Public invited to startup competition finals

5 Cal Lutheran student teams will pitch in last round

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Last year’s winner was Coding Autism, which was co-led by Oliver Thornton, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in May. 

Photo: Brian Stethem

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – April 10, 2017) The public is invited to watch California Lutheran University students pitch their startup projects in the finals of the New Venture Competition on Thursday, April 27.

Judges will award cash prizes to finalists in the third year of the free event, which is part of the university’s 11th Annual Festival of Scholars. Audience members will vote for the people’s choice award.

Beginning at 4 p.m., the five finalist teams will each deliver a 10-minute presentation and answer questions from a panel of judges in Lundring Events Center on the Thousand Oaks campus. Food and beverages will be served during deliberations and voting from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Award announcements will follow.

This year’s program will also feature a short non-competitive pitch by fourth- and fifth-graders from Westlake Elementary School. The students developed wearable heating products while participating in Start-Up Kids, an eight-week program in which Cal Lutheran faculty and students guide children from coming up with ideas to creating a new venture.

About 60 students entered the competition in January. They attended workshops, brainstormed ideas for new businesses, formed teams, identified and interviewed potential customers, and developed product ideas with guidance from faculty members and professionals. Faculty organizers will narrow the field to five teams the week before the finals.

Teams are judged on startup value proposition, elegance of the startup’s business model, quality of presentation and progress made toward startup launch.

The Cal Lutheran Center for Entrepreneurship hosts the competition to provide undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines with the opportunity to learn entrepreneurial skills, experience the challenge of launching a startup business, and connect with mentors and investors.

Last year’s winner was Coding Autism, which was co-led by Oliver Thornton, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in May. Coding Autism recently launched an equity crowdfunding campaign for the service to teach high-functioning people with autism to code and connect them to employers.

Cal Lutheran’s Community Leaders Association, SoCal IP Law Group, Persistence Partners, Stradling and MyCorporation are sponsoring the competition.

Registration is required. To RSVP or for more information, go to CalLutheran.edu/entrepreneurship.

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