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 wfie, 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 .

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.


Liz Harman
619 260-4682