[ skip to content ]

More Information about this image

You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

University-Wide Entrepreneurship Competition Will See Finalists Pitch Their Start-Up Projects, 'Shark Tank'-Style

By Brendan O'Hallarn

Old Dominion University is hosting its first University-wide entrepreneurial contest in November, in conjunction with National Entrepreneurship Month.

The Lion's Lair Innovation Competition, sponsored by the Hillier Ignite, will see entrepreneurs compete for prizes in three tracks - students, faculty and staff, and Old Dominion alumni.

The first annual competition, hosted by the Strome Entrepreneurial Center, Old Dominion University Alumni Association and Strome Entrepreneurial Fellows, seeks to reward innovative ideas for traditional entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship.

Entrants can apply online by Oct. 11, and finalists will be selected to present Nov. 4 in a "Shark Tank"-inspired event from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Hampton/Newport News rooms of Webb University Center. The event will be emceed by Ted Alexander of ODU Athletics, and will feature prominent local entrepreneurs as judges.

"The 'Lair' is an exciting way to showcase entrepreneurial talent from the ODU community, including alumni, faculty/staff and students," said Nancy Grden, executive director of the Strome Entrepreneurial Center.

"We thank Old Dominion alum and entrepreneur Luke Hillier for financial support, as well as our partners, the faculty Entsminger Fellows and the Alumni Association, for initiating the idea."

In a proclamation to mark National Entrepreneurship Month in November 2015, President Barack Obama said purpose and ingenuity have been American hallmarks since the country's founding.

"Americans have more opportunities now than ever before to carry forward this legacy," Obama wrote. "During National Entrepreneurship Month, we revisit our roots as a country of dreamers and doers, and we celebrate and support the next generation of American entrepreneurs."

The entrepreneurial spirit extends year-round, and University-wide, at Old Dominion.

The University's campus-wide entrepreneurial efforts received a huge boost in 2014, with the gift of $11 million by the Strome Family Foundation of ODU engineering alumnus Mark Strome '78.

The gift from Mark and Tammy Strome enabled the creation of the Strome Entrepreneurial Center, which supports University-affiliated entrepreneurs at every stage of the business lifecycle. There, students, faculty, staff and alumni receive coaching and build business connections.

In addition, for the past three years, six faculty members have been selected annually for the Entsminger Fellows program. They are charged with bringing entrepreneurship into the University's academic colleges.

Old Dominion also has strived for decades to be a resource for the local business community through initiatives such as the Center for Enterprise Innovation (CEI), which evolved from the University's Business Gateway in 2014. The CEI seeks to foster local economic growth through a series of interconnected programs created to help local entrepreneurs, such as the Technology Applications Center, Women's Business Center and Hampton Roads Veterans Business Outreach Center.

In July, the ODU Innovation Center - Norfolk, a partnership between CEI and the City of Norfolk, was launched. It provides area entrepreneurs with collaboration space and a comprehensive program of services designed to grow a community of scalable entrepreneurial businesses within Norfolk's Innovation Corridor.

Site Navigation

Experience Guaranteed

Enhance your college career by gaining relevant experience with the skills and knowledge needed for your future career. Discover our experiential learning opportunities.

Academic Days

Picture yourself in the classroom, speak with professors in your major, and meet current students.

Upcoming Events

From sports games to concerts and lectures, join the ODU community at a variety of campus events.