It is an all too familiar scenario for budding entrepreneurs. For months, maybe even years, you have what you think is a great idea for a new business or a product. You practice your two-minute elevator pitch so often, that you can recite it as assuredly as the Pledge of Allegiance. However, your application to “Shark Tank” has been rejected more than once, and you do not know how to get in front of the right audience who could potentially make your idea a reality.
Enter the IdeaBounce® platform, which is less “Shark Tank,” more Think Tank. IdeaBounce® was created and developed in 2006 by Washington University’s Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship and serves as a warehouse of all the ideas WashU students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends are working on. Fun fact: IdeaBounce® is a registered trademark of the Skandalaris Center and WashU.
“We saw a need to better connect our community of innovators and entrepreneurs – those with ideas and those who can help,” said Mike Seper, associate director of the Skandalaris Center. “Our IdeaBounce® events provide an opportunity to share a concept at any stage and receive support to move forward.”
Recently, Skandalaris teamed up with the International Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (InCEES) and the Office of Sustainability to create an IdeaBounce® on Sept. 22 that caters more to environmentally focused pitches and green business ideas.
“Our hope in collaborating with the Skandalaris Center is to build a community among environmentally interested students, staff, faculty, and alums,” said David Fike, director of environmental studies, professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences and interim director of InCEES. “We want the IdeaBounce® to empower those entrepreneurially-minded attendees to advance their ideas for improving the environment in concrete ways, and connect them to the people that have the resources, expertise, and connections that they need.”
According to Seper, this is not the first time Skandalaris has hosted an environmentally focused IdeaBounce®. Several green events were held between 2008–09, and from those sessions came the idea of creating and maintaining Burning Kumquat, WashU’s student run organic farm that is still in existence.
With COVID-19 hindering any in-person events for the foreseeable future, this year’s green-focused IdeaBounce® will be held online. After making their pitches on Zoom, attendees will be divided into themed breakout group groups for discussion and networking. There will be five prizes for $150 each for the winners.
“This is just one more way we’re trying to keep people engaged and connected in an otherwise difficult time,” said Fike. “I’m very excited about this collaboration with Skandalaris and I can’t wait to hear all of the ideas that our WashU community brings forward.”
The Skandalaris virtual IdeaBounce® event, held in partnership with InCEES and the Office of Sustainability, will take place Tuesday, Sept. 22 from 4–5:30 p.m. Central Standard Time. Register by Sept. 21 to pitch or attend the event; a Zoom link will be sent the morning of the event.