Approximately $8,000 in seed funding will be awarded to aspiring entrepreneurs, along with a chance to interact with angel and venture capitalist investors, thanks to a College of Business Administration competition.
The event, Bronco Startup Challenge, is open to all Cal Poly Pomona students with business ideas that are innovative and scalable. Although startups are usually associated with technology-focused companies, the competition welcomes any compelling idea. The first meeting of the challenge is at noon on Thursday, Jan. 31, in Bronco Student Center’s Centaurus room.
“The Los Angeles venture capital community is always looking for ways to connect with young people,” says marketing student Andrew Macintosh, who is helping to organize the competition. “Investors are looking for talent and are really interested in getting in touch with schools that are trying to build a culture of entrepreneurship.”
Those interested in participating don’t need a business plan or a prototype of their product. Students only need to have an idea or be willing to partner with somebody who has a plan for a business. After the launch party, Bronco Startup Challenge organizers will help students find team members, craft business plans and seek mentors.
Students with the best business plans will pitch their ideas in mid-May before a panel of judges. Last year’s judges included Howard Marks of Start Engine, who also co-founded Activision.
Although students tend to focus on starting a business after graduation, being an entrepreneur while in school has some benefits, says Mujtaba Ahsan, one of the professors involved in the challenge.
“It can take a few years to get a startup going,” says Ahsan, who teaches entrepreneurship and strategy. “If you start your business while in college, you can leverage several resources, including professors and databases, that otherwise would cost a significant amount of money.”
The event is a collaboration of College of Business Administration, the student entrepreneurship club PolyFounders and Bronco Entrepreneur Initiative, which is a collaboration of professors who are promoting entrepreneurship across academic disciplines.
The college will live-tweet the launch party through @CBACPP. For additional information on the competition, visit polyfounders.com/challenge.
(Photo: Andrew Macintosh, Professor Mujtaba Ahsan)