The Daily Gamecock

In Our Opinion: Proving Ground encourages entrepreneurship

The Proving Ground, USC’s competition for entrepreneurial students and their startups, concluded last night in a live presentation of the finalists.

Winning ideas included ReligionShare, a religious social media platform; ZzzSock, a bedding product featuring a zipper to streamline making your bed; and SAGE Energy Solutions, a fuel reformer that converts regular fuel into propane. Each won the social, conceptual and technological category respectively.

You don’t need to be Warren Buffett to see the obvious dividends that the Proving Ground is bound to pay. While our classroom education is paramount in the pursuit of our diploma, there is no substitute for the kind of real-world experience that the winners of the competition will earn. On top of the monetary rewards, winners will also be paired with a mentor and visit a business think tank to improve their ideas while cultivating more.

The cash reward isn’t too shabby, either. This year’s Proving Ground boasted more than $50,000 in cash prizes and startup support. The money comes from sponsors who share the same confidence in USC’s student entrepreneurs that the Proving Ground organization does.

USC would be wise to sweeten the pot themselves. The improved development of entrepreneurs is a sure-fire way to boost the school’s name and the value of our education.

Most of business is a zero-sum game, but thankfully for USC, the Proving Ground isn’t. Student entrepreneurs get the much-needed experience and support in realizing their product, and the school gets to brag about the success of its alumni; what’s not to like?