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Muma College of Business

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image of david chessler

Photos by Elizabeth L. Brown, USF Muma College of Business 

HUSTLE 2.0 launches search for next big student business idea

TAMPA – HUSTLE 2.0 officially kicked off on Sept. 11 with entrepreneurial leaders in search of the next big, scalable business idea to invest in and bring to the masses.

Leaders from the University of South Florida Nault Center for Entrepreneurship and Chessler Holdings challenged interested student entrepreneurs gathered in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom to get creative. Be disruptive. Change the game.

“This year is going to be a new chapter for us. It is the opportunity of a lifetime. We’re looking for you to come up with the next Cirkul, the next Facebook,” said David Chessler, the founder of Chessler Holdings and who is partnering with the USF Muma College of Business to host the second year of the HUSTLE competition.

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David Chessler encourages students to compete in the HUSTLE competition.

The competition gives students the chance to pitch their own innovative business ideas. The winning team will receive $100,000 in Series A funding to continue their business.

Applications for HUSTLE 2.0 opened on Sept. 1 and will close on Oct. 15. Interested USF students can apply here. The contest is open to all current USF students on any campus.

GJ de Vreede, interim dean at the Muma College of Business, encouraged interested students to challenge themselves and apply.

“If you want to learn how to swim, you need to get wet,” he said. “Likewise, to be an entrepreneur, you have to go out and do it. The HUSTLE competition is not a classroom exercise. You run a real business with money on the line.”

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Interim Dean GJ de Vreede announces the launch of the HUSTLE competition.

Organizers explained that HUSTLE 2.0 will be run differently than its inaugural year.

Last year’s competition had student teams compete head-to-head running a hot food kiosk vending business that was part of the Chessler Holdings portfolio.

This year, Chessler said the review committee is looking for scalable business ideas that they could help build and unique businesses they would be excited to invest in.

“We’re looking for the next big concept. This is getting Chessler Holdings involved at an early stage in a scalable business, to help it grow and take to the masses,” he said.

The competition will be run in phases. The first phase requires applicants to submit a concise business operations plan, budget, and market analysis. A team of business professionals will review the applications, conduct interviews, and select the finalists.

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Finalists are invited to attend a three-day business boot camp where teams will create a professional business plan and pitch their ideas to a board of judges. From there, two to three teams with the highest potential will be given $30,000 to $50,000 each to start their business and enter the HUSTLE competition during the spring 2024 semester. A grand finale is scheduled for August 2024 when the winner of the $100,000 in Series A funding will be announced.

For more information about the HUSTLE competition, go here.

Dirk Libaers, the director of the Nault Center for Entrepreneurship, encouraged students not only to apply, but to engage in the many entrepreneurship opportunities and pitch competitions available at the center.

The center, which received a $10 million naming gift from alumnus Jay Nault in June, is expanding the number of entrepreneurial experiences available to students, including pitch competitions, mentoring, and other new educational opportunities.

Its fall semester line-up includes the USF St. Pete Sustainability Pitch Competition on Oct. 20, the Frank and Ellen Daveler Entrepreneurship Program on Nov. 17, and the USF Video Game Competition on Dec. 8.  To see the full schedule of competitions, go here.    

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