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Newhouse School launches 'Student Startup Madness' to support student entrepreneurs

February 16, 2012

Wendy S. Loughlin
(315) 443-2785

The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications announces the creation of Student Startup Madness (SSM), an exciting tournament-style competition for college student startups in association with South By Southwest (SXSW).

Student Startup Madness will officially debut with a launch event/kick-off pitchfest this March during SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas, where students will have the opportunity to pitch their ventures and win prizes. The event will occur on Monday, March 12, from 9 a.m.-noon at Maria Maria La Cantina, 415 Colorado St. in Austin.

For the full schedule, visit

The kick-off pitchfest is the precursor to the 2012-13 nationwide tournament. The online entry period opens in summer 2012, followed by regional events at host universities across the country in fall 2012 and culminating in the national finals before a celebrity panel of well-known entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and investors at SXSW Interactive in March 2013.

Each round of the nationwide tournament will build momentum, awareness and social media buzz, drawing attention to colleges and universities as sources for innovation, entrepreneurship and talent while showcasing outstanding university entrepreneurship programs and encouraging college students to start businesses.

“We teach our students to embrace the spirit of entrepreneurship,” says Newhouse Dean Lorraine Branham. “The world is changing quickly and in sometimes unexpected ways, and we know that tomorrow’s leaders will have to be innovative. Student Startup Madness allows us to encourage and support those entrepreneurial students—not just at Newhouse but across the country—whose ideas might just become ‘the next big thing.’”

The Student Startup Madness concept was developed by Sean Branagan, director of the Newhouse School’s Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship. “South by Southwest is the epicenter of the digital media startup world,” says Branagan. “It’s a fitting place to launch Student Startup Madness this year and to hold the finals next year and beyond. We’re honored to be the only college student startup program at SXSW’s Startup Village, which was created to focus all the SXSW activities for digital media entrepreneurship.”

College students with student startups who will be attending SXSW Interactive are encouraged to sign up for the March 12 kickoff pitchfest. They can register online at

Opportunities are available for sponsorships and for university regional host sites for the 2012-13 tournament. For more information, contact Branagan at

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