Student entrepreneurs will compete for $15,000 at the SBCC Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation New Venture Challenge this week.
The New Venture Challenge is a two-tiered business plan competition for students from SBCC, Antioch University Santa Barbara and at South Coast high schools. While the winner will have a chance to win $4,000 in startup capital, sometimes participants can learn more from failure than success, Scheinfeld Center director Melissa Moreno said.
“What’s more important is perseverance in the face of ‘no,’” she said. “You will hear no over and over again, and if you don’t persevere and don’t figure out a way to get to yes, you probably won’t be an entrepreneur.”
Small Business Development Center volunteers judge students on their applications and select 15 finalists to pitch their plans beginning at 2:30 p.m. May 4 at the Fé Bland Forum on SBCC’s West Campus.
“Anything students can do to further their survival in today’s economy is very important,” Moreno said. “I believe entrepreneurship offers a way of making a living, with the potential for significant income, when jobs are so scarce.”
According to the Labor Department, 505,473 businesses were born in 2010 — the lowest number since 1994. SBCC business students learn how to minimize risk, calculate decision making, do hands-on product development and receive support from the Small Business Development Center, Moreno said.
“The New Venture Challenge is just one component of our program to push students to further their business idea and to take one step closer to the execution of their idea,” she said. “Hopefully they come away with what it takes to plan a business, how important it is to be able to articulate their concepts, and the importance of how it’s perceived by some high-level judges.”
The challenge was integrated into the academic program and part of the business planning capstone course. There will be more than 40 entrants this year, including Enterprise Launch workshop students who are learning how to rapidly transform an idea into a researched business plan.
SBCC student Justin Connell co-founded Garden on Wheels, an elevated mobile garden that caters to people who can’t bend or don’t have much space. Garden on Wheels earned top honors at the Enterprise Launch competition where it competed against nine other teams for startup funding. The elevated garden features a sealed bed and draining system that help keep pests out, maximize space, house a tool rack and an optional trellis. All Enterprise Launch students can compete in the New Venture Competition.
“We have a product that is ready to go,” Connell told Noozhawk previously. “We can make sales tomorrow. It wouldn’t have been possible without this program.”
A program like the New Venture Competition is just what the students need right now, Moreno said.
“It’s a very exciting time for the Scheinfeld Center,” she said. “In the midst of this budget crisis it’s precisely what the students need. They need hope and they need a way to make money.”