Arizona State University is renowned for many aspects of their student life, one mostly including of nightlife shenanigans and drunken binges strolling down the infamous Mill Ave. in downtown Tempe. However, with administration scrambling to create a new image for the university, the W.P. Carey School of Business seems capable of helping the “party school” stigma change face. Venture Devils is a program held by the university’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and allows students to gain firsthand experience and valuable resources while starting their own business or organization.

What do students gain from joining the program?

Venture Devils starts as a workshop-styled business club, allowing students to attend educational meetings focused on various aspects of entrepreneurship. One week could be about legal procedures and documents, with the following week following accountancy and financial reporting. Each week offers new resources to the student entrepreneurs, and by the end of the seven-week program, they have a virtual and physical toolkit of various documents, informational packets, and contacts to rely on while moving forward.

Outside of the meetings, students are partnered with a business mentor. These mentors come from various industries, and specialize in a particular business operation, whether it is finance, marketing, human resources, or business development.

The mentor and the business owners are able to meet as much as they deem fit, which typically starts around once or twice a week. Many of these entrepreneurs start close-knit relationships with their mentors, and these relationships tend to last even after the program is over.

Lastly, and the most appealing portion of the program, is the Pitch Deck Day hosted at the end of the program.

This day revolves around the selection and presentation of premier ventures of the program while offering the chance for each venture to receive funding from investors and grants provided by the university. Many ventures viciously compete for a spot on stage, for it typically relates to some generous funding to kick-start the company’s growth.

Also, if a company is not invited to pitch their business during the program, they can always reapply the next semester for equal opportunity to gain funding.

What can other universities learn from the Venture Devils program?

In a country driven by entrepreneurialism and invention, it seems only logical that universities gear their students to become innovators. Many of these institutions host various entrepreneurship clubs, but very little seem to compare to what Arizona State University is offering its students.

Not only are these individuals gaining material knowledge on running a business, but they gain networking skills, marketing skills, templates for creating a pitch deck and executive summary, and the chance to gain considerable amounts of funding. All in all, there is no reason for any start-up to ignore this opportunity to work with ASU’s Office for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.