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Student entrepreneurs take ideas to market

January 06, 2010

What does it take for a good idea to catch root?

Virginia Woolf once wrote that "a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write.”

While Woolf may have been advocating for women writers, her theory certainly applies to artists and idea-makers everywhere. Woolf believed that creativity withers under the frost of poverty. Sometimes, though, it takes only a few warm days to grow the hardiest crops.

This is what ASU’s Entrepreneur Advantage Project (EAP) endeavors to accomplish. By providing a modest amount of funding (up to $2,000), the grant gives students the freedom to explore their idea by removing some of the financial barriers associated with entrepreneurial ventures. This project has been building momentum since its inception in 2007. And this year is proving to be its most successful so far.

“Not only did we receive a record number of applications, but I would say this round has been the most diverse,” said Scott Perkofski, program manager for the EAP. “Applications came from all four ASU campuses and from a majority of our degree programs. Students are really embracing the entrepreneurial spirit here at ASU. They’re taking their education to the next level by using entrepreneurship to explore their ideas. The experience and real-world education students gain through ASU’s entrepreneurial programs position them for great success in our changing world.”

Sara Christensen, coordinator for student entrepreneurship, agrees.

“It’s great to see ASU students from all majors getting a taste of what it’s like to think innovatively and be an entrepreneur," Christensen said. "I think the large number of applicants is indicative of the traction entrepreneurship is gaining here at ASU. The creative energy of these students promises to benefit greatly the local, national and global economy.”

This round of EAP winners includes projects that span the spectrum of creative thought. From organizing cultural events to developing new products that will change lives, finding innovative ways to provide services to our communities, and caring for the environment – these EAP winners are fast on their way to realizing their dreams.

Here is just a brief overview of the ideas these ASU students are growing. For a complete list of team members and interviews with the winners, please see this month’s “Our Story."


Max Altschuler with Rack N’ Ride, a shared bicycle service that provides all the benefits of bicycle ownership without the drawbacks: theft, maintenance, storage or transport.

Lauren Amarante with World Entrepreneurship Day@ASU, a central conference on World Entrepreneurship Day at the Tempe Center of the Arts.

Samantha Bock with Hobbyhood, a networking Web site providing a common ground where athletes can meet, compete and compare.

Sean Coleman with OrangeSlyce, connecting small businesses with college students for internships and project-based work.

Timothy Darling with BME Sundevil Dezign, a low-cost eye tracking system using magnetized contact lenses.

Shannon Dolan with Sheer Sensation™, providing a pure and natural skincare line while promoting sustainability and ethical business practices.

Mengying Fu with Locating Tool for Urban Planning, software for shade structure/tree location in urban environments.

Chris Gallego with Scratch Theory, software that notates scratching and translates it into western music notation and interprets it through other instruments as well.

Tejaswi Gowda with Flash Forward, software for creating and managing flash cards for student use around the world.

Sean Leoni with Oasis, mobile smoothie provider for community locations around ASU’s Tempe campus.

Sarah Pachter with Oasis Music, a music education program specializing in early childhood music and movement classes for parent and child.

Jared Schoepf with Rio Salado Habitat Team, working to solve a trash problem that plagues the Rio Salado Habitat Area just south of downtown Phoenix.

Brent Sebold with, helping aspiring children’s book writers and illustrators publish and sell children’s books.

Sarah Sullivan with TumbleFringe, creation and performance of an original play with street youth who are clients of the Tumbleweed Drop-in Center in downtown Phoenix.

Also among the winners are: James P. Garvey Jr. for Phoenix Game Studios; Ryan Brotman for Prescriptive Learning Interventions Technologies; Mary Stephens for Justice Theatre Project; and Jeremy Wong for mberry.

For more information on the Entrepreneur Advantage Project, including guidelines for entry and upcoming application workshops, please visit


Samantha Leigh Miller
University Initiatives