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Student entrepreneurs sought for Dallas contest

Set for Nov. 29, 2016 at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, the Global Student Entrepreneurs Awards program invites eligible students to share their business ideas by applying for the annual event sponsored by Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Dallas.

“The first big hurdle for entrepreneurs is taking an idea from concept to the action stage,” said Jeremy Brandt, a member of the Dallas organization.

That’s where EO Dallas comes in. Student finalists chosen for the competition will have an opportunity to present their business and entrepreneurial ideas before a judging panel at SMU. The winner of the Dallas competition will receive prize money, mentorship, in-kind services for their business and an opportunity to compete on a national level in Kansas City in 2017. The winner of that contest will move on to the GSEA Finals in Frankfurt, Germany to go head-to-head with the world’s top student entrepreneurs and have the opportunity to win more than $150,000 in U.S. dollars and in-kind business services.

Adam Blake did just that in 2004 when the TCU alumnus won the global award for his real estate business, in which he purchased properties for student housing and rented them out. Brent Skoda, another TCU alumnus, became a Global Student Entrepreneur Award finalist in 2009 for a business he founded in 2007 called CollegeFitness.com

“One of the things we’ve seen in recent years is social entrepreneurship,” Brandt said.

“More students are thinking about conscious capitalism and how to create a business that does good for society while being profitable. The purpose is to create revenue but also give back.”

Edward Allegra won the 2016 contest, with judges impressed by the SMU student’s smartphone-based medical device able to monitor and help manage asthma. Judges chose Allegra based on his vision for BioLum Sciences, Allegra’s company, as well as his determination to make a difference with a product aimed at improving others’ lives.

New to the 2017 competition is EO Dallas’ partnership with SPURstartup, a crowdfunding resource for student entrepreneurs. Competing student entrepreneurs can crowdfund their concepts on the GSEA + SPURstartup funding Web page. The campaigns begin on Nov. 29, providing all participants exposure and support.

“Our goal is to give student entrepreneurs exposure and support,” said Maggie Barton, CEO of SPURstartup, commenting in a news release.

“Although only one student will advance to the next round in the GSEA competition, all participants will be able to move forward with their idea,” Barton said.

Students interested in applying for the EO Dallas qualifying completion must submit their application by Nov. 7. More information is available by sending an email GSEA@EODallas.org.

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