LA MIRADA, CALIF. — The first-ever Biola Startup Competition, hosted by Biola University’s Crowell School of Business, launched this fall, giving students and alumni the opportunity to compete for capital and turn their business concepts into reality. Finalists will be announced on Friday, Dec. 4.

Starting Sept. 14, students and alumni who graduated less than ten years ago, were able to register for the competition, which boasts an impressive advisory board who are assisting participants in creating a business plan and to successfully pitch their business concepts to potential investors. The competition aims to foster kingdom-minded, Christ-honoring entrepreneurship across the university community and develop greater opportunities for business as ministry.

“The Biola Startup Competition, sponsored by the Crowell School of Business, will nurture the entrepreneurial spirit across our campus and launch a new generation of business leaders and businesses that serve the common good,” said Gary Lindblad, dean of Biola’s Crowell School of Business.

Following the Sept. 14 kickoff event, students and alumni collaborated to form teams based on their different skill sets and concepts. Teams will create business plans under the guidance of the advisory board and educational workshops over the course of the academic year.

Ron Andrews, founder of The Bethesda Group, was one of nine advisory board members for the competition and keynote speaker for the kickoff event. He is best known for his tenure as the CEO of Clarient, Inc., a molecular pathology platform company, where he turned the bankrupt company into a profitable business. Fueled by his grandmother’s battle with breast cancer, he refocused Clarient, Inc. on delivering academic level cancer testing into the community.

Board members will announce finalists on Friday, Dec. 4, when each team’s semester of hard work, innovation, and inspiring ideas are evaluated. Finalists will proceed with more in-depth workshops to pitch their business plans to possible investors and compete for capital on April 8, 2016.

Lindblad said the directors of the competition hope competitors will gain insights and tools needed to be successful as a college graduate. The competition offers a learning experience that will present an accurate demonstration of how real-world companies progress from an idea to a product.

Participants will walk away with an experience to put on their resume, new skillsets and ideas, and possibly a startup that will launch them into their future careers and passions, said Lindblad.

Learn more about the Biola Startup Competition.