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Catalyst: Start Something

Contact Information

P: 864-656-3015

Campus Location

118 Long Hall


Monday - Friday:
9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

What is the Catalyst Competition?

Girl giving presentation with video board behind her.The College of Science Catalyst Competition is an entrepreneurship challenge that seeks to support students in developing their innovative business ideas in the areas of science and technology.

Each spring, student teams present their ideas to a panel of judges in a culminating pitch competition for a chance to win cash prizes.

Contact Information

P: 864-656-3015

Campus Location

118 Long Hall


Monday - Friday:
9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Entrepreneurship Creative Inquiry Course

The Catalyst Competition is supported by Entrepreneurship in Science: From Idea to Market, a two-semester Creative Inquiry course that teaches students how to identify business opportunities, translate ideas into products and pitch their ideas to funders. Through the course, students will visit businesses and hear from business leaders and entrepreneurs, develop and test prototype products, and establish business plans.

Register for Entrepreneurship in Science: From Idea to Market to learn more about how entrepreneurship impacts lives and society, translating ideas into viable products or services, the basics of building an idea into a business venture, pitching business ideas and more.

Course Details

  • 3:30-5 p.m. Wednesdays
  • Long Hall Room 228
  • Undergraduate course: BIOL 4940 (CRN 90224, HON CRN 90496)
  • Graduate course: BIOL 8710 (CRN 91797)

Supporting Students

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A two-semester course is offered in the College of Science to help students prepare for the pitch competition. All Science students are eligible to join the competition even if not registered in the course.

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Student teams will work with industry and academic experts and can attend presentations or hear from speakers on topics related to entrepreneurship and innovation.

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Professional Development

As a participant, you’ll learn valuable skills for innovating and pushing the limits of your creativity in college and the outside world.

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Seed Funding and Grand Prizes

Each team accepted for the Catalyst Competition may be eligible to receive up to $500 in funding to help develop their project. The top three winning teams receive prizes of $2,500, $1,000 and $500.

Got an Idea?

The College of Science is home to the next generation of scientists who will lead the way through innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. The College of Science wants to help you develop your product and the skills necessary to turn it into reality.

Man and woman, woman holding microphone, in red seats in auditorium.Do you have an idea? Here are some things to consider:

  • Your idea must be student-initiated and directed. It cannot have been initiated, developed or supported (past or present) by faculty grant funding.
  • Your idea should be related to science. Any marketable idea will be considered.
  • Protection of intellectual property generated by the student teams is the responsibility of the students. Program advisers will work with the students on best practices of disclosure and confidentiality. Applications for the College of Science Catalyst Competition program will remain confidential and will not constitute a disclosure.

To learn more or request registration in the Entrepreneurship in Science: From Idea to Market course, email Jeremy Tzeng at


Student Requirements

Want to participate in the College of Science Catalyst Competition? Keep these points in mind:

  • Undergraduates and graduate students are welcome to apply. Graduate students are eligible to participate as part of a team.
  • Teams must have at least one SCIENCE student or be mentored by a SCIENCE faculty to be eligible.
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2024 Catalyst Winners

Three Clemson University seniors — marketing major Anna Parker and biological sciences majors Elizabeth Nowell and Hannah May — have created a mobile X-ray device that allows veterinary offices to get quality images while reducing risks to the animal’s health.

Watch Video

Donor Support

Sincere appreciation is extended to all who have donated to this initiative since the launch of the program, including the Spiro Institute, the Spiro Institute Advisory Board, the Watt Family Innovation Center, the Brook T. Smith Launchpad and alumni donors.