With a focus on designing for a post-COVID world, Biola University’s Biola Startup Competition is accepting proposals for the 2020-2021 competition. Biola’s Office of Innovation is asking entrepreneurs to think creatively about how a business can meet the new and unique opportunities that have arised in the past eight months.

A new business idea takes time, resources and courage to come to fruition. The Biola Startup Competition provides the resources and framework to collaborate with others, learn from business professionals, fine-tune an idea and refine it in order to execute on it.

The Biola Startup Competition is an initiative that offers all current Biola undergraduate students, graduate students and recent alumni who graduated in 2010 or later the opportunity to transform a promising idea into a successful startup business or nonprofit. Aided by experienced executives and business leaders, participants and their team will have the chance to pitch their concept, develop a business plan, gain valuable real-world insights and compete for seed money to get their venture off the ground.

Boba for Missions: A Success Story

Sarah Hartuno, a business administration major (marketing concentration), talked about her experience as part of last year’s winning team, “Boba for Missions,” a project that actually began well before the competition.

“Brendan Sun, another Crowell student, has a dream to own a boba shop,” Hartuno said. “He started Boba for Missions to raise support for Biola Student Missionary Union (SMU) mission trips, since finances are the number-one reason students are hesitant to go on mission trips.”

When they saw the announcement of the Startup Competition, it was an opportunity to take an on-campus project and scale it into something with much more impact.

“I asked key marketing questions such as ‘what truly makes your offering unique compared to thousands of other boba shops?’ and ‘who are the people you are serving?,’ said Hartuno. “From there, we asked more social-enterprise-related questions that challenged culture, such as ‘how can we invoke a deep sense of generosity with our college-age target market?’ and ‘how can we run Boba for Missions in a way that integrates generosity into every single step?’ We all got to use what we’re good at and what we’ve learned; I got to use my design skills to put together a brand deck and our video pitch.”

For Boba for Missions, all the hard work paid off.

“We ended up winning 1st place!” said Hartuno. “I ended up being the youngest person to ever be part of a 1st place Startup team. Our team took home $8,000 in prize money and $10,000 in legal advice from a law firm that sponsored the competition.”

Learn more about the Biola Startup Competition and details on how to enter. Team registration is due by Monday, November 16. All are invited to a helpful webinar, “How to Write a Concept Paper: Requirements and Tips,” on Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m., which will be led by Carey Ransom, the Founder and President of OC4 Venture Studio, who will discuss how to develop the required executive summary of your business idea.

Check out the official Biola Startup Competition website to read FAQs and more stories from past winners.