Fourteen Collegiate business startups began the day on April 27 at the Colorado State University Lory Student Center for the CSU Collegiate Challenge in hopes of winning $20,000 to support their business.
This is the third year of the CSU Collegiate Challenge and it is designed to showcase the business startup community in northern Colorado as well as to celebrate entrepreneurship. Past and present students of universities from Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Kansas and Nebraska all come together to pitch startup business ideas.
The competition is composed of multiple parts including: the Collegiate Business Pitch Competition Seed and Finals Rounds, and the Innovation Symposium. The Innovation Symposium is designed to showcase various projects current CSU students are working on and highlights the most innovative research at the moment.
Those participating in the CSU Collegiate Challenge are mentored by two to three business coaches up until the time they are set to present in the competition. Out of the various investors in the Challenge the Rockies Venture Club is one of the longest running angel investors who reviews the different startup business projects.
The Institute for Entrepreneurship in the College of Business organizes the entire event, and works closely with the CSU Venture Accelerator Program. The Venture program is created to educate students and introduce them to the entrepreneurship ecosystem.
“The Institute for Entrepreneurship is the organizer of the event and we did this in partnership with the CSU Venture program,” said Christine Chin, the interim director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship at CSU. “The event is geared towards providing educational opportunities all over CSU’s campus to educate and connect them to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
The awards presented range from people’s choice to best in show. Four of the 14 original collegiate ventures moved on to the final business pitch round, three being from CSU: IgnoreU, SiVec Biotechnologies and Insecticycle.
Lyndsey Linke, founder and CEO of SiVec Biotechnologies, won both people’s choice and first place in the competition.
“I was not expecting this outcome whatsoever,” Linke said. “Just getting this feedback and validation that you’re working towards something that can have impact is very meaningful. It’s been an amazing experience.”
SiVec Biotechnologies is designed to help combat Birdflu in various parts of the world. She describes her aerosol vaccine technology as a, “simple solution to a global problem.”
Linke also credits part of her success to the helpfulness of the CSU Venture program, and plans to use part of her recent $20,000 winnings to license her technology through CSU Ventures.
Innovation Symposium Winners:
Best in Show: Thor Hogberg and Kyle Greer (Mechanical Engineering)
Peoples Choice: Sanli Movafaghi (Mechanical Engineering)
Business Pitch Winners:
Peoples Choice: SiVec Biotechnologies
1st Place: SiVec Biotechnologies
2nd Place: IgnoreU
Collegian Reporter Savannah Hoag can be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @sav_hoag.