Starting Fires at Launch Days

Typically starting fires on campus is frowned upon, but what about when proverbial fires ignite in classrooms? This happens on special days when all necessary elements are present in the classroom: heat, fuel, and oxygen. (Please humor me a moment by allowing me to elaborate upon this analogy.) Today proved to be one of those special days on the West Campus as we hosted our third Launch Day of 2016. Launch Days are an opportunity for students to learn more about Entrepreneurship + Innovation (E+I) at ASU and to discover what resources are available to them. Entrepreneurship + Innovation staff are on hand to give classroom presentations and answer questions. The day culminates with an Open Pitch event in the evening, where students can share their idea, project, business, or product with the community and compete to win a cash prize.

In my classroom presentations, I encouraged students to attend the Open Pitch tonight and gave them all of the details. At the end of my presentation, one of the students raised his hand and explained to his classmates why Open Pitch is such a great event. He said, ‘One of my friends attended an Open Pitch last year to share her idea for a mobile dental unit that helps those who are in need of dental care. In the audience was an Angel Investor who pulled her aside at the end of the event and expressed interest in investing in her project. You literally NEVER know who might be the audience at these events!’ There was a fiery excitement in his eyes which was contagious and heated the room with excitement. His comment sparked a classroom discussion about social entrepreneurship that the professor led for the next 10 minutes. There was a fire in the classroom!

“YES!” (I was exclaiming in my head.) Listening to this student inspire and encourage his peers to get involved, attend Open Pitch, and “Just Start” whatever it is they’re passionate about is exactly what we aim to achieve at Launch Days. ASU students possess the ideas (or necessary heat) for innovation and their peers and professors provide the support (or tinder) which fuels the excitement around innovation inside and outside of the classroom. Through Launch Days and Open Pitch events, Entrepreneurship + Innovation serve students and faculty by providing adequate resources (or oxygen) to ignite the fire. Amazing how that works, right? We fan the flames of entrepreneurship; which is a fire we want to keep burning!

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