The Springboard 2010 Team will give away up to $50,000 in cash and in-kind awards to the top contestants in the third annual Springboard Ideas Challenge. The contest, organized by the College of Business Administration, aims to encourage entrepreneurship in the Abilene community.
“The goal is to instill excitement for an entrepreneurial spirit,” said Kevin Christian, ACU alumnus and director of Entrepreneurship Programs.
Students from all of the Abilene colleges and universities can participate in the Springboard Challenge can submit a “mini-business plan” in hopes of winning prize money and assistance in the start-up process. The main purpose of the competition, however, is to increase enthusiasm for entrepreneurship on campus and in the Abilene area.
Students may submit applications for for-profit business initiatives, which can include social entrepreneurship projects. The plans must fit into one of three categories: college student, community pre-revenue and community post-revenue. An elevator pitch contest is also being offered for the first time.
Springboard encourages students to form a team to develop the plan. An intent to submit an idea is due March 24.
Only two days after submission, Business Plan Boot Camps will begin; experienced professionals will provide coaching to all the participants to help each plan have its best chance of winning.
“The goal is to educate and train the students for how they truly can launch into a business,” Christian said. “Because in reality any one of our students could go create the next Google.”
Jim Porter, ACU’s entrepreneur-in-residence, launched the Springboard Ideas Challenge two years ago after seeing the success of competitions at other places like Rice University. Christian said the Springboard Accelerator has since launched “to provide ongoing support of and assistance to our campus innovators and entrepreneurs in addition to the competition.”
In the three short years Springboard has been at ACU, it has continuously grown in support and participation. Natalie Fleet, sophomore business management major from Abilene, said the competition equips students for the real world. Registration is open, and applicants must pay $10 per proposal.
“It encourages students to think more about real business ideas and prepares us for a competitive business world,” Fleet said.