By Nicole Matheson

The second annual HavaStartup competition is underway this 2020-2021 season, brought to Lake Havasu by ASU@Lake Havasu, Lake Havasu Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Better Business Bureau.

Cash and gift prizes await the winner of HavaStartup. Entrants must present an innovative, viable business plan to the team of judges alongside other competitors. The competition was conceptualized by Dr. Leepsa Nabaghan Madhabika, who encourages anyone who has a unique business idea to join the competition this year for not only prizes but a valuable chance to make their dreams a reality.

How It Began

Upon joining ASU@Lake Havasu, Madhabika observed, “The sense of connectivity in this community with a lot of opportunities, community engagement activities and incredible amount of resources of ASU@Lake Havasu” presented opportunities. Ironically, she also found that the youth of La,ke Havasu tend to want to move away because of lack of opportunities. “I thought, why not to create opportunities in Lake Havasu City? I asked myself, what can be done to bring together all the resources and talents to help our community?”

The answer was HavaStartup, which was a success in the 2019-2020 season. “When I met different contestants last year, they were so glad that such competition is organized in Lake Havasu because earlier they never got a platform to share their business idea and achieve their entrepreneurial dream. I felt fortunate that we got a chance to support those dreamers.”

A Second Year Of Competition

It was decided to bring back the competition for a second year because of the challenges our community has experienced in business in 2020. “I want to support Lake Havasu City and work with various community leaders to encourage new ideas and business development,” Madhabika said. “In the long run, my vision is to support economic growth and development of Lake Havasu City. The COVID-19 pandemic has not only affected human health but also the health of the economy, small businesses and entrepreneurs. I want the startup firms to thrive in this challenging time.”

Approximately 20 people have come together to make this competition possible, including mentors, judges and speakers. “Thanks to all the faculty, staff and students of ASU@Lake Havasu, CAG members and community leaders who directly or indirectly volunteered to support the HavaStartup competition to help our community,” Madhabika said. The effort has been led with creative minds this year because of the pandemic.

New Ideas

This year, everyone involved is looking forward to brand new business ideas. “I am also excited to meet community leaders and industry experts who will mentor the contestants for a few months and guide them to fine-tune their business proposals,” Madhabika said.

If you have a fresh business idea, visit havasu.asu.edu/havastartup or email at n.m.leepsa@gmail.com for details. Stage 1, Registration, closes Nov. 4, at 5 p.m. Stage 2 of the competition is the workshop phase and Stage 3 includes the Submission of Fully Developed Business Plan Report, due by Feb. 11, 2021 at 5 p.m. The 4th and final stage of the competition, Presentation of Fully Developed Business Plan and Award Ceremony, is on March 4 2021 from 4 to 6 p.m.


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