ASU launches free summer program for aspiring innovators

May 21, 2013

ASU is seeking aspiring entrepreneurs, innovators and inventors who want to develop their ideas into solutions, products and services in a free summer program.

The university is recruiting participants for AREA48 (Applied Regional Economic Activity), a revolutionary new “formation space” that provides early-stage entrepreneurs with opportunities to access human and knowledge assets. While AREA48 is open to anyone, ASU is particularly seeking participation from retirees, veterans rejoining the civilian workforce and knowledge workers seeking new opportunities. AREA 48 logo Download Full Image

Located in a former restaurant in downtown Tempe, AREA48 supports the development of entrepreneurs by providing a central place for them to connect, collaborate and create as well as receive mentorship, advice and practical business training. There is no cost to participate in AREA48, which runs from June through September. Anyone interested in participating may apply online.

The initiative, which is run by ASU Venture Catalyst – the university’s startup unit – is funded by a grant from the Blackstone Organizational Grants Program, an annual $1 million program targeting organizations that focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. Through this program, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation is helping innovative organizations that directly support entrepreneurs to pilot, expand or replicate projects or programs that will catalyze the growth of successful businesses, industries and communities.

“AREA48 provides an opportunity to harvest untapped human resources to create high-growth ventures that will spur long-term economic growth and job creation in Arizona,” said Gordon McConnell, assistant vice president for innovation and entrepreneurship in the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development at ASU. “In addition, it will become a feeder to the state’s entire entrepreneurial ecosystem, including accelerators, incubators and co-working spaces.”

At AREA48, participants from diverse backgrounds who have varied skill sets will learn to use new product development and Lean methodologies to turn ideas into solutions, products and services. The initiative’s practitioner-oriented approach allows participants to engage in hands-on activities ranging from prototyping products, to establishing a social enterprise, to turning a hobby into a business.

AREA48, which officially opens June 24, is housed in the former Bamboo Club restaurant at 699 S. Mill Ave., in Tempe. The location features team huddle spaces, areas for prototyping and testing products, classroom space for “pracademic” courses and a “showcase space” open to the public.

ASU Venture Catalyst will offer its highly successful Rapid Startup School at AREA48, with classes on topics ranging from customer development, fundraising and business modeling to product development, marketing strategies and intellectual property. In addition, ASU faculty who teach entrepreneurship and innovation will serve as academics-in-residence. 

AREA48’s location is also an innovative way of solving the problem of vacant buildings that is so prevalent in urban and downtown areas throughout the country.

“Locating AREA48 in a vacant restaurant in the heart of downtown Tempe creates easy accessibility for all audiences,” McConnell said. “It allows us to connect ASU’s tremendously diverse students, faculty and staff with AREA48 participants, helping bridge the divide that often exists between a university and its local human and economic infrastructure. Not only does this help create diverse teams, it offers students a real-world experience that is very different from a typical internship or academic course.”

Divers shine on global stage, Bradshaw named to Team USA coaching staff

May 21, 2013

In different corners of the world, the members of the Arizona State diving team showcased their elite talent by qualifying for the top international diving competitions this weekend.

Senior Harrison Jones, who had qualified for the 2013 FINA World Championships on the 1-meter springboard on Friday, also qualified to compete on the platform and possibly the 3-meter. Head coach Mark Bradshaw was also named a coach for Team USA at the World Championship games. Download Full Image

“It’s exciting for me as a coach, because I competed in three World Championships [as a competitive diver],” said head coach Mark Bradshaw. “Other than the Olympic games, this is the highest level of competition you can reach, especially for Harry in particular, who has never made it to [World Championships] before.

Jones was the only diver in the USA Diving Trials, in Tallahassee, Fla., to dive in all three disciplines: 1-meter, 3-meter and platform. Jones finished third in the 3-meter could potentially fill a vacant spot for the United States in the event because only Olympic bronze medalist Kristian Ipsen met the total point requirement to qualify at the time of the trials. While Jones’ three-round score on the 3-meter was not high enough, his final round score of 508.80 was the top score of the day. 

“Harry just nailed every dive,” said Bradshaw. “It was a dive I had seen earlier in the season when he was on a roll. He actually beat Ipsen again and scored over 500 points, which is a rarity and doesn’t happen often.“

Bradshaw was selected to the coaching staff for Team USA for the World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, Bradshaw’s first Team USA coaching appointment after competing for the organization in the late 80's including the 1988 Seoul Korea Olympics. 

From Tallahassee to Puerto Rico, three-time Pac-12 3-meter Champion Constantin Blaha, representing Austria, qualified for the World University Games with his Bronze Medal finish in his specialty event at the Puerto Rico Grand Prix. Jones also qualified for the World University Games with his performance at the World Championship Trials.

“Coco was a post-eligibility guy who just graduated,” said Bradshaw. “He continued to train for the goal in mind and it was really rewarding to see him accomplish it. This was really his last opportunity.” 

“It was really such a special week with Coco qualifying and Harry competing the way he did. It was really just a tremendous week for myself and my athletes.”

Next week, current Sun Devil divers Hailey Casper, this season’s NCAA 3-meter runner-up, and Olympic finalist Riley McCormick will compete in Canadian Nationals for an opportunity to qualify for the World Championships as well. Casper will compete in the 3-meter and 3-meter Syncro, while McCormick, who is still nursing a thumb injury, will only compete in the 3-meter springboard.

Juno Schaser

Event coordinator, Biodesign Institute