For high school students who dream of joining college esports teams, there isn’t a clear pathway forward. “There is a prevalent gap between high schoolers and college esports teams who want to recruit these gamers to go to their schools,” explains University of California, Irvine (UCI) student Manav Manivannan. “These college esports teams have no way to figure out how to recruit and scout potential players.”

To close this gap, Manav and his friend Adhash Subramanian worked on a platform designed to help student gamers promote themselves and to facilitate connections with college esports teams. With REMAGE, Manav and Adharsh are hoping to accomplish three main things. First, they want to give student gamers the opportunity to represent themselves. Second, they want to provide college esports teams a space where they can reach out to and recruit high school gamers on a professional level. Finally, they want to eliminate negative stigma and redefine what it means to be an esports player.

While Manav and Adharsh knew that REMAGE had the potential to do great things, they weren’t sure how to take their idea and turn it into a viable business plan. Looking for guidance, they turned to Jaune Odombrown, ANTrepreneur Center Manager, for assistance.

With its mission of helping UCI students explore the process of entrepreneurship, the ANTrepreneur Center serves as a hub where student entrepreneurs, or “ANTrepreneurs,” can develop the skills necessary to start, operate, or grow their own businesses. Since its establishment in 2014, the ANTrepreneur Center has offered access to resources, events, programs, and services to foster innovative thinking and an entrepreneurial spirit in UCI’s student body.

For Manav, his experience working with the ANTrepreneur Center was an overwhelmingly positive one. He explains, “I worked with them very closely. Jaune was extremely helpful and took us under his wing and helped us grow.” With Jaune’s mentorship, Manav was able to learn more about the steps he needed to take to transform his ideas into a concrete business strategy.

Adharsh echoes this sentiment as he notes, “The ANTrepreneur Center has been a great resource for Manav and me over the past 6-8 months. Jaune Odombrown educated us on the basics of entrepreneurship and has guided our startup through every step of the way.”

While Manav and Adharsh were also able to take advantage of the resources available at the ANTrepreneur Center, such as the ASCEND podcast studio, 3D printer, and scholarship and funding opportunities, they say that the most valuable service offered by the ANTrepreneur Center team is support.

Manav explains, “There are many mentors at the ANTrepreneur Center, and they are very approving and very supportive of new ideas. They don’t look down on you just because you don’t have experience.”

The welcoming atmosphere of the ANTrepreneur Center is something that Adharsh feels was essential to his and Manav’s journey of exploration and development.

“The community of entrepreneurs at the Center has contributed greatly to not only the growth of our startup, but also expanded our knowledge on entrepreneurship,” he explains. “It is safe to say that without Jaune and the community of individuals at the ANTrepreneur Center, our startup would not be where it is today.”

Manav and Adharsh both emphasize that the ANTrepreneur team is all about helping students move forward with their plans. Rather than allowing students to doubt themselves or make excuses, Jaune and his team encourage students to take risks and learn from their mistakes. While Manav and Adharsh were initially concerned that their inexperience would hold them back, Jaune and the ANTrepreneur staff motivated them to keep going.

According to Jaune, “Entrepreneurship is a learned discipline, and anyone willing can comprehend its structure. However, it requires commitment from an entrepreneur to navigate the process from ideation to implementation.”

Manav confirms this statement as he explains, “The ANTrepreneur Center helps you develop your own skills on the way. As long as you have an idea that you are willing to commit to, the ANTrepreneur Center is the perfect resource for every student.”

At the moment, Manav and Adharsh are working with Jaune to build a website for REMAGE, and they expect their startup to launch in Fall 2020. While they are currently focused on helping college esports teams with recruitment, Adharsh says that they are already working on plans to grow.

“We hope to expand our platform to semi-professional and professional teams that are interested in recruiting gamers. In the future, our goal is to make the website the central hub of recruitment for all esports athletes, regardless of age or skill level.”

If you are a UCI student Interested in kickstarting your entrepreneurial journey or learning more about the services offered by the ANTrepreneur Center, then visit their website here or connect with Jaune directly at jodombro@uci.edu. You can also schedule an appointment by emailing the UCI ANTrepreneur Center at antrepreneur@uci.edu or by filling out this form.

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