On a recent trip to visit extended family, Cjala Surratt ’22, founder of the Black Citizens Brigade, was presented with a gift—her late grandmother’s boiler room jacket. Surratt’s grandmother had been a ship-fitter in Norfolk, Virginia, and the clothing item…
Students Pitch for as Much as $10,000 at RvD IDEA Awards
There is no shortage of creative students with innovative, entrepreneurial ideas on the SU campus. Whether you’re in the Panasci Lounge at Schine or waiting in line at Starbucks, you can hear students talking about the “What ifs” and realizing that “I can find a better way to do that.” But where do the ideas go from there? And how does a college student get funding to get a nonprofit or for-profit venture off the ground?
They enter the RvD IDEA Awards competition and pitch on April 12 for as much as $10,000 in seed funding.
The RvD IDEA Awards fund students to execute their ideas. The application is short and simple, and then applicants are invited to a 30-minute interview that will determine whether they go on to pitch as finalists on April 12.
The RvD IDEA Awards were created in 2010 to help Central New York college and university students start for-profit or nonprofit ventures. Students want to meet other like-minded students, they want to meet people who can help turn their ideas into reality, and, of course, they need seed funding to start their ventures. The RvD IDEA Awards are the seed funding arm of the IDEA office at SU.
“Over the past six years, we’ve been working hard to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem on campus and connect it to Central New York. And now there’s this tangible, contagious excitement about entrepreneurship coming from all directions,” says Stacey Keefe, executive director of the RvD IDEA. “The IDEA Awards directly support student entrepreneurs. When we started, our hope was that students would graduate and stay in Central New York to grow their businesses. We’re seeing that happen.”
Jaimie Gerst, 2013 industrial and interactive design alum, founded Carrying Oxygen and won a $10,000 RvD IDEA Award in 2013.
“After realizing how my industrial design thesis, ‘Carrying Oxygen,’ could help supplemental oxygen users, it was clear that I needed to attempt to bring this concept to reality,” says Gerst. “Receiving the RVD Award provided me with the opportunity to start a business and mass produce my own concept—something most design students never get to experience.”
Students can enter their idea or venture in one of six categories: biotech/health care, energy/sustainability, products and services, software/IT, nanotech/high-tech and social/nonprofit.
IDEA encourages all students who want to apply for the RvD IDEA Awards to meet with Keefe (email@example.com) or Tony Kershaw (firstname.lastname@example.org) to make their application as strong as possible. There will also be pitch workshops in March and April to help prepare students for the competition.
For more information, visit http://idea.syr.edu/competitions/rvd-idea-awards/.