Major entrepreneurship initiatives kick off Sept. 8

Olin Cup, YouthBridge competitions combined offer more than $200,000 in seed money

The Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies will kick off its two business plan competitions on Thursday, Sept. 8.

Combined, the Olin Cup and YouthBridge Social Enterprise and Innovation Competitions will award more than $200,000 in funding for new commercial and social ventures.

The kickoff event in Simon Hall’s May Auditorium is free and open to the public. Nancy Lublin, CEO of Do Something Inc. and creator of Dress for Success, will be the keynote speaker.

Both initiatives are sponsored by the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.

The goal of the Olin Cup Competition is to support the growth of the entrepreneurial community at Washington University and the St. Louis region by promoting education, collaboration and team formation leading to the creation of successful early-stage commercial ventures.

In February 2012, the competition will award a total of $75,000, including $5,000 to a student team. Last year’s winning team, led by two WUSTL engineering students, created NanoMed, a company that uses electrospun nanofiber to create synthetic surgical mesh capable of repairing and replacing the protective membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

Other important Olin Cup dates this academic year are:

  • Sept. 16: YouthBridge SEIC/Olin Cup IdeaBounce
  • Oct. 17: Olin Cup executive summaries due
  • Oct. 24: Semi-finalists announced
  • Nov. 10: Elevator pitch competition
  • Jan. 4, 2012: Business plans due
  • Jan. 19, 2012: Final presentations
  • Feb. 1, 2012: Awards ceremony

The YouthBridge Social Enterprise and Innovation Competition, the first of its kind in the region, was launched in the fall of 2005 as a partnership between WUSTL and the YouthBridge Community Foundation. The competition provides total awards of at least $125,000 and has awarded more than $650,000 in grants and in-kind services in its history. The SEIC also includes a $5,000 student cash prize.

The competition promotes the development of innovative approaches to social problems to enhance sustainability and increase capacity of mission-based organizations, moving these social ventures beyond traditional dependence on philanthropy and government. Throughout the competition, participants receive feedback from a panel of social investors and judges who are experts in social entrepreneurship and innovation.

Other important SEIC dates this academic year are:

  • Sept. 16: YouthBridge SEIC/Olin Cup IdeaBounce
  • Jan. 3, 2012: Executive summaries due
  • Jan. 11, 2012: Semi-finalists announced
  • Jan. 26, 2012: Elevator pitch competition
  • March 20, 2012: Business plans due
  • April 4, 2012: Final presentations
  • April 11, 2012: Awards ceremony

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