Student innovation reaches new heights at ASU

April 10, 2013

ASU's Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative continues to draw record numbers of entrepreneurial students eager to find the funding, resources and support to launch their ventures. Nearly 350 applications were submitted for the 2013 Edson program, marking the fourth consecutive year that the program has seen an increase in applications. 

The Edson program offers approximately 20 student teams up to $20,000 each in seed funding, office space, mentorship and training to accelerate their venture concepts. More than $1.6 million has been awarded to student teams since the program’s inception, and more than $200,000 will be granted to the teams chosen this year. Download Full Image

The program, which is run by ASU Venture Catalyst in the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development, is one of the largest privately funded business plan competitions at a U.S. university.  

The winning ventures will be announced in May. Upon acceptance into the 2013 Edson cohort, each venture will receive funding, office space at ASU SkySong, intensive industry-specific mentorship and a number of educational opportunities designed to enable students to advance their ventures.

The 20 student ventures in the 2012 Edson cohort received numerous impressive accolades over the past year. An Edson company took home the top prize at the first-ever Arizona Student Startup Demo Day last month, competing against top student startups from all three state universities.

Another Edson venture was named one of 12 finalists in Inc. Magazine’s 2013 Coolest College Startups competition as well as one of 12 finalists in Microsoft’s Imagine Cup Grant Program and one of only six finalists in the YUM Sustainability Business Plan Competition. Still another was selected as one of the 50 Most Promising Ventures in the Startup Open competition during Global Entrepreneurship Week. 

In addition, the 2012 Edson companies collectively raised approximately $800,000 in external funding from federal grants, U.S. and international competitions and angel investors.

The Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative is a flagship program of ASU Venture Catalyst, the ASU unit that works with high-potential startup companies both inside and outside the university. ASU Venture Catalyst is a strategic unit of ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development, the research arm of ASU.

ASU compliance officer volunteers recognized at recent event

April 10, 2013

A recent breakfast sponsored by ASU Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) paid tribute to compliance officers who volunteer to help ensure that laboratories and offices at the university are operated in a safe manner.

Compliance officers take training classes through EH&S, act as conduits for information from EH&S and notify EH&S of any unresolved compliance issues involving potential safety hazards, exposures, injuries or other issues. Ray Jensen Download Full Image

ASU Athletics Director Steve Patterson welcomed the breakfast attendees. He paid tribute to compliance officers and highlighted recent successes in the Athletics department. Besides victories on the field, ASU athletes have shown a dramatic increase in academic performance with 80 percent of athletes graduating from the university, he said.

Ranko Richert, chemistry and biochemistry professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, received the EH&S award for excellence.  Richert has been instrumental in improving research labs through a committee that he chairs that addresses creating a culture of safety at the university. The committee addresses lab safety issues from improving overall safety to defining a process to shut down labs for serious safety violations.

“Ranko has done a wonderful job,” said Leon Igras, director of EH&S at ASU.

EH&S Industrial Hygienist John Lemanski also was recognized for receiving his Certified Industrial Hygienist Certification, an extremely arduous task with only 47 percent of applicants passing the fall of 2012 test to receive their certificate. 

In addition, Ray Jensen, ASU associate vice president of University Business Services, thanked compliance officers in attendance for their selfless service to the university.

“Compliance officers are an extraordinary example of what it is to be a Sun Devil. No one gets paid to be a compliance officer. You make a contribution every day and it’s a super thing,” he said.

Jensen also spoke of his 28 years at the university as he nears retirement and of directing excelling employees who all serve ASU in varying capacities.

“I have been blessed with extraordinary people who have worked with me,” Jensen said. “You all add value to the university.”

Also highlighted at the breakfast was the lab safety registration process at the Biodesign Institute that was simplified through a partnership between Biodesign and EH&S. Tools that were used included grouping lab registrations in a database and using online registrations with emergency contacts for each area.

Allen Clark, director of Emergency Preparedness at ASU, also introduced an online tool that the university will use for continuity of operations if an emergency interrupts academic and business functions at the university.