Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative

At Arizona State University, entrepreneurship is not confined to a single college or school, nor is it housed in one center or institute. Here, entrepreneurial thinking is a mindset – one that manifests itself across all majors and programs. ASU students, faculty and staff continually work to identify local and global needs, find ways to meet them and implement entrepreneurial solutions.

The Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative aims to help ASU’s student entrepreneurs develop their innovative ideas and launch viable startup companies. Up to 50 student startups each year receive seed funding as well as office space at ASU SkySong, mentorship and exclusive training opportunities. Companies are selected in a competitive process that includes submitting a business proposal and pitching to a panel of judges. The program has supported 140 student ventures – such as those below – since 2005, made possible by an investment from the J. Orin Edson Foundation to the ASU Foundation for A New American University.

Ensuring Clean Water
There are an estimated 1 billion people in the developing world who don’t have access to clean water, and more than 3,000 children in developing countries die each day because of lack of clean water. Two startups that were launched in ASU’s Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative have set out to change that – Hydrogene Biotechnologies and Safe SIPP.  

Inspired by a student’s research trip to Guatemala, HydroGene Biotechnologies is developing a quick, inexpensive way to detect contaminants in drinking water. The team created a protein biosensor that emits color to show the presence of bacteria in water. Once it’s been determined that the water is contaminated, it can be treated before it’s consumed, thus preventing the spread of waterborne diseases.  

SafeSIPP was founded by a team of students as part of ASU’s Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program. The SafeSIPP system uses a rolling barrel to transport large quantities of water. In addition, the barrel contains a purification unit that cleans the water as it’s transported. SafeSIPP allows users to transport, purify and store more water with less time and effort than traditional methods of collecting water.