business model competition. Epsilon Micro places in top 8 at Harvard.

The Lavin VentureStart Competition challenges students to team up with classmates from various colleges, conceive of an innovative, market-driven idea, and build a business model canvas that translates into real-world potential for a successful startup venture.

Image: lavin venturestart TMIn order to participate in the competition, teams must submit their initial business model canvas by 12 pm on Friday, Oct. 4 to the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center, located on the first floor of the Gateway Center.

Don't Miss These Workshops!

VentureStart workshops designed to help teams refine their business model are being held October 8 (“Business Model Canvas”) and October 24 (“Business Model Iteration”) in the Arts and Letters Building. Successful entrepreneurs, investors and professors also provide invaluable support throughout the competition in the form of networking, mentorship and feedback opportunities.

Selected finalists will present their idea to a panel of entrepreneur judges on November 12 and first, second and third place winners will walk away with cash prizes.

If you’re not a techie looking to redefine mobile platforms or modify the field of microfluidics, you’re in good company. Past finalists in the VentureStart Competition include Choco ART, an artisanal chocolate and ice cream store; Aspire Innovations, a cognitive-enhancing energy shot; and Handzoff Solutions, an innovative hand sanitizer dispenser.

Support for Budding Entrepreneurs

The VentureStart Competition is just one of the many programs designed by the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center to support budding student entrepreneurs from all backgrounds and academic disciplines.

SDSU’s thriving history and culture of entrepreneurship is also the driving force behind a new minor and the Zahn Innovation Center, which is kicking off a its second annual Zahn Challenge the first week of October.


Photo: Leonard Lavin surrounded by SDSU's Lavin Entrepreneurs




Got a great idea?

Have an idea for a commercial enterprise, social enterprise or project resulting in a social impact? The Zahn Challenge is ready to dole out $50,000 to the best and brightest ideas from students, faculty and staff!

Winners will also receive entry into the Zahn Innovation Center, an on-campus incubator for innovators and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Attend an information session at 12 pm October 3 to learn more about the challenge, timeline and awards.


Image: second annual Zahn Challenge logo: Dream, Design, Develop