Student Organization Competitions Foster Entrepreneurial Spirit
By Hannah Gordon
When Santa Clara students compete in the Engineering and Business Alliance Business Plan Competition for $10,000 in prizes, they benefit from the hard lessons learned by Mohammad Musa ’03. Musa tried to start his first company in 2004 while pursuing his Masters’ degree in Computer Engineering at Santa Clara University.
“Things did not work out that well,” said Musa, who currently works full-time at the semiconductor start-up Sonics while finishing his Masters’ degree. “I thought, ‘There is so much information I wish someone had told me about how to start a company.’”
Rather than keep his trials and tribulations to himself, Musa decided to gather fellow students he knew who were interested in the start-up world and launch the Engineering and Business Alliance (EBA). With funding provided from the Dean of Engineering, EBA held its first Elevator Pitch Competition in 2005. Students had two minutes to pitch their idea to a panel of judges, without any visual aids, and five minutes total including a question and answer session. In 2006, the EBA hosted its first Business Plan Competition with the $10,000 in prizes donated by SCU alum John Ocampo.
The EBA partners with the MBA student organization Entrepreneur Connection to serve Santa Clara’s future entrepreneurs.
“Since Mohammad and the EBA have taken it from the engineering perspective, we are a complement to them,” said Jay Allardyce '07, President of Entrepreneur Connection, an MBA student, and Manager of Mergers & Acquisitions at Hewlett Packard.
“The EBA and the EC meet regularly to make sure we are leveraging from each other as opposed to providing conflicting messages and events,” Allardyce added. “We have different but similar audiences so it is a collaborative effort to combine the abilities for students from the engineering and the business schools.”
To expose MBA students to the realm of Venture Capital and Startups, the EC will play host to the Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC), which will be held on campus Jan 19th, 07. The focus of the VCIC is to provide students with the hands-on experience in evaluating new ventures, their funding models, and placements relative to their competitive landscape. Being located in Silicon Valley provides Santa Clara MBA students an advantage in the startup and venture capital realms. It is through the EC’s mission, Enable the Silicon Valley Entrepreneurial Mindset, that part-time MBA students are able to test and foster their startup ideas during the course of their MBA program.
In addition, the EC is starting a program called, ‘Entrepreneur in Residence,’ where an undergraduate student will be selected for mentorship by M.B.A. students who are members of the EC. “This approach provides undergraduates a unique opportunity to tap into the graduate student population for guidance in formulating, testing, and creating new ventures through the experience and trials that members of the EC mentoring group have experienced through their own endeavors’. Not only will our select undergraduates partake in this program, but so will Graduate MBA and Engineering students,” confirmed Allardyce.
“All of us are here to drive the entrepreneurial spirit at Santa Clara.”
For more information, please visit the EBA at http://eba.scu.edu/joomla/, and the EC at http://www.scunetworks-mbaec.org/.