With baby boomers retiring from the business world, the future economy is in the hands of the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators, who are learning from the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at California State University, Fresno.

One ingredient for success is competing in the marketplace of ideas. So the Lyles Center sponsors the Student Venture Challenge to provide competition among students from Fresno State and 11 community colleges in Visalia, Bakersfield, Porterville, Santa Maria, Lemoore, Reedley, Fresno, Bakersfield, Madera, Merced and Sonora. Students’ ideas are put to the test in a three-stage competition for cash and other prizes.

In the first stage, students must submit a 90-second video about their business idea by 11:59 p.m. Feb. 15.  Twenty semifinalists will participate in three workshops to prepare them for a 10-minute presentation to judges on April 1.

The finalists will get four more preparatory workshops, write a five-page business summary and a then make a 15-minute presentation April 30 at the Lyles Center. The public is invited to view the final competition.

Those with the winning business idea will receive $5,000 start-up money and an office in the Lyles Center Hatchery, where they will have access to the tools and networking to launch their business. Second place is worth $2,500. The other finalists are eligible for cash prizes for best industry specific ideas and a People’s Choice Award.

All ideas ranging from technology to healthcare and beyond are welcome. Students are provided the assistance and support of the Lyles Center and its resources to develop their entry for the challenge.

More information is available at www.lyleschallenge.com or on Twitter@LylesCenterSVC or Facebook at Lyles Center Student Venture Challenge.

“The future of our communities rests with the ingenuity of the next generation,” said Dr. Timothy M. Stearns, executive director of the Lyles Center.

”Finding ways to spark that imagination is key to success. I hope to see businesses and community leaders from across the Central Valley promoting and supporting this exciting and challenging competition,” added Stearns.

For more information, contact Adam Whitney at 916.601.1716 or StudentVentureChallenge@gmail.com