Entrepreneurs: the USD sharktank is here


Photo courtesy of Sean Dreilinger/Flickr Creative Commons Entrepreneur Jack Abbot pitching his idea at a TEDx conference in San Diego.

Photo courtesy of Sean Dreilinger/Flickr Creative Commons
Entrepreneur Jack Abbot pitching his idea at a TEDx conference in San Diego.

The School of Business Administration hosts a variety of professional organizations for student involvement, providing many students with opportunities for academic, personal, and professional development.

The University of San Diego strives to foster an environment where students can contribute effectively and ethically to society and the organizations students are involved with.

There are many student organizations on campus, one of them is the Entrepreneurship Club, or E-club for short. On Thursday, Nov. 5, the E-club hosted a pitch lab workshop.

The workshop intended to show students and aspiring entrepreneurs how to pitch an idea that will attract strategic suppliers, investors, and potential business partners.

The pitch lab covered a variety of topics which included testing competitive advantage, how to create value, and operational strategies, among others.

All in all, this workshop aimed to help guide and inspire students who are seeking to make change.

E-club’s mission is to inspire, encourage, and develop the entrepreneurial spirit within students attending USD, the San Diego regional universities, and our international neighbors.

One of the ways the E-club promotes growth within the USD community is by hosting the V2 Pitch Competition.

Mike Lawless, PhD., leads the entrepreneurship initiatives at USD’s School of Business Administration. Since V2’s inauguration in 2011, he has significantly increased the scale of the V2 competition.

V2, which stands for venture vetting, is a campus-wide entrepreneurship competition where the venture and the entrepreneur are vetted, meaning they are appraised and verified for accuracy by potential investors.

Some students have called this event the USD Shark Tank Competition

A panel of three angel investors evaluate the pitches on V2 night. Each finalist has a seven minute pitch with all three investors and a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with each investor.

The grand prize can be up to $50,000. The investors decide how much of the $50,000 to award to one or all of the finalists.

Contrary to popular belief, the V2 competition is not exclusive to business majors. In fact, as long as you’re a student of USD, you may enter the competition.

V2 only awards three finalists. Entrants who are not finalists can still present their venture to the investors in a special poster and networking area.

The competition is an actual business pitch. V2 is also a networking event that helps promote USD’s award winning entrepreneurship program.

In fact, the Financial Times created an indicator for the best entrepreneurship programs throughout the world. Three are in California, and one of them is USD’s School of Business Administration which is ranked third nationally.

The V2 competition has seen participants from many of the departments at USD, especially from the five more popular majors which include business, the social sciences, communication studies, biomedical sciences, and psychology.

The most impacted majors at USD are the fields of business, management, marketing, and support services, which represent 41 percent of the entire student body.

Freshman Ioana Basil studies psychology and believes that it’s beneficial that the V2 competition is not exclusive to only business majors.

“I think it’s so cool that anyone can participate,” Basil said. “It gives us non-business majors a chance to be heard. Actually, it brings together students with different interests because I can apply what I know and I can have a business person help me communicate it in business terms to the investors.”

One of V2’s past winners was MyHerbPharm. MyHerbPharm received a $20,000 investment, marking the largest V2 investment amount awarded since the beginning of the competition.

Today, MyHerbPharm is an online and walk-in compounding pharmacy venture in Hillcrest.

MyHerbPahrm is a full service Chinese herbal pharmacy that provides raw and granular formulas. It was started by the duo David Vesey and Ramtin Dehkhoda.

Vesey is a 2008 USD undergraduate alum in Computer Science and current graduate student in the Hahn School of Nursing’s Health Care Informatics program.

His business partner, Dehkhoda, is a San Diego acupuncture specialist and herbalist.

If the V2 competition is something you are interested in, April 7, 2016 is a date to mark down in your calendar. This is when the pitch decks are due.

Many industry professionals have made their own dreams a reality and turned their ideas into lucrative empires.

USD creates opportunities and offers support in more ways than one. The pitch lab workshop and the V2 competition are just the tip of the iceberg.

Many students are unaware that USD has free legal clinics that give consultation services to students.

The clinics help evaluate your case involving entrepreneurship, federal tax, immigration, and many other areas of law. The legal clinics have offered to help V2 participants post competition.

USD’s legal clinics provide training to upper-level law students while also providing needed legal services to USD students and alums from all majors.

All legal clinic students are supervised by a practicing attorney.

Many students have given positive feedback about E-club’s V2 competition and other value-added workshops such as the pitch lab.

Whether your choice is to create change within your community, be a USD entrepreneur, or support the entrepreneurial community, the E-club wants to empower all USD changemakers through entrepreneurship.