Scheinfeld Center competition opens to student entrepreneurs

Executive+Director+for+the+Scheinfeld+Center+of+entrepreneurship+and+innovation+Julie+Samson+explains+the+intricacies+of+the+program+and+how+it+helps+students+on+April+6%2C+2022+at+her+City+College+office+in+Santa+Barbara%2C+Calif.+Samson+said+she+loves+the+community+the+program+builds+and+how+students+can+call+into+for+advice+and+connections.

August Lawrence

Executive Director for the Scheinfeld Center of entrepreneurship and innovation Julie Samson explains the intricacies of the program and how it helps students on April 6, 2022 at her City College office in Santa Barbara, Calif. Samson said she loves the community the program builds and how students can call into for advice and connections.

Yarrow Hogan, Staff Writer

Registration is open until April 21 for students in the Santa Barbara area who are looking to kickstart a business idea with financial and entrepreneurial support from the Scheinfeld center at City College. 

For innovative and creative minds, student entrepreneurs test their ambition in the 12th Annual Scheinfeld New Venture Challenge. With a total of up to $15,000 in business startup support, the Scheinfeld Center provides winners in each level with seed money and mentorship.

Inclusive of both high school and collegiate students, there is a wide variety of ideas and passions.

“It is a capstone opportunity where students can be in the spotlight with their business concept, engage with other student entrepreneurs, and get valuable feedback from established business executives,” Executive Director for the Scheinfeld Center of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Julie Samson said.

Executive Director for the Scheinfeld Center of entrepreneurship and innovation Julie Samson shows off past businesses started with the help of the program on April 6, 2022 at her City College office in Santa Barbara, Calif. Samson is always impressed and amazed with the business ideas students bring into the program.
Executive Director for the Scheinfeld Center of entrepreneurship and innovation Julie Samson shows off past businesses started with the help of the program on April 6, 2022 at her City College office in Santa Barbara, Calif. Samson is always impressed and amazed with the business ideas students bring into the program. (August Lawrence)

10 finalists from the collegiate and high school tier are chosen and move to the next level. The finalists then present their pitch to a live virtual audience and judges. Winners are announced on April 29.

This competition is well known for the commitment and support of bringing student visions to fruition. 

“Each student has such a story to tell about what is motivating them, ” Samson said. “It is important for students to realize what is available and to jump in and take on the opportunity.”

City College winner of the 2015 Scheinfeld New Venture Challenge, John Harmon was a surfer who lived the reality of the tar on Santa Barbara beaches. Harmon pitched an idea for an “Oil Slick Adhesive Remover” which provided a safe and easy way of removing tar from skin. He won the competition and continued to the next step. He entered another program offered at City College called the Get REAL Accelerator program and won again with his next brilliant idea.

“It is a program that makes you think outside the box,” Harmon said. “I learned a lot and it fine-tuned the details that I would have been missing.”

Harmon has now been welcomed back as one of the judges for the high school level of the 12th Annual Challenge.

With a wide assortment of entrepreneurial ideas and a diverse student community, the Scheinfeld Center prioritizes the success and needs of each student in order to provide the best space for growth and new ideas.

Held virtually since 2020, the virtual environment is widely accessible to anyone, allowing a broader streaming audience and more student participation. Samson anticipates a fully virtual or hybrid combination for future competitions.

The virtual pitch competition will be from 2-7 p.m. on Friday, April 29 live-streamed on Youtube beginning with the collegiate level followed by high school level.