ASU students: Got a good idea? Read this story

October 16, 2015

On your mark, get set — innovate!

Arizona State University students still have time to apply to two entrepreneurial contests that award thousands of dollars to the winners. person speaking in front of group Sidnee Peck, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship in the W. P. Carey School of Business, said there are a variety of ways for students to see their ideas launched, including for-credit courses and informal mentorship. Download Full Image

The Igniter Challenge and the Pakis Social Challenge each require students to submit a five-minute video by midnight Tuesday, Oct. 20.

The two competitions, sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurship in the W.P. Carey School of Business are open to any ASU students who want to pitch a good idea.

Finalists will be announced Nov. 17 and they get 90 days to ramp up their proposals. The grand-prize winners will be chosen at a “Spark Tank” gala in February.

The Igniter Challenge is for ASU students who propose a for-profit business that is scalable and highly innovative.

“The board is looking for ideas that change the way that people operate in an industry or the way an entire market behaves,” said Sidnee Peck, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship.

Five finalists will each get $5,000 to take their proposals to the next step and the winner will receive a $50,000 investment.

The prize is funded by a panel of four entrepreneurs who will negotiate equity in the project and provide crucial mentorship.

“If someone has a piece of equity, they are much more likely to make connections for you, to open doors and to spend time and resources on you,” Peck said.

This will be the second Igniter Challenge. Last year’s contest drew 69 applicants and the $50,000 investment went to HELOS, a company founded by a team of seven students to create a new step-in binding for snowboards.

The Pakis Social Challenge is new this year. It’s designed for students to create a for-profit or non-profit entity to address a social need.

Three finalists will get $7,600 each and the winner will get a $25,000 grant plus a guaranteed place in the SEEDSPOT business incubator in downtown Phoenix.

The competition is funded by the Phoenix-based Pakis Family Foundation.

“Pakis is interested in seeing students meet challenges they know a lot about, as opposed to saying, ‘We’re going to solve the clean-water crisis in a country thousands of miles away,’ ” Peck said.

Videos for both competitions must answer several questions, including: What problem are you solving? How will you make money? How will you spend the prize money?

“The mindset is that if a student has an idea, apply,” Peck said. “It’s a five-minute video. You get feedback from the judges. You never know what might resonate with the judges, even if you’re hesitating a little.”

For application details, visit:

Mary Beth Faller

reporter, ASU Now


ASU President Michael M. Crow appointed to Department of Homeland Security's academic advisory council

October 16, 2015

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced today the appointment of Arizona State University President Michael Crow to the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council (HSAAC).
The council, comprised of university presidents and academic leaders, provides advice to Johnson and senior Department of Homeland Security (DHS) leadership on matters related to homeland security and the academic community.
Since HSAAC’s formation in 2012, its members have issued more than 120 recommendations in the areas of academic research and faculty exchange, campus resilience, cybersecurity, international students, DHS academic programs and student and recent graduate recruitment.
Crow’s service on the HSAAC will draw on his distinguished career in academic research and public service, which he began in 1974 by joining the University Year for ACTION, an affiliate program of the Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA).

Crow then received his doctorate in public administration and served in various leadership roles in higher education, including as executive vice provost of Columbia University. Crow is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academy of Public Administration and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and U.S. Department of Commerce National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He also serves on the National Security Higher Education Advisory Board, which promotes understanding between the FBI and higher education on issues such as terrorism, counterintelligence and homeland security.
Since becoming ASU’s 16th president in 2002, Crow has grown the university’s robust international student presence and led to its ranking in the top ten best colleges and universities in America for international students. HSAAC executives have requested Crow’s guidance on improving the DHS’ international student processes and outreach efforts, and on how DHS can better explain regulatory interpretations and policies to the academic community while supporting emerging trends in international education.
Crow’s two-year appointment begins immediately. The full list of council members is available here. ASU President Michael Crow Arizona State University President Michael Crow has been appointed to the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council. Download Full Image