Entrepreneurship competitions launch Sept. 6

The Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Washington University in St. Louis will kick off its two business plan competitions at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6.

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

Ken Harrington (right), managing director of the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, chats with Phil Minden, part of the Sweet Sensation group that was awarded the $35,000 YouthBridge Community Foundation award during last year’s YouthBridge SEIC awards ceremony. (Credit: Kevin Lowder)

The Skandalaris Center and Regional Arts Commission (RAC) announced that RAC is joining as a sponsor in the 2013 YouthBridge Social Enterprise and Innovation Competition.

“We are very pleased that the Regional Arts Commission is joining YouthBridge and our sponsors this year to support an organization that serves the arts community. This is a very encouraging sign of the growth of the vibrant support system for all entrepreneurs and innovators in the region,” says Ken Harrington, managing director of the Skandalaris Center.

The kickoff event in Simon Hall’s May Auditorium is free and open to the public.

“We are proud to announce the Regional Arts Commission award, which will grant $30,000 to one or more nonprofit organizations that produce or present art for entrepreneurial projects that address creative community building,” says Jill McGuire, executive director of RAC.

“As a leader in elevating the vitality, value and visibility of arts organizations and artists in St. Louis, RAC encourages innovative thinking that enhances community and economic development.”

Jordan Kassalow, founder and CEO of VisionSpring, will deliver the kickoff event’s keynote. VisionSpring brings high-quality, low-cost vision care to neglected communities across the developing world, leveraging best practices from both charity and business to develop a model capable of taking on the enormous global need for vision care.

The goal of the competitions is to support the growth of the entrepreneurial community at the university and in the St. Louis region by promoting education, collaboration and team formation, which lead to the creation of successful ventures. Throughout the competition, participants receive feedback from a panel of investors and judges who are experts in entrepreneurship and innovation.

Competitors will deliver an executive summary, elevator pitch, business plan and oral presentation to judges.

For more information about the competitions, visit the Skandalaris website at sc.wustl.edu or attend an information session and IdeaBounce at 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14, in Simon Hall, Room 103.

Skandalaris Center partners in the competitions are WUSTL’s Olin Business School and the YouthBridge Community Foundation.

In addition to the RAC, sponsors in the YouthBridge SEIC include the Daughters of Charity Foundation of St. Louis and the Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis.

Skandalaris sponsors include the RCGA; RubinBrown LLP; Polsinelli Shughart PC; and Lopata Flegel & Company LLP.