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World Entrepreneurship Day celebrates innovation

April 08, 2010

If you had a million dollars right now, how would you use it to change the world? This is the question the Crown Scholarship program is asking ASU students, and ASU students will be among those with the opportunity to decide who answered best.

On April 16, World Entrepreneurship Day (W.E.D.), ASU and the Entrepreneurs@ASU student organization will join together to host a day of events that empower and engage ASU students, including:

• Edson Venture Creator Pitches: 9 a.m.-12 p.m., Memorial Union, room 220.

• Entrepreneurship and Innovation Workshop Sessions: 1-3 p.m., Memorial Union, second floor.

• Entrepreneurs@ASU World Entrepreneurship Celebration: 7-9 p.m., Tempe Center for the Arts.

Visit the W.E.D. for full event and registration details. And, yes, there is even an opportunity for students to vote for who they think should be awarded entrepreneurship scholarship funds.

After a morning of Edson Venture Creator Pitches and an afternoon of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Workshops, the day’s energy will culminate with a main event: the Entrepreneurs@ASU World Entrepreneurship Day (W.E.D.) Celebration, to take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Tempe Center for the Arts.

Students attending will have a chance to weigh in on who they think should be awarded a $2,000 Crown Scholarship.

“We’re trying something fresh and giving students the opportunity to vote,” said Tyler Metcalf, co-president of the Entrepreneurs@ASU student organization.

This year, the Entrepreneurs@ASU student organization is promoting and coordinating the Crown Scholars program, an opportunity for five students to be awarded $2,000 for the 2010-2011 academic year. At the W.E.D. Celebration, scholarship finalists will present pitches regarding how they would change the world if they had $1 million dollars. One of the five winners will be announced in front of the live crowd, selected in part by student voters. Instructions for how to apply can be found here.

And that’s not all…

“We’re really excited about the W.E.D. celebration because it’s amazing that such diverse entrepreneurship talent will be in one room!” said Lauren Amarante, co-president of the Entrepreneurs@ASU student organization.

The evening event will feature accomplished entrepreneurs such as Matt Pittinsky, founder of Blackboard; Doug Ducey,  former chief executive officer of Coldstone Creamery; and Chris Boshuizen, former director of the Space Generation and Advisory Council at NASA Ames. These guests, among other entrepreneurship experts, will deliver speeches and present via panels about their thoughts on how younger generations’ entrepreneurial pursuits will shape the future of America.

For students seeking a more intimate discussion with experts in entrepreneurship and innovation, the afternoon Entrepreneurship and Innovation Workshop series is a great fit. The series, offered concurrently from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., feature Scott Ballum (, Brandon Willey (Redpear), and Jess Rimmington (One World Youth Project), among other professionals.

“We’ve developed the sessions to allow students to connect and interact with individuals who have a great deal of experience in entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Maggie McGannon, University Innovation Fellow in the ASU Office of University Initiatives. These same experts will be judging morning elevator pitches for the Challenges Innovator, Community Changemaker, and Edson Venture Creator competitions, three tracks of the ASU Innovation Challenge (

Edson Venture Creator Pitches are open to the general public. Students will deliver three-minute pitches to demonstrate why their Edson venture ideas should be selected to advance to the final judging round.

“We want students to see what neat ideas their peers are acting on,” said Scott Perkofski, program manager of the Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative. “We hope the energy and the presentation of innovative ideas inspires students to submit applications for the Edson competition next year.”

The final track of the ASU Innovation Challenge, the Innovation Explorer track, is still accepting submissions. Students must attend six events over the course of the semester, Tweet or Facebook post about them, and enter to win up to $500.

“Students can attend all three events on the 16th and if they Facebook or Tweet about them, they’re already halfway there,” Perkofski said. Other entrepreneurship and innovation events can be found online. For information about World Entrepreneurship Day, visit