Columbia College is sponsoring an Undergraduate Challenge as part of Columbia Entrepreneurship’s Columbia Venture Competition. Students from Barnard College, Columbia College, General Studies and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science may enter to win funds for the most innovative and viable business proposal. The top three teams will split a $50,000 prize.
The Undergraduate Challenge is one of five competitions within the Columbia Venture Competition, which includes a total prize pool of $250,000. The other competitions are the “#StartupColumbia Challenge,” focused on customer development and demonstrating product-market fit; the “Technology Challenge,” sponsored by The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, in which entries must include business models based on a solid foundation of applied, solution-focused, technology innovation; the “Global Technology Challenge,” sponsored by The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, in which entries must include technology or data-driven solutions to address global challenges; and the “SIPA Dean’s Public Policy Challenge Grant,” which focuses on projects and prototypes that solve urban problems around the world. Teams in these challenges must include Columbia students or alumni who have graduated within five years.
Students entered the competition on Feb. 18 and finalists will pitch their companies on Thursday, April 23. Winners will be announced on Friday, April 24 at the annual #StartupColumbia Festival, a two-day conference that brings together the Columbia entrepreneurial community in celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship. The theme of this year’s StartupColumbia is “NYC Innovation.” Panels and keynotes will look at industries long associated with New York that, as a result of changes in technology and commerce, are now ripe for disruption, innovation and entrepreneurship.
The festival planners and key partners include the undergraduate entrepreneurship society Columbia Organization of Rising Entrepreneurs (CORE) and the Columbia Entrepreneurs Organization at Columbia Business School, along with Columbia Entrepreneurship, the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College, the School of International and Public Policy (SIPA), The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Lang Center at Columbia Business School.