Jeff and I just participated on a jury for Jeff Jarvis' Entrepreneurial Journalism class at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. There were 15 presentations by the students in the class. Their assignment was to shape a business idea, including an elevator pitch, a needs statement, market research & analysis, competitive analysis, a product plan, a revenue plan, a marketing/distribution plan, a operations plan, and a launch plan. Our assignment was to evaluate the business ideas and to decide as a group to which ideas we would give some seed funding from a pool of money, how much and what deliverables.
Overall, we were impressed by the level of passion, time and effort that the students poured into their ideas. Moreover, these were journalism students with a great deal of entrepreneurial spirit. It's a positive sign for the future of the media industry.
Unfortunately, we are not at liberty to reveal the ideas themselves, but the ideas were varied and demonstrated the creativity by which the students approached the assignment. Of course, there were ideas that seem to be more viable as businesses than others... but there were also other factors involved in the group's decision, such as leadership, management, and execution capabilities of the students.
In the end, the jury decided to split the pool of money among 4 projects. There were of course other projects that merited some level of funding, but unfortunately as in the "real" world, our pool of money was limited, and we needed to select the "best". We will also mentor some finalists and offer office space to provide a place to further shape their businesses.
As I mentioned to a journalist from The Telegraph who was covering the event, I was very excited to be a part of the jury. We are huge proponents of listening to ideas from the "younger" generation and connecting that drive, passion and creativity with the expertise of experienced professionals who are willing to vet, help and nurture those ideas and individuals. Our company loves to provide internships to listen and learn from the "younger" generation about their vision, needs and ideas about the future of media.