Creative entrepreneurs and savvy, business-minded people will have a chance to make their ideas become reality with the return of the CSUSB Innovation Challenge competition on May 23. Students, faculty and alumni can pitch their start-up business ideas for a chance to win $20,000 in cash prizes at the main event.
Prior to the final contest date, two open pitch nights were hosted on April 10 and 11 at the Bay Lounge in the Santos Manuel Student Union. This provided an opportunity for interested students to meet with others to discuss their start-up business ideas, network with professionals and recruit members of their competing team.
All teams must fill out the “Intent to Compete” entry form by April 30 to remain eligible for the competition. The completed entry forms are to be emailed to [email protected] and the teams that will advance in the contest will be notified on May 4. Entrepreneur in Residence Steve Abbott will then give the finalists additional information in preparation for the contest.
When putting together teams, the criteria of the Innovation Challenge includes each competing team having a CSUSB student as a qualified team member and a minimum of two different academic colleges and/or divisions represented. Once those requirements have been met, teammates can include any student, faculty, staff or alumni of CSUSB.
Although participants do not need to have their team members accounted for before they submit their intent to compete entry form, they can directly reach out to the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE) if they need assistance in finding team members or by clicking on the “Register to Join a Team” link on the IECE webpage.
Currently in its second year, the CSUSB Innovation Challenge provides an outlet for inventors to spread their ideas on how to better the community or even the world. Last year’s winning team, consisting of Michael Edwards, Arturo Concepcion, Aracely Munoz and Michael Baaske, invested their prize earnings to help develop their CaseAide app. Their app is now in beta testing to improve government social workflow.
Other ideas that placed in last year’s competition included apps for graduation checks and finding open parking spaces and a driving simulation lab.
“I think that the Innovation Challenge is a great way to get students to brainstorm ideas and practice team building. It’s not often that someone gets a chance to have their voices heard, and if their idea truly can benefit others, then it makes it even better,” said CSUSUB business major Alex Gonzales.
The final Innovation Challenge competition will be held in room 101 of the visual arts building from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. The event is free and attendees can register online for their tickets at the IECE webpage.
If participants of the Innovation Challenge have any questions about the competition or entry process, they can contact Assistant Director of IECE Stacey Allis via phone at 909/ 537-3217 or via email at [email protected].
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect an error in the date of the competition. The original article stated May 25. The actual date will be May 23. The times and locations are correct.