The Entrepreneur Association is one of the most prominent student associations at UCLA. As part of The Anderson School of Management, EA boasts over 600 members and 150 events a year. Since its inception in 1986, EA has been instrumental in providing members with experiential learning and essential connections within the entrepreneurial and venture capital world. EA’s signature event is its annual EA Conference where entrepreneurs, students, visionaries, business executives and investors come together for a day of learning and insights into the ever-evolving entrepreneurial world.
The goal of the EA Conference is to provide attendees with a rich learning experience and an environment in which they can network with other entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. This year’s conference, themed “Vision in Action” offered poignant panel discussions, case studies and keynote presentations to help manifest innovative visions and bring them to action.
The day-long conference was opened by a compelling and insightful keynote address by Mark Suster, a partner at GRP Partners and former founder and CEO of BuildOnline. Suster’s speech edified attendees on the overarching state of the venture capitalist world, offered pertinent lessons about the industry and spoke of key attributes VC’s look for in entrepreneurs when deciding which ideas are worthy of funding.
After the keynote address attendees dispersed to various panel sessions that touched on topics like restaurants, digital media, business to business, fashion and eCommerce, and the new incubator… to name a few.
The key highlight of the conference, however, was the Fast Pitch Competition where 11 up-and-coming entrepreneurs were given 90 seconds each to present their innovative ideas to a panel of distinguished judges. The competitors pitched a variety of products and services from an online hearing-aid customization service to a website and application that helps drivers find parking spaces around town. Each competitor was judged for the quality of their product’s idea and its investment potential. 5 competitors were selected to move on to a final round, where 1 was selected to win a $2,500 prize.
The conference concluded with a closing keynote address by former Myspace CEO Mike Jones and fireside chat hosted by Dr. Al Osborne. It also announced the Fast Pitch winner which as Caleb Tommasini of Greenbotics, a cutting-edge solar panel cleaning service that uses state of the art robotic cleaning devices.
The full day of events proved very fruitful and inspiring for all those in attendance. For more information on the Entrepreneur Association go to http://www.entrepreneurassociation.net/ – Report Brent Lowe