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About the Villanova Student Entrepreneurship Competition

 

Executive Summary

The Villanova Student Entrepreneurship Competition is a derivative of the Villanova Social Entrepreneurship Competition, which has evolved into a broad ranging, overarching entrepreneurship competition designed to give students at Villanova University the experience of innovating, creating and designing products, businesses and/or services to fill a variety of needs in today’s world. In traditional business programs, this type of activity is typically absent as part of any curriculum given the time constraints and program directives at top universities. We intend to provide a one-semester, interdisciplinary extracurricular entrepreneurship competition for students on campus to participate in as a way to incorporate this missing experience into student’s academic lives. In another way, the competition is designed to provide a realistic, modern entrepreneurial environment in which students are able to put together comprehensive ideas and to understand, first-hand, the process of entrepreneurship in today’s rapidly changing world.

To do this, students will be given a shared communications platform to collaborate with one another and to develop their ideas beyond very initial stages. This platform, called IdeaBounce®, is an online software tool for students to use as a development component as well as for the competition to use as a submission tool. As part of the competition process, students will first be tasked with creating a submission on IdeaBounce® by uploading a short summary (~500 words) and a short elevator pitch video (~2 minutes). Several weeks later, students will submit an executive summary in order to include some of the fundamental design details, logistics and justifications for their ideas. Those students who advance from this stage are then tasked with putting together a financial viability statement, including initial projections of required capital and all impact statements. The last set of student finalists will then pitch their idea to investors in a longer oral segment (~10 minutes) in a “board room” environment. This series of deliverables for the competition is designed to create an entrepreneurial working environment which is both realistic and modern.

As this is an extracurricular activity, and in order to comply with our goal of creating a realistic entrepreneurial environment, the competition will award prize money to its finalists in a variety of ways. While the ultimate goal is not to award a winner for any particular reason (i.e. to move on and create a full business proposal), entrepreneurs must experience some semblance of competition in order to operate within the modern environment that encompasses real-world entrepreneurs of today. As such, the prize money will be substantial enough to drive competition to the appropriate level which is representative of what is experienced by today’s most successful entrepreneurs, but will not be sufficient for developing a business. Though business development is not the goal of the competition, support services are in place for those finalists who do intend to develop their ideas further as well as for those who take their competitive ideas to national competitions.

Program Goals

The goals of the newly structured SEC are deliberately general in order to include as many students as possible in the program. Listed below are the goals of the competition:
  1. To give students a platform to collaborate on projects/ideas in an interdisciplinary way. Today’s world requires this interdisciplinary, cross-collaborative thinking such that the ideas of today are sufficient for tomorrow.
  2. To give students an opportunity to deliver their ideas in a modern way that is appealing to students and entrepreneurs living in today’s world. To do this, we have set up our own network on proprietary software to provide an amorphous feedback structure that allows students to constantly develop their ideas in a very nonlinear way. As an example, students are able to post their ideas and have those ideas edited and altered by group members and general audience members (faculty, staff, alumni) on a consistent, real-time basis. In addition to this, students will have the opportunity to deliver their message through a different type of media when they create elevator pitches via internet video. This allows them to connect more personally to the people they pitch to without requiring face time. This is especially critical in initial stages, where this type of media is often absent from any interactive component between the entrepreneur (the students) and those they are pitching to (the faculty, alumni and judges in this case).
  3. To have students develop a comprehensive feasibility study in the form of an initial executive summary. This serves to provide the students with a more typical experience and to ensure that the initial ideas are taken and developed to a level that proves the idea is feasible in today’s emerging and evolving market. A financial component is added to take their idea to a level where it can be evaluated based on its ingenuity as well as its feasibility and merit.
  4. To give students an opportunity to work with and network with entrepreneurs through a mentorship component. This allows students to discover entrepreneurship second-hand as well as to take in practical lessons of great importance from entrepreneurs currently working in the field.
  5. To give students a broad experience with entrepreneurship and to introduce them to the critical, creative methods of thinking that take place rapidly in the world of entrepreneurship.