Skandalaris Center



The Skandalaris Center offers programs throughout the year that give commercial and social entrepreneurs opportunities to connect with each other and move ideas forward. Most are free and open to the public. 


IdeaBounce® is the Center’s flagship program and the gateway to many other opportunities. Anyone in the world can post ideas on the IdeaBounce® website and the network of creators, inventors, investors, business people, service providers, customers, mentors and others can begin to connect to transform ideas into reality, create value and bring inventions to market.

In addition to virtual connections on the website, people meet and begin to help advance ideas at free, fun, fast-paced IdeaBounce® events. The agenda includes two-minute pitches from pre-selected idea “bouncers,” the announcement of campus and community winners, a reception for all and a private lunch for the winners and judges only.

All are welcome to hear ideas, and events typically include an “open mic” portion. Judges represent venture capital firms, incubators, faculty and other local entrepreneurs. They select winners based on the clarity of the presentation, the passion of the bouncer and the request for help–as the purpose of the event is to get people to connect and help each other. Winners receive $100 plus an invitation to lunch with the judges the week following the event.  IdeaBounce® events are scheduled after Skandalaris Skills Sessions and participants may attend either or both events.  We conclude with a reception. 

Dates for 2014–2015 IdeaBounce® events are:

  • September 18 - Farrell Learning and Teaching Center, Medical School campus
  • October 3 - Simon Hall, room 113, Washington University, Danforth Campus
  • November 7 - WUSTL, School of Law, Anheuser-Busch Hall, room 401
  • February 6 - TBD
  • March 6 - TBD
  • April 3 - TBD

Visit the IdeaBounce® website to post a new idea or browse ideas, read pointers on presenting at an eventregister for an event, or contact us to find out how to host your own IdeaBounce®.  

YouthBridge SEIC

The YouthBridge Social Enterprise and Innovation Competition (SEIC), the first of its kind in the region, was launched in the fall of 2005 as a partnership between Washington University and the YouthBridge Community Foundation. The competition has awarded over $600,000 in grants and in-kind services, and also includes a $5,000 student cash prize.

The competition promotes the development of innovative approaches to social problems to enhance sustainability and increase capacity of mission-based organizations, moving these social ventures beyond traditional dependence on philanthropy and government. Throughout the competition, participants receive feedback from a panel of social investors and judges who are experts in social entrepreneurship and innovation.

Entry to the competition and all events are free. YouthBridge SEIC 2015 events include:

  • September 4: Combined YouthBridge SEIC and Olin Cup Kickoff
  • September 11: YouthBridge SEIC/Olin Cup Brown Bag Info Session and IdeaBounce®
  • January 5: due date to post idea to
  • January 26: due date for Executive Summary
  • February 2:  Semi-finalists announced
  • February 12:  Elevator Pitch Competition
  • March 17: Business Plans due
  • April 2: Final Presentations
  • April 9: Awards Ceremony

See a list of past YouthBridge SEIC winners and view pictures of them on our Facebook page. See the Welcome Kit here

Olin Cup Competition

The Olin Cup Competition began at the Olin Business School in 1988, and has awarded funding to winning commercial ventures since 2003. Unlike many business plan competitions, Olin Cup awards are seed investments in the new company.

In order to be eligible for the investment, the team must include a Washington University student or alumnus, or faculty or staff member. Throughout the competition, participants receive feedback from a panel of investors and judges. Teams have commented that the process and feedback alone make the competition valuable, regardless of any funding awards received.

Entry to the competition and all events are free. Olin Cup 2014 events include:

  • September 4: Combined YouthBridge SEIC and Olin Cup Kickoff
  • September 11: YouthBridge SEIC/Olin Cup Brown Bag Info Session and IdeaBounce®
  • October 13: Cup Executive Summaries due
  • October 20: Semi-Finalists Announced
  • November 6: Elevator Pitch Competition
  • January 2: Business Plans due
  • January 14: Final Presentations
  • January 29:  Awards Ceremony

Read about our past Olin Cup winners and view pictures of them on our Facebook page

Dutia and Grewal Global Impact Award

In Fall 2013 Skandalaris Senior Fellow Suren G. Dutia and his wife Jas K. Grewal made a generous gift to the Skandalaris Center to fund the Suren G. Dutia and Jas K. Grewal Global Impact Award, with the first award presented in Fall 2014. The award  recognizes Washington University students, post-doctoral researchers or recent graduates who create scalable and sustainable ventures that have large global impact. The goal of the award is to invest in individuals and high-growth entrepreneurial ventures that apply technology for developing solutions for assisting under-served, disadvantaged populations by developing low-cost products and services that spur economic growth and catalyze social change. The award will provide financial, mentorship, and relationship resources that accelerate the growth of high-impact ventures and/or utilize technology to address significant social challenges.  The donors intend for this fund to be utilized in perpetuity to inspire an interdisciplinary expansion of entrepreneurship and innovation at Washington University. It is the strong desire of the donors that recipients be encouraged and motivated to give a portion of their future earnings or to offer venture equity designated for the Suren G. Dutia and Jas K. Grewal Global Impact Award so that others may also benefit from similar assistance through future contributions of resources and through growth of this fund.

Dates for the 2015 competition are:

  • June 15:  Deadline to submit the Opportunity Summary
  • July 15:  Finalists announced
  • October 19: Impact Summary and two-page personal/team statement of the committment to the spirit and sustainability of the Dutia and Grewal award due from finalists
  • November 2:  Final Presentations, awardee selection, and celebratory event

For more information see the Global Impact Award IdeaBounce® site with a link to the Welcome Kit.  

Skandalaris Skills Series

The Skandalaris Skills sessions are free 90-minute sessions on topics designed to encourage ideas and help entrepreneurs develop their skills and advance their ideas.  Each skill session will be followed by an IdeaBounce® event, then a reception. All events are free to attend, and participants may choose to attend any or all of the Skills Series, the IdeaBounce®, or both. Skills sessions and IdeaBounce® events are held both on the Washington University campuses and off campus with Skandalaris community partners.  Throughout the sessions entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to pitch their idea, receive feedback, develop their skills, and connect with others who can help advance their idea.

The 2014-15 dates and topics are:

Register for the Skills Series, IdeaBounce® events, or both.  Registration is separate for each event.  

Startup (W)U: Skandalaris Center Pre-Orientation Program

Have an idea? Innovative thinker? Jump right into innovation & entrepreneurship with Startup (W)U! Whether you're planning to major in art, science, engineering, business, or the humanities, you'll experience the journey from idea to venture. You'll also explore the entrepreneurial community around Wash U and St. Louis through site vitists and networking with innovative leaders. Most importanly, you'll learn the value of interdisciplinary collaboration and discover how much a group of passionate people can accomplish in a few short days. Join us to see how innovation can change the world!

Visit the orientation website to learn

Skandalaris Center Internship Program

Skandalaris Center subsidized internships were first offered in summer 2002 through a program subsidized by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Center's internship program was significantly enhanced in the summer of 2008 with a $1 million gift from Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. Skandalaris. The gift enabled the Center to pay a stipend to student interns and provide optional room and board for them on campus for the 10-week internship. The enhanced program provides for a rich learning and on-campus living experience for undergraduate students. Students work in their host organization Monday through Thursday and participate in Skandalaris programming on Fridays. The only cost to a first-time sponsoring organization is a one-time payment of $1,000 due at the start of the internship. The program continues to grow, and in summer 2013, the Skandalaris Center offered a second level of internships to “growth” companies.

Read more about internship program from the perspective of the students and hosts, including eligibility for startup and growth ventures, links to the applications, testimonials, and FAQs.

The Hatchery

The Hatchery (Business Planning for New Enterprises) is the university's capstone entrepreneurship course. This course is offered by the Olin Business School in both the fall and spring semester and is open to all students at the university.

Students form teams around a commercial or social venture idea proposed by a student or community entrepreneur. The deliverables for the course include two presentations to a panel of judges and a complete business plan. The deliverables in the course are similar to the deliverables in the Center’s business plan competitions and can be a valuable first step toward competition and funding for a new venture.

Entrepreneurs seeking a team of students may attend a Hatchery IdeaBounce® to recruit a team.

Dates for 2014–2015 are:

  • Tuesday, September 2
  • Tuesday, January 13

Read the syllabus (pdf) or read more about the process and cost for community entrepreneurs.

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