Four Finalist Teams Face Off at 2019 Innovation Challenge Pitch Competition

A cold-brew-coffee service, a battery-recycling business, a vegan food-finder, and a diagnostic medical-device startup will present their plans to judges at the CSULB Innovation Challenge Finalist Pitch Competition and Award Ceremony on April 11.

Sips Cold Brew plans to deliver locally produced cold-brew coffee to college students at a competitive price. Students will receive weekly or biweekly deliveries of a 32-ounce growler, enough for four to six servings. Continue reading “Four Finalist Teams Face Off at 2019 Innovation Challenge Pitch Competition”

Innovation Challenge Begins Ninth Year

If you have an idea to start a business, consider entering the CSULB Innovation Challenge. The contest provides support and mentoring as interdisciplinary teams go through the process of creating a business plan, with an eye on winning up to $50,000 in cash and services to turn that idea into a reality.

The Innovation Challenge was introduced by the College of Engineering nine years ago, and now incorporates the College of the Arts, College of Business Administration and Center for the Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Continue reading “Innovation Challenge Begins Ninth Year”

Artemus Labs’ ‘Sexy’ Prosthetic Liner Wins 2018 Innovation Challenge

Artemus Labs team

Four finalist teams faced off Thursday at the CSULB Innovation Challenge, delivering their pitches to judges and answering questions about their target customers, revenue projections, and competition. The winning team was Artemus Labs, which will receive $10,000 in cash and $40,000 in services to help market its Python prosthetic liner.

“One of the things that President Conoley and I value is innovation—especially student innovation,” said CSULB Provost Brian Jersky. “We’re the old generation and you’re the new—we’re in your good hands.”

The Artemus Labs team collected feedback from amputees and evaluated existing prosthetic liners before designing their Python liner, which is breathable and comes in bright colors and two designs. Their goal was to make amputees “feel sexy.” Continue reading “Artemus Labs’ ‘Sexy’ Prosthetic Liner Wins 2018 Innovation Challenge”

Student Entrepreneurs Flock to Innovation Challenge Contest

Industrial design junior Ryan Genena already knows how to develop a business plan. That was just one of the things he learned as a participant in last year’s CSULB Innovation Challenge. His team—a startup called 1010 Innovation with an app to help seniors—was one of four finalists in last year’s Challenge.

Genena was one of about 50 students who turned out Thursday to hear more about the contest, which provides $10,000 in seed funding and $40,000 in services to support the lucky winner’s startup.

The students came from many majors—everything from animation, marketing, and political science to industrial design and chemical and electrical engineering. Their interests were equally varied: artificial intelligence, footwear, sustainable design, safe driving, security, robotics, and human-centered design. Continue reading “Student Entrepreneurs Flock to Innovation Challenge Contest”

Innovation Challenge Holds First Kickoff Meeting

Innovation Challenge pictureAt the first kickoff meeting for the CSULB Innovation Challenge, an entrepreneurship contest supported by the colleges of the Arts, Business Administration, and Engineering, last year’s winners were more than happy to share tips with this year’s potential contestants.

The Boxing Movement team, made up of business majors Eric Lara and Anthony Gonzalez, and mechanical engineering major Gina Glionta, won the top prize of $10,000 in seed funding and $40,000 in services during the 2015-16 Innovation Challenge for a mobile boxing gym that could be trucked to recreation centers and other facilities to help seniors have fun and maintain strength. Continue reading “Innovation Challenge Holds First Kickoff Meeting”

CBA Offers Business Plan Coaching

Students interested in entrepreneurship—including those who plan to participate in the Innovation Challenge—are invited to attend business-plan coaching sessions put on by the CSULB College of Business Administration.

At 7 p.m. each Tuesday in CBA-139A, a group of MBA alumni called the Founders will hold coaching sessions about business plan writing in particular and starting a business in general. Those who have questions about their innovation, business plan, or how to start a business are invited to attend.

The Founders are comprised of Brian Budzinski, Dean Heiss, JR Jimenez, and Naki Patetefa. Budzinski received his undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering from Purdue University and works as an engineering manager at The Boeing Co. With an undergraduate degree in aeronautical science with a minor in aviation safety from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Heiss works as a senior project manager at Southern California Edison. Jimenez holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from University of California, Irvine and is a marketing and event manager for Entrepreneur Media. Patetefa, who has a CSULB undergraduate degree in finance, real estate, and law, works as a customer support manager at Ultimate Software.

Mentors Are Key in Helping Student Entrepreneurs Succeed

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Lux Nova won the 2015 Innovation Challenge with its idea for a 3D bone printer.

Student teams don’t make it to the CSULB Innovation Challenge finals alone. To get through the contest, they’re matched with mentors who help them think through ideas and submit their all-important business plans.

A joint project of the colleges of Engineering, Business Administration, and the Arts, the Innovation Challenge rewards winning teams with $10,000 in cash and $40,000 in financial, marketing, legal, and other services. The Innovation Challenge is designed to inspire entrepreneurship and produce one commercialization success each year.

Students who participate receive instruction on developing a business plan and help in finding fellow team members. But it’s the advice from mentors that’s most valuable. Continue reading “Mentors Are Key in Helping Student Entrepreneurs Succeed”

Entrepreneurs Get Lesson on Business Plans

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Writing a business plan is critical to understanding all facets of the business, says Bruce Sparks, a senior business advisor for the Long Beach Small Business Development Center.

Innovation Challenge Advisory Committee member Larry Pate compared starting a business without a business plan to taking a cross-country trip without knowing how you’ll reach your destination. “The odds of success of just getting in the car and driving are slim. You might have a fun time, but it will take you a long time to get there.”

Students interested in entering the 2015 Innovation Challenge got a lesson Tuesday in a key part of the competition: creating the business plan. The contest offers $50,000 in seed funding and business services to the winning business idea.

“It’s one thing to have an idea—it’s another to say how you’re going to make money,” said Pate, chief learning officer at Decision Systems International. Continue reading “Entrepreneurs Get Lesson on Business Plans”

Step 1 to Startup Success: Build a Winning Team

icmeetupThe Innovation Challenge is intended to give students real-world experience in starting a business. And just like in the real world, assembling a diverse team can be a barrier to entry.

Contest rules recommend teams with 3-7 members, since business ideas have a stronger chance of success if teams include people with finance, marketing, design, and technical skills.

“You can’t run a business by yourself,” said Barbara Barcon, an Innovation Challenge organizer and retired vice president and CFO with Pacific Gas and Electric. “You may like your idea, but will others like it? You’ll also need some market research.” Continue reading “Step 1 to Startup Success: Build a Winning Team”

Are You Ready to Dream Big?

If the enthusiastic crowd at the Innovation Challenge’s second information meeting is any indication, a lot of Cal State University Long Beach students have startup dreams.

startup dreamsThe annual entrepreneurial Challenge, where student teams compete to win $50,000 in funding and services for the best business idea, was started six years ago by the colleges of Engineering, Business, and the Arts. Students at Thursday’s meeting appeared equally divided between the three colleges. Continue reading “Are You Ready to Dream Big?”