ASU launches startup competition to find next generation of student entrepreneurs

February 5, 2014

Aspiring student entrepreneurs at Arizona State University are invited to apply for the Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative to get funding and other support for their ventures.  

Now entering its 10th year, the Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative is the university’s premier student startup competition. Managed by ASU’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group, part of the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development, the initiative is one of the largest privately funded business plan competitions at a U.S. university. Its aim is to give ASU’s student entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop their innovative ideas and launch viable startup companies. Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative logo Download Full Image

Made possible by an investment from the J. Orin Edson Foundation to the ASU Foundation for A New American University, the Edson program has provided approximately $1.6 million in seed-funding grants, as well as office space and mentorship to student ventures over the past nine years. In the 2013 Edson competition, 355 teams representing more than 2,000 students across the university submitted proposals, the fourth year in a row the university saw an increase in applications.

Each year the competition’s top 20 student ventures are selected to receive funding, office space, training and mentorship over a 10-month period. This year, an additional 30 student startups will receive funding and mentorship through the Great Little Companies Network, a campus-based program housed at the Changemaker Central locations on each of ASU’s four campuses. In total, $400,000 in direct funding is available for up to 50 student ventures, with all of the funding coming from private sources.

In addition, ASU colleges and schools will compete to be recognized as ASU’s “most entrepreneurial college or school” in the second annual Startup Bowl. The college or school that generates the highest percentage of Edson proposals per capita will be honored as the winner of the Startup Bowl. The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering took home the inaugural Startup Bowl trophy in 2013.

“ASU has an incredible track record of supporting early-stage student entrepreneurs who want to launch startups in areas ranging from manufacturing to high-tech to social enterprise and more,” said Gordon McConnell, assistant vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation at ASU. “We have a significant mentor pool through ASU SkySong that helps these teams turn their ideas into real companies that have a real impact on the world.”

The Edson competition is open to all ASU students, including undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral and part-time students enrolled in any ASU program. At least one member of the team must be an ASU student at the time the team’s proposal is submitted. Individual students may submit more than one proposal; multiple submissions will not decrease the likelihood of being selected for funding. Additionally, all ASU students, including Barrett Honors College students, are encouraged to adapt their problem-solving term papers or honors theses into Edson proposals.  

Each team must complete the competition’s online application by 5 p.m., April 1. The application process is simple and quick, and students needing help with their applications are invited to attend application workshops and Entrepreneur Office Hours on all four ASU campuses throughout the months of February and March.

For more information, visit the Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative website or Facebook page.

Beyond the book: ASU project explores books as knowledge systems

February 6, 2014

As bits replace pages and databases transform libraries, what is the future of knowledge? If we change the definition of “book,” does that change how we define knowledge?

Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination will continue its future of the book project Feb. 6-7 with a book sprint on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus. At the book sprint, a diverse team of contributors will work together to write, edit, assemble and digitally publish a book in just 48 hours. Sprint Beyond the Book - blending physical with digital Download Full Image

The volume will consider the future of books as systems for creating, organizing and disseminating knowledge, and it will be free to read and share under a Creative Commons license at the project’s website:

The center invites readers, writers, publishers and students everywhere to become a co-author and contribute their ideas to the project at The website allows people anywhere in the world to see the book take shape in real time. Participants can also contribute to the project and follow the book sprint’s progress using the Twitter hashtag #beyondthebookASU.

“This project imagines the future of knowledge – collaborative, transparent, immediate – as an experiment,” says Ed Finn, director of the Center for Science and the Imagination. “Bringing these experts together is a way to test new modes of scholarship while asking fundamental questions about the nature of knowledge and book culture.”

The book sprint is the second phase of Sprint Beyond the Book, a year-long series of public experiments in digital bookmaking designed to generate fresh insights on how reading, writing and literary culture will be reshaped by technological, economic and social change.

The first phase of Sprint Beyond the Book took place last October at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world’s largest book and media event. In Frankfurt, the Center for Science and the Imagination created Beyond the Book: The Future of Publishing with a core team of authors: veteran publisher and Virginia Quarterly Review web editor Jane Friedman, science fiction author Charlie Stross, journalist and ASU professor Dan Gillmor, English professor and novelist Lee Konstantinou, futurist Brian David Johnson and Corey Pressman, president of the digital publishing and design firm Exprima Media. It is also free to read and share at

The theme for the book sprint is “The Future of the Book as a Knowledge System.” Key questions that will be debated and expanded upon include: How will digital textbooks transform teaching and learning? What new kinds of reading communities will form around the books of the future? How can we archive and preserve digital books as carefully and lovingly as paper books? Does changing the definition of “book” change the definition of “knowledge”? How can we encourage playfulness and experimentation in book design and authorship?

Authors and editors will collaborate throughout the book sprint using a suite of digital tools that enables real-time collaborative writing, responsive feedback and revision, multimedia integration and an iterative publication process that builds a “living” book that can be updated and enriched continuously. The core team of writers for the project includes ASU faculty from: the School of Arts, Media and Engineering; Department of English; School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering; Hugh Downs School of Human Communication; College of Technology and Innovation, School of Letters and Sciences; School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies; New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences; Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication; Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes; and Learning Sciences Institute.

Experts joining the book sprint from outside ASU include:

• Amaranth Borsuk, assistant professor, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington, Bothell

• Torie Bosch, editor, Future Tense, Slate magazine

• Anouk Lang, lecturer, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Strathclyde

• C. Max Magee, founding editor, The Millions online literary magazine

• Richard Nash, vice president of Community and Content, Small Demons; publisher, Red Lemonade

• Corey Pressman, president, Exprima Media

• Scott Selisker, visiting assistant professor, Department of English, University of Arizona

• Bob Stein, founder and co-director, Institute for the Future of the Book; Founder, The Voyager Company

• Dennis Tenen, assistant professor, Department of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

Additional writers contributing material remotely as part of the project’s global network include: journalist and ASU professor Dan Gillmor; Ariel Bogle, research associate at the New America Foundation; and David M. Berry, co-director of the Centre for Material Digital Culture at the University of Sussex.

Joey Eschrich

program manager, Center for Science and the Imagination