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Applications Open for RvD iPrize and Hunter Brooks Watson Spirit of Entrepreneurship Competitions
The School of Information Studies (iSchool) with support from the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University Libraries (LaunchPad) are now accepting applications through March 15 for the Raymond von Dran (RvD) iPrize pitch competition and the Hunter Brooks Watson Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award. The concurrent competitions are open to all full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students at Syracuse University. The combined event will be held on Friday, March 25, at Bird Library from 2 to 5 p.m.
Students can apply now through a simple common application that includes a one-page executive summary [PDF] of a proposed product, service, technology or creative venture that could become a for-profit or non-profit enterprise. Prizes totaling $40,000 will be awarded to top performing students across various categories through the RvD Fund. An additional $10,000 will be awarded to student teams through the Hunter Brooks Watson Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award. Top place winners will also be able to move on to the New York State Business Plan competition. Mentors from the LaunchPad will work with applicants on formulating a five-minute pitch and preparing for a question-and-answer session from a distinguished panel of judges. To prepare for the competition, the LaunchPad is offering a pitch workshop on March 4.
The RvD Fund is named after former iSchool dean Raymond von Dran, who served from 1995 until his passing in 2007. Von Dran was a longtime academic entrepreneur and staunch supporter of student innovation. He started several innovative programs in higher education. To honor his memory and ensure that her husband’s infectious spirit for innovation continued, his wife Gisela generously created the RvD Fund.
“We’re proud to support this competition as part of our ongoing investment in innovation and student entrepreneurship,” says Raj Dewan, dean of the iSchool. “This program is an excellent reflection of dean von Dran’s legacy, and we look forward to seeing what exciting ventures come out of this year’s class.”
The Hunter Brooks Watson Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards are funded through a gift to the iSchool from the Hunter Brooks Watson Memorial Fund to celebrate the life of Hunter Brooks Watson. Watson was a Syracuse student studying information management at the iSchool who tragically lost his life as a passenger in a distracted driver automobile accident in 2016. Watson demonstrated a strong gift and enthusiasm in music, computer technology, performance art and entrepreneurship. The awards recognize students who have passionate interests in areas comparable to those that motivated Watson but may not have the financial means to bring their ideas to life.
“Each year the excitement around these entrepreneurial and innovation competitions grows, and the caliber of applications is always impressive,” says David Seaman, dean of Syracuse University Libraries. “Cross-campus partnerships, like our strong collaboration with the iSchool, is what makes the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University Libraries such a successful program.”
For more information or to schedule coaching, email LaunchPad@syr.edu.