Biola Startup Competition starts this fall
Students of all majors have the opportunity to form teams, receive mentorship and develop a business idea with a campus-wide competition. | Katie Evensen/THE CHIMES
The Crowell School of Business will be hosting a kick-off event for their Biola Startup Competition on Monday Sept.14. This program creates a platform for students and alumni of any major to develop a business idea and receive mentorship from a panel of chosen Christian entrepreneurs.
“What we haven’t had is something that’s outside of the courses, that are limited in enrollment, that can have a broader impact across Biola,” said Gary Lindblad, dean of the Crowell School of Business.
The kick-off event will feature guest speaker Ron Andrews, Chief Executive Officer of Clarient Inc. from 2004 to 2010. He was chosen as a regional winner for EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011 and frequently mentors Biola’s Master of Business Administration students.
To begin the process, student groups of three or more can register starting on Sept. 14. Groups must have specific amounts of Biola and Crowell Business students but alumni from the last 10 years and non-Biola students are also welcome.
The competition will consist of three phases in which all groups begin by creating a concept paper which will lead to four to eight teams will be chosen to continue. These groups will be paired a Christian business owner who will act as their mentor.
“We’re going to invest in you, match you with a coach and help move your idea along. That’s extremely valuable,” said Robert Harp, director of special projects at Crowell School of Business.
With these coaches to aid students through the entire process, each group will create a 15-page business plan they will pitch for final judging in April 2016.
“We have a lot of products and services these days that you might say ‘Are they necessary? Are they important? Are they impactful? Are they sustainable?’ And so this is what the judges and us will be looking for,’” Lindblad said.
So far, two companies sponsor the competition. The Briner Institute will provide 50 copies of Bob Briner’s book “Roaring Lambs” that will be given to students participating in the startup competition. Brown and Streza LLP is a law firm that will provide a startup package of legal services to the first-place team and will provide complimentary consultations to the second and third place teams.
All mentors, members of the advisory board, judges and participants are Christians, creating a unique business environment. Harp referenced Colossians 3:23-24, which has been used as the theme verse for the competition.
“That’s kind of the big idea of this whole thing ― how do you honor Christ in your work, whatever kind of work you do,” Harp said.
Linus Landucci, junior public relations major, was attracted to the idea of forming a group that would help each other with ideas but did not know how to start.
“I’ve had a few ideas for apps and stuff like that. Not businesses per say, but something that in a perfect world would turn into a business,” Landucci said.
Landucci also feels it would be an excellent way for him to meet other entrepreneurs and gain experience that would benefit him in his major.
“I look forward to meeting more people that are likeminded entrepreneurially and are looking to do creative things like that,” Landucci said. “PR is pretty much working with people and representing people well, so I feel like it’s going to take a lot of jimmying to get people to get into it.”