USD Student Business Plans Spark Entrepreneurial Initiatives in a Down Economy

University of San Diego students will put their entrepreneurial talents to the test during the first round of the 2009 Business Plan Competition this Friday, April 17. Come watch USD’s brightest minds as they try to persuade a panel of entrepreneurs, executives and investors to let them survive and advance to the university’s own version of the “Final Four” and compete for $10,000 in prize money on May 8.

Six undergraduate and three graduate teams will compete in the preliminary round this Friday. Three undergrad and one graduate team will be selected for the finals. The undergraduate rounds take place from 1 to 4 p.m. in Rooms 226 and 229 of Olin Hall on the USD campus. The graduate round is from 6 to 9 p.m. in Room 225 of Olin Hall.

Some of the ideas to be presented at this year’s competition include proposals for a new web-based service that will make renting easier for both landlords and tenants; a no-sweat line of dress shirts and a valet service to take the hassle out of campus parking.

“As students face a tougher economy and job market than in years past, they need to become even more creative and innovative,” said Helder Sebastiao, USD assistant professor of management and Entrepreneur Club advisor. “I’m very impressed with their spirit and enthusiasm for the competition.”

The event “boosts students’ confidence in pitching their innovative ideas and gives them the opportunity to get valuable feedback from experienced executives, entrepreneurs and potential investors” he added.

The $10,000 in prize money was donated by USD alumnus Tom Breitling ’90 and Roger and Judy Benson, parents of a graduate alumnus and local entrepreneurs.

Judges for this year’s competition include: Nicholas D’Angelo, CPA; Douglas Bertozzi, founder and chief technology officer, SHIFThound; Michael Brower, general manager and CFO, PowerMetal Technologies; Dennis Clerke, managing director and co-founder, DaggerBoard Advisors; Scott R. Foote, founder and senior vice president, Square 1 Bank; Marc Friedman, partner, DaggerBoard Advisors; Joon Han, founder and CEO, Better San Diego; Jay S. Kunin, director, San Diego Tech Coast Angels; Anita Mahaffey, CEO, Funika, USA Inc.; Linda Manaster, co-founder, bludominoes, inc; Kyle Miholich, CEO, Fiji Yogurt, Inc.; Michael Paganelli, founder and CEO, e-Novations; Amy Rasdal, principal, Rasdal Associates and Richard dos Santos, senior director of business development, Qualcomm Inc.

The University of San Diego School of Business Administration is committed to developing socially responsible leaders and improving global business practice through innovative, personalized education and applied research. Go to

The University of San Diego is a Catholic institution of higher learning chartered in 1949; the school enrolls some 7,500 undergraduate and graduate students and is known for its commitment to teaching, the liberal arts, the formation of values and community service. The inauguration of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies brings the University’s total number of schools and colleges to six. Other academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences and the schools of Business Administration, Leadership and Education Sciences, Law and Nursing and Health Sciences.


About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.