Financial Awards and a Dynamic Search Engine Bolster GCU Entrepreneurship Initiatives

by RaeAnne Marsh

Briefs_0414_GCU-AwardsGrand Canyon University’s recently announced third Canyon Challenge Business Plan Competition awards are part of a focus on entrepreneurial initiatives the university is supporting with financial incentives. GCU has allocated $10,000 to award the winners, and invites alumni who are angel investors to take part in the judging.

The entrepreneurial initiatives also encompass the Innovation, Development and Entrepreneurship Association, or IDEA club. “The purpose of the club is to be a conduit to help put the ideas of people within the GCU community into a constructive format that is presentable,” says Tim Kelley, assistant professor of entrepreneurship and economics, who is also an angel investor with the Entrepreneur Opportunity Fund and whose background includes founding several multi-million-dollar companies.

The IDEA club is a student-based organization, and Kelley says almost 300 members share their ideas on its website. The site has a dynamic search function, so each member can load his own profile and, when another member uploads a business plan, the system can search and find an individual whose interests and/or skills match the needs for the business plan. “Students with an interest and idea can collaborate with someone with a particular area of knowledge or interest,” he explains. “It creates symbiotic relationships and networking on a virtual platform.”

More than 65 IDEA club members submitted their business plans to the Canyon Challenge, vying for the $7,000, $2,000 and $1,000 awarded to first-place, second-place and third-place winners, respectively, that they can use for start-up capital.

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