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ASU Edson program seeks to fund next generation of student entrepreneurs

March 01, 2012

ASU Venture Catalyst, part of ASU SkySong, officially has launched the 2012 application for the Edson Student Entrepreneur competition, to find and support the best new and innovative student startups in Arizona State University.

Now entering its eighth year, the Edson Student Entrepreneurship Initiative is the university’s premier student startup competition, as well as one of the largest privately funded business plan competitions at a U.S. university.

“We are thrilled to announce the launch of our 2012 application," said Brent Sebold, venture manager for the Edson program. "Students can win up to $20,000 in funding as well as mentoring and office space to advance their venture ideas. More importantly, we have added over 70 leading mentors to the program in the last eight months, including mentors in Silicon Valley, New York and Europe.

“We plan to build on the success of this past year's Edson cohort which included three of the five finalists in Entrepreneur Magazine's “College Entrepreneur of the Year” award and the eventual overall winner, G3Box,” he added.

The Edson program’s main objective is helping students turn their venture concepts into viable businesses. Over a third of the companies that were funded in the 2011 Edson cohort currently are generating revenue. Edson companies also have been encouraged to compete in other U.S. and international business plan competitions, where they have overwhelmingly placed in the top five.

In addition, the current group of Edson companies has raised more than $100,000 in additional funding from local, national and global startup competitions and grants. 

Both undergraduate and graduate students can apply for the competition. Individual students may submit a variety of venture concept proposals, and multiple submissions will not decrease the likelihood of being selected for funding. Additionally, all ASU students, including Barrett Honors students, are encouraged to adapt their problem-solving term papers or honors theses into Edson venture proposals. Beyond funding, student ventures have 24/7 access to office space at ASU SkySong and world-class industry mentors. 

“This is about giving student entrepreneurs the means to not only create their own jobs but provide new jobs and create wealth,” said Gordon McConnell, executive director of the ASU Venture Catalyst. “Many of this year’s Edson companies are manufacturing ventures, and we can envision the next generation of product manufacturing companies in the United States coming from our student ventures.”

For further information, interested parties can check in with the Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative via Facebook at or via the dedicated website at The application process is simple and quick, and budding entrepreneurial students may seek help from the ASU Venture Catalyst team when preparing their venture proposals for submission.

Venture Catalyst team members will be holding application workshops and office hours on all four ASU campuses throughout the month of March. The deadline to apply to the Edson competition is midnight, Sunday, April 1.