LONG BEACH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sunstone Management, a diversified capital management and investment firm based in Long Beach, Calif., has partnered with California State University Long Beach (CSULB) to sponsor the university’s prestigious startup business competition. Previously the CSULB Innovation Challenge, the decade-old program—a partnership among CSULB’s colleges of Engineering, Business and the Arts—will now be known as the Sunstone Innovation Challenge at CSULB.
The program, which runs annually from August through the following April, offers participating teams the opportunity to develop, submit and pitch business plans to judges in order to compete for seed funding and additional financial resources. Each team receives a mentor to provide valuable guidance and industry advice, and teams are also afforded support from CSULB’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
College of Engineering Dean Forouzan Golshani and College of Business Dean Michael Solt launched the Innovation Challenge a decade ago as a platform to foster entrepreneurship, expanding it to the College of the Arts under former Dean Cyrus Parker-Jeannette. “Over the past decade, hundreds of student entrepreneurs have developed the skills to bring business ideas to market through the Innovation Challenge,” said Golshani. “I’m gratified that Sunstone Management has a vision to build on that track record of success and take the competition to the next level.”
“Every year, I enjoy watching students take their fresh ideas and begin learning how to evaluate and present the opportunities to the judges,” added Solt. “With Sunstone’s sponsorship, the Innovation Challenge will rise to a new level that will provide significantly more support for winning teams. This is a dream come true for our students.”
Former Dean Parker-Jeannette remarked “Each year the student participants generate creative and meaningful ideas, services, and products. The intersection of arts, business, engineering, and sciences creates such synergy in thinking and finding solutions through this inspiring program—these innovators are seeking to make a better world.”
This year’s challenge includes 35 teams and approximately 100 participants, including 75 CSULB students. Though participating teams must include at least one current CSULB student in a leading role, the competition attracts a diverse, impressive roster of entrepreneurs.
“The Sunstone Innovation Challenge at CSULB has the potential to be one of the country’s most elite entrepreneurship competitions,” said John Shen, founding partner of Sunstone Management. “We are thrilled to fund this program and invest in the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
Sponsorship of the Innovation Challenge is Sunstone Management’s latest contribution to strengthening Long Beach's entrepreneurial ecosystem and attracting top talent and additional investment to the region. Sunstone, the Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at CSULB and the City of Long Beach also recently announced the formation of the Long Beach Accelerator program, a public-private partnership to prepare early-stage tech startups in the Long Beach area to secure funding and provide additional resources for participants. In addition, Sunstone launched a designated fund, LBA Sunstone Fund I, to facilitate the growth of startups participating in the accelerator, and will serve as a partner in leading angel investment firm Seraph Group’s new Seraph Long Beach I L.P. Fund providing seed funding to Long Beach area entrepreneurs.
About Sunstone Management
Sunstone Management, with its subsidiary Sunstone Venture Capital Fund, is a diversified private capital management and investment firm offering comprehensive wealth management solutions to high net worth clients worldwide, in particular U.S. new-immigrant families. Focusing on investments in U.S. based small businesses and lower middle markets, its offerings are carefully structured to meet targeted investor goals ranging from short term senior debt products to longer term, equity, growth capital and venture capital investment strategies.
About CSULB Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship
The mission of the CSULB Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (IIE) is to provide programming and guidance for innovators and entrepreneurs that leads to success. The IIE is a central hub for innovators and entrepreneurs in Long Beach, with programming and services to support long-term economic growth that is inclusive and sustainable for our diverse community.