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New Venture Challenge Focuses on Innovation for Sun Devil Athletics

January 11, 2021


Tempe, Arizona - Sun Devil Athletics, the Global Sport Institute, and the J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute at Arizona State University, have announced a new initiative -- the Sun Devil Athletics’ Venture Challenge.  

The SDA Venture Challenge will help establish new and innovative sport concepts that can be launched, piloted, and scaled at Sun Devil Athletics’ various facilities. This program will provide a launchpad for aspiring entrepreneurs while keeping Sun Devil Athletics on the forefront of new sport-related innovation. The call for applications will open on Jan. 15 and culminate with a live pitch competition in April 2021 at ASU Demo Day.

“As the world’s largest university and national hub for innovation, ASU has creative thinkers and industry pioneers across our five campuses, and we would be doing ourselves a disservice to not tap into that potential,” said Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson. “We look forward to the innovative minds and ideas that are proposed through this partnership with the Global Sport Institute and the Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute.”

The SDA Venture Challenge will focus on areas of innovation that are important to athletics’ operation. These could include, but are not limited to: venue and facility innovations, immersive technology, consumer engagement and/or athlete performance. 

“This is yet another example of the vast opportunities and benefits of Sun Devil Athletics’ resources through our world-class university,” said Deputy Athletic Director Jean Boyd. “We’re very excited to partner with the Global Sport Institute and Edson E+I, building on the programming we have been providing to ASU scholar-athlete entrepreneurs, and expect this to be yet another exciting collaboration moving forward.”

Sun Devil Athletics will select the winner(s) of the venture challenge with the opportunity to implement their product/service at Sun Devil Athletics’ facilities. The Global Sport Institute and Edson E+I will supply the winner of the venture challenge with promotional resources, mentorship, coaching, and award(s) of up to $25,000 per year.

“ASU’s Global Sport Institute and the Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute have had a long-standing relationship with Sun Devil Athletics. Many of our efforts to-date have been focused on providing resources to current and former student athletes,” said Associate Director of Innovation Programs, Jeff Kunowski. “With the creation of the SDA Venture Challenge, we are creating new entrepreneurial pathways not only for our athletes, but also the broader community of students, faculty members, and start-ups that are looking to innovate within sport-related markets.”

There will be two application windows for the SDA Venture Challenge. The first being January 2021 through March 2021, with the winning venture having the potential to be implemented at SDA facilities as soon as Fall 2021. A second cohort and application process will begin in January 2022 through March 2022. 

The venture challenge framework will be provided through Edson E+I’s Venture Devils program and will conclude with a live demo day pitch competition on April 30, 2021. Those interested in joining the pitch competition can learn more and apply at globalsport.asu.edu/sport-ei/venture-funding.

If you’re interested in philanthropically supporting the Sun Devil Athletics’ Venture Challenge, please consider making a donation here.


About ASU Sun Devil Athletics
For more than a century, Sun Devil Athletics has achieved legendary success on and off the field. With 26 intercollegiate varsity sports and more than 650 student-athletes representing Arizona State University, Sun Devil Athletics today is a force that brings even greater attention to the country's most innovative university (U.S. News & World Report, 2016, 2017, 2018), while also engaging the regional community through thousands of volunteer service hours. Seeking the highest-possible bar of excellence, Sun Devil Athletics shapes student-athletes who are successful academically and athletically, and who are prepared for success following graduation.Championship performance, integrity, graduation and tradition are hallmarks of the Sun Devil Way.

About the Global Sport Institute at Arizona State University
The Global Sport Institute is where diverse disciplines converge to thoughtfully examine critical issues impacting sport. As a cross-disciplinary enterprise, the institute’s efforts are integrated throughout the entire university — from engineering to sociology, to the athletic department and beyond — rather than within a single concentration. With an emphasis on expanding research, sharing knowledge, supporting innovation and advancing education, the institute’s mission is to use sport to create positive change throughout the world. Through its partnership with the J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute, the Institute offers start-ups access to an extensive array of curriculum, workshops, advisors, funding and other university resources. Follow the Institute on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

More information at: https://globalsport.asu.edu/

About the The J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute at Arizona State University 
The J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute serves as a premiere connecting and collaborating conduit across Arizona State University, the greater Phoenix community, nationwide and throughout the world. The Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute helps propel entrepreneurial aspirations by way of opportunities to explore, share, test and advance ideas. As a central source of information, resources and people, engaging with the Edson E+I Institute is to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, engage with global and local events and communities, and launch an idea through mentoring, funding, spaces and commercialization. Follow Edson E+I on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

More information at: http://entrepreneurship.asu.edu