a student looks at a computer at an event

Innovation Initiator Program


Investing in innovative solutions

Encouraging students to pursue their imaginative dreams

Give to the Innovation Initiator Program

students and staff attend an innovation event at school

What does it mean to be innovative? It means being nimble, using trial and error to test products, noticing what works and more importantly, what doesn’t work. It means noticing the world around us, finding problems that need to be solved and being creative in applying solutions. It means talking to other innovators, being resilient, and having the confidence to try new things. At CSUN, it means preparing students to lead in ever-evolving and expanding tech and business industries.

Fast Pitch gives teams of students three minutes, three slides and an intense Question-and-Answer round to convince a panel of judges and an audience to invest in their venture idea. Fast Pitch is open to anyone on campus with an award-winning idea, and winning teams receive cash prizes as well as additional support to turn their idea into reality. 

The Bull Ring connects students with business professionals to sharpen their new ventures into business plans and gain access to potential investors. The three-month-long competition whittles teams down to five finalists to present their startup ideas and products to a panel of 10 judges. The grand prize: $20,000 and ongoing incubation services. Second and third place winners receive $10,000 and $5,000, respectively. Funding will expand the competition’s reach and scope.

Tech Jams is a monthlong competition focused on solving a real-world problem through a specific technology. Themes have included artificial intelligence, mobile applications, virtual and augmented reality, and technology used to manipulate and analyze data. The competition culminates in a showcase where projects are evaluated based on creativity, practicality and use of technology. Winning teams receive cash prizes and additional faculty and program support to further develop their project.

Funding for these student competitions allows them to grow in scope and reach, providing unique opportunities for CSUN students to pursue their innovative enterprises.