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SDSU receives $5M Moxie endowment for entrepreneurship programs

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San Diego State University received a $5.1 million gift from the Moxie Foundation to strengthen the school’s innovation and entrepreneurship programs.

The endowed gift will create the Zahn Innovation Platform, the Zahn Chair of Creativity and Innovation, the Zahn Professorship of Creativity and Innovation, and the Irwin Zahn Spirit of Innovation Prize.

SDSU is also investing funds to support these initiatives. This marks the Moxie Foundation’s third gift to SDSU.

The ZIP will be a campuswide hub for cross-disciplinary collaboration meant to help launch new ventures. The new Zahn Chair of Creativity and Innovation will help lead these ZIP initiatives. The ZIP Launchpad is an expansion of the incubator capacity that has been central to SDSU’s entrepreneurial mission. This includes the HG Fenton Idea Lab, which offers experimentation and prototyping.

ZIP will expand SDSU’s Zahn Innovation Center, established in 2012 as a commercial and social incubator to support entrepreneurship on campus.

The expansion and reorganization of the existing Zahn Innovation Center into ZIP will provide new opportunities for collaboration between ZIP and the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center, both of which will eventually be in SDSU’s Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences Complex, scheduled for completion in 2018.

The $90 million EIS Complex will become a campus hub of interdisciplinary STEM research that has potential for real-world application.

The Zahn Professorship of Creativity and Innovation is a rotating two-year appointment for SDSU faculty members from different disciplines to pursue work that accelerates entrepreneurship across campus.

Following a call for proposals in January 2016, the inaugural Zahn Professor of Creativity and Innovation will be selected by May 2016.

The endowment will also create the Irwin Zahn Spirit of Innovation Prize. Presented to one SDSU graduate each year, the prize will recognize those whose lives and work exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit.

This is a significant financial award intended to cover a students’ entire debt amount, empowering honorees to pursue their dreams without barriers.

“We believe that entrepreneurial thought and action extend far beyond starting a venture; it’s a critical skill set that we want every member of the SDSU community equipped with,” said Irwin Zahn, CEO and chairman of the Moxie Foundation, describing the impetus behind the recent gift. “We have enjoyed watching the success of those involved with the Zahn Innovation Center and believe that this endowment will help expand the influence of innovation and change-making to all corners of the campus ... and beyond.”

Irwin Zahn is the founder of Autosplice Inc., a global electronic interconnect company.

Zahn sold his company in 2011 and started the Moxie Foundation with a vision to advance entrepreneurial achievement through cutting-edge, experiential education.

The Moxie Foundation, based in San Diego, is dedicated to empowering individuals and communities by fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.

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