USD School of Business Announces $100,000 Gift to Ignite Students’ Entrepreneurial Passion and Success


A $100,000 gift from San Diego businessman Ron Fowler and his wife, Alexis, will support the University of San Diego School of Business Fowler Business Concept Challenge to ignite students’ knowledge and passion for entrepreneurship.

“Our focus is to build entrepreneurs as they build their innovations,” said Rangapriya “Priya” Kannan-Narasimhan, the founding director of the USD School of Business’ newly launched Entrepreneurship and Innovation Catalyzer. The Catalyzer is tasked with running the Fowler Business Concept Challenge at USD.

“We are very grateful for this generous gift that will help students to identify and explore their entrepreneurship potential and build their values, knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes through mentoring, workshops and other activities,” said Kannan-Narasimhan.

Through The Fowler Business Concept Challenge, participants will have the chance to win up to $45,000 in scholarships in the inaugural competition on Nov. 15. 

Competitors for The Challenge will have the opportunity to apply for USD’s San Diego Angel Conference, and the winners will have their application fee waived. The San Diego Angel Conference was launched by The Brink Small Business Development Center at USD, and applicants compete for up to $200,000, depending on the number of participating investors.

The Challenge will serve as a feeder and training ground for other entrepreneurial competitions at USD, including the V2 Pitch Competition and the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge.

 “Just as important as the scholarship money, the experience students gain as part of the Fowler Business Concept Challenge will set them up for career success in starting their own firms or helping to innovate and add value to existing ones,” said Kannan-Narasimhan.  “Entrepreneurial ideas can change, but the values, knowledge, attitude and skills we help students build can last a lifetime.”

“Priya has had great success leading our initial Torero Ventures Catalyzer program. We are very excited for her to be stepping in as founding director of the newly launched Entrepreneurship and Innovation Catalyzer, which will house all of our school’s entrepreneurship initiatives,” said Interim USD School of Business Dean Barbara Lougee. “She brings great energy and enthusiasm in her work with students and has earned awards for her teaching and recognition for her research, including publications in leading journals such as the Strategic Management Journal and Journal of Product Innovation Management.”

Ron Fowler is a Chair Emeritus for the USD Board of Trustees and a long-time supporter of charitable and educational causes in San Diego including the $100,000 gift for the Fowler Business Concept Challenge and recent $2.5 million gift for the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge. Under the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge, students from USD and universities around the world compete to address economic, environmental and other global challenges.

To learn more about the newly launched Entrepreneurship and Innovation Catalyzer and the Fowler Business Concept Challenge, go to .


Liz Harman