You know someone means business when they dispense with a preamble and place the apply now button at the top of a post!
And we absolutely mean business. Today is the last day to apply for the CSUF Startup Competition. This competition is open to all students who are the least bit entrepreneurial. If you have an idea for a business or nonprofit, even if you think the idea wouldn’t be a good fit for a university competition, you should definitely apply.
How about this? We’ll go through the application process together with some mock answers:
Name(s) of Team Member(s)
What is the problem that you are solving?
I have noticed that the other elephants are always swatting away flies, and that’s annoying. It takes up time and I just want all my fellow elephants to be a little bit happier.
What is your solution?
Well, this is embarrassing, but it’s like one of those beer can hats (you know the ones with the two cans on the hat with the tubing that goes to your mouth?). However, instead of delicious beer, there’s a bug zapper. Whenever one of those nuisances with wings gets too close… zap!
Who are your customers?
The elephants that are most likely to purchase my Elephant Bug Zapper Hat(tm) are mother elephants with young children. They are the primary customers early on because they are most likely to purchase a device that will bring a little peace and harmony to their packs.
How will you make money from this idea? (If you are a nonprofit then answer the question “What kind of impact do you hope to have?”)
The primary revenue source for this product will be direct sales to elephants. We expect sales in excess of $1MM (that’s one million dollars) in the first year. We think we will be able to reach those numbers due to the conversations we have had with elephants and because this is a transformational product.
In addition to selling the hats, we will also be selling replacement zappers and are even considering creating a subscription model for replacements. Additionally, we will sell other attachments, including: different hat styles, head covers to keep the zapped bugs off of the elephants’ heads, and our own branded line of bug zapper merch.
What resources do you need to launch your startup?
In terms of funding, we believe that with $50,000 we can start production. We have been in talks with manufacturers and we are in the process of inking a deal with one of them. The $50,000 will be used to produce the first run of 500 units, legal, marketing, and with some of those funds being held in reserve.
We need introductions to international intellectual property attorneys to help us secure the rights to our product, including patents and trademarks. Additionally, we would like to discuss licensing with an expert in that field to help us understand what opportunities we have there as well.
Finally, we will need some temporary space to use as office and fulfillment space (alternatively, an introduction to a company that does fulfillment would work).
And that would be it! It took about five minutes to write this up and, sure, it’s not real (elephants can’t apply for patents or form LLCs, at least I don’t think they can). But, if you have an idea for something real, something that you would want to launch, then you probably already have somewhat decent answers to all of these questions.
What we are really looking for are interesting concepts. If you don’t know what the different between a patent and a trademark are, that’s fine. There are a lot of very successful entrepreneurs out there today who didn’t know the difference. But they started out somewhere and were more focused on building something than on knowing all the right answers before setting out on their entrepreneurial journeys.
So, what’s stopping you? Please submit an application today.
That’s great and all but what’s in it for me?
First of all: You get started as an entrepreneur. You can get feedback about your idea and help if you ask for it. Getting an idea out of your head and into the world is the first step towards starting something worthwhile.
But I’m guessing you’re talking about awards, right? There are definitely awards. Both scholarships and in-kind awards will be earned by those students who make it to the finals of the competition (which are on April 19 in the Titan Student Union – RSVP today!).
We are still in the process of ironing out all of the awards so while we cannot say what they are for this year we can say that last year in excess of $20,000 in scholarships and in-kind awards were given to the finalists (of that more than $5,000 of it were scholarships in 2018).
What about me? I’m not a student but I want to support the competition!
Glad you asked!
We definitely need financial sponsors and if you would like to be a named sponsor (i.e. a big donor), see this page first and contact us for more information.
We are also looking for in-kind sponsors. These are people or companies that are willing to provide a service or product (a couple of examples include mentoring and website building) then please get in touch with us.
For inquiries about how to sponsor the CSUF Startup Competition as a donor and/or in-kind sponsor please reach out to us at email@example.com for more information
We are dedicated to helping the next generation of entrepreneurs develop the skills that they need to compete locally and globally. The CSUF Entrepreneurship program does many things,