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Entrepreneurship on the rise at ASU

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June 21, 2011

Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative applications increase 32 percent

In only its sixth year, the unique Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative at ASU experienced significant growth in interest in 2011 – further evidence of the growing entrepreneurial spirit at the university.

The Edson Initiative, which offers student teams funding, office space, mentorship and training to accelerate their venture concepts, attracted 250 applications in 2011 – a 32 percent increase over the 190 entries the previous year. More than $1.2 million has been awarded to student teams during the life of the program and more than $200,000 will be granted to the student teams chosen this year. The program is one of the largest privately funded business plan competitions at a U.S. university.

The selected student teams, which will be announced June 27, will incubate and accelerate their business ideas at SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center. A variety of mentors and venture acceleration services provided by the ASU Venture Catalyst team at SkySong will help catapult their ideas into reality.

“The increase in interest is testament to both the nature of the students in Arizona State University and to the universitywide push to foster entrepreneurship in all aspects of university life,” said Gordon McConnell, executive director of Venture Acceleration at ASU. “Entrepreneurship is a key component of the New American University that Arizona State has pioneered.”

While at ASU SkySong, the Edson Initiative ventures participate in workshops and special training led by successful entrepreneurs and business professionals. Each team also is provided entrepreneurial mentoring by a domain expert from the private sector and ASU SkySong staff, as well as the support of the ASU Venture Catalyst team.

The Edson Initiative generates interest in building new ventures and entrepreneurship as a career path among ASU students, providing the opportunity to acquire entrepreneurial skills, knowledge and perspective. The program also links student entrepreneurs with successful private sector entrepreneurs, increasing the number of new companies and products brought to market by ASU students.

Media contact:
Gordon McConnell,
Venture Acceleration