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February 20, 2008

Thousands expected to return for second Entrepreneurship Week

A weeklong program devoted to entrepreneurship that debuted last year at Stanford returns on Friday, featuring speaking engagements open to the public and student activities such as a start-up job fair and "speed dating" session where would-be entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to pitch their business ideas to Silicon Valley venture capitalists.

The second annual Entrepreneurship Week at Stanford kicks off on Feb. 22 with the world-premier of Imagine It!, a documentary that follows several teams of Stanford students who participated in a entrepreneurial competition similar to the reality TV show The Apprentice. The contest was a highlight of last year's Entrepreneurship Week, and the screening—free and open to the public—will begin at 4 p.m. in Memorial Auditorium.

The Stanford Entrepreneurship Network, a federation of more than a dozen organizations across campus, is sponsoring the weeklong event, in partnership with the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. Other events that are open to the public include a workshop on Saturday, Feb. 23, titled "Pump Up Your Creativity," and a combined panel-and-showcase event on Sunday, Feb. 24, titled "Funding Social Enterprises."

The Center for Social Innovation at the Graduate School of Business and the Stanford Digital Vision Fellowship Program will co-host Sunday's events from 3 to 5 p.m. in Wallenberg Hall. Panelists will include Jenny Shilling Stein, executive director of the Draper Richards Foundation, and Jessica Jackley Flannery, co-founder and director of business development for—both leading funders of social entrepreneurs.

Additional panel discussions, ranging from innovations in medical devices to media coverage to global entrepreneurship, are free and open to all. A job fair on Thursday, Feb. 28, expected to feature 101 startups representing a wide array of industries, also is open to the public. The fair will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Tresidder Union.

The finale for Entrepreneurship Week will be held in the Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center. At 5 p.m. on Feb. 29, the winners of this year's Innovation Tournament will be announced. Like last year, teams of entrepreneurial students will compete against each other during Entrepreneurship Week by trying to create the most value out of an everyday item selected by organizers of the contest.

Last year's item was a pack of Post-it Notes, and teams went as far as Thailand, Australia and India to create value out of the square pad by using its sticky sheets in ways that raised money and awareness for causes such as education and healthcare (as will be shown in Imagine It!). After the screening of the documentary on Monday, the mystery item for this year's competition will be revealed.

"One of the best events to come to, to get your feet wet, is the kickoff event," said Theresa Stevens, project lead for Entrepreneurship Week. "The movie is really fantastic. It's very high energy."

Many of last year's events were standing-room only, with Stevens estimating a total attendance of about 3,000 people over the course of last year's Entrepreneurship Week. She added that early attendance is recommended for this year's events.

For a complete schedule and to see a movie trailer for Imagine It!, go to Funding for Entrepreneurship Week is provided by Deloitte.

Hayley Rutger is a science-writing intern at the Stanford News Service.



Theresa Lina Stevens, Entrepreneurship Week at Stanford University: (415) 203-1800,


Tina Seelig, Stanford Technology Ventures Program: (650) 725-1627,

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