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ASU students: Got a good idea? Read this story

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Sidnee Peck, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship in the W. P. Carey School of Business, said there are a variety of ways for students to see their ideas launched, including for-credit courses and informal mentorship.

October 16, 2015

On your mark, get set — innovate!

Arizona State University students still have time to apply to two entrepreneurial contests that award thousands of dollars to the winners.

The Igniter Challenge and the Pakis Social Challenge each require students to submit a five-minute video by midnight Tuesday, Oct. 20.

The two competitions, sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurship in the W.P. Carey School of Business are open to any ASU students who want to pitch a good idea.

Finalists will be announced Nov. 17 and they get 90 days to ramp up their proposals. The grand-prize winners will be chosen at a “Spark Tank” gala in February.

The Igniter Challenge is for ASU students who propose a for-profit business that is scalable and highly innovative.

“The board is looking for ideas that change the way that people operate in an industry or the way an entire market behaves,” said Sidnee Peck, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship.

Five finalists will each get $5,000 to take their proposals to the next step and the winner will receive a $50,000 investment.

The prize is funded by a panel of four entrepreneurs who will negotiate equity in the project and provide crucial mentorship.

“If someone has a piece of equity, they are much more likely to make connections for you, to open doors and to spend time and resources on you,” Peck said.

This will be the second Igniter Challenge. Last year’s contest drew 69 applicants and the $50,000 investment went to HELOS, a company founded by a team of seven students to create a new step-in binding for snowboards.

The Pakis Social Challenge is new this year. It’s designed for students to create a for-profit or non-profit entity to address a social need.

Three finalists will get $7,600 each and the winner will get a $25,000 grant plus a guaranteed place in the SEEDSPOT business incubator in downtown Phoenix.

The competition is funded by the Phoenix-based Pakis Family Foundation.

“Pakis is interested in seeing students meet challenges they know a lot about, as opposed to saying, ‘We’re going to solve the clean-water crisis in a country thousands of miles away,’ ” Peck said.

Videos for both competitions must answer several questions, including: What problem are you solving? How will you make money? How will you spend the prize money?

“The mindset is that if a student has an idea, apply,” Peck said. “It’s a five-minute video. You get feedback from the judges. You never know what might resonate with the judges, even if you’re hesitating a little.”

For application details, visit:

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