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USD students pitch plans for post-graduate businesses

Competing for $20,000 in startup funding
Posted at 7:46 AM, Apr 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-25 12:12:00-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Students at the University of San Diego have a chance to win $20,000 in start-up capital to launch a business after graduation.

Thursday night is the school's annual Venture Vetting (V2) Competition. Organizers describe it as "Shark Tank" for students.

Three finalists will pitch their ideas to a panel of business experts from around San Diego. They've already beaten out 23 other student groups in the competition.

But there's a wrinkle this year. For the first time in V2 history, three teams of students from schools in Latin America will also compete for the cash.

"Our goal is to inspire, encourage and develop the entrepreneurial spirit among USD students and our international neighbors," says Mike Lawless, the competition's founder, in a statement given to 10News.

The business plans can be about whatever the students choose. One pitch this year involves a business to make videos for student-athletes hoping to be recruited by colleges. Another is a way to deploy emergency housing in case of a national disaster quickly. The third is an app that will help gig-economy workers sort through 15 different apps and stabilize their salary by making the most money out of each drive.

"It shows them the best, most profitable opportunity at any given time and sends the employee on that specific task," says USD Senior Dane Baker, who will pitch his company, "Giggler," Thursday night.

"I've always wanted to start my own business one day," says Baker. "It's in my blood."

The competition is part of the school's Venture Fair, which begins at 5 pm at USD's Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice Theatre. The pitches will begin at 6:15 and the awards will be announced at 8.

Judges can award all of the cash prize to one team, or they can split it up among the six finalists.

"Entrepreneurs represent the future of our economy, and we look forward to helping create more success stories," says Lawless.