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Because we care

Avnet Innovation Lab at ASU Fulton Schools of Engineering

ASU Innovation Open

Avnet employees share a commitment to making a difference in the communities where we live, work and play.

Understanding the power of working together, we partner with suppliers, customers and vendors to maximize our impact in the community. We also back up that commitment with financial support by investing in programs and projects in our communities targeted at improving technology education, promoting energy conservation and helping underserved groups gain skills and obtain employment opportunities.

That sense of responsibility spreads throughout the company. Our employee-led volunteer initiative, Avnet Cares, supports employees who are making a difference through hands-on and skills-based volunteerism. We support their efforts around the world.

A full summary of our partnerships, sponsorships and Avnet Cares activities can be found in our annual giving report.​

Avnet employee volunteer making a difference in their communities ​​

Avnet's community support activities are proactively initiated by our employees and are not a result of unsolicited proposals. We do not encourage unsolicited proposals, as Avnet’s general giving policy does not support these types of donation requests. If you have any questions, please send an email to Community Relations.

Supporting our communities

Our financial giving centers on three key areas:

  • ​Delivering technology education beginning in middle schools
  • Promoting employment opportunities for underserved groups
  • Encouraging energy conservation
Each year, we develop a plan to fund and support specific organizations and events aligned with these focus areas. Proposals are brought forth by our employees, business leaders and head of community relations and approved by our chief Human Resources officer and chief financial officer.

We've given millions of dollars in recent years to programs that support children's health and education needs, provide IT components for qualifying nonprofits, and address basic health and human services issues in our communities.

Investment in our communities

Our employees are involved in the communities where we do business—all over the world. We encourage partnerships with our suppliers, customers and vendors, recognizing that we can do greater work together. We support our employees’ volunteerism through paid time off and financial support. And finally, Avnet sponsors events, programs and projects in our communities that are aligned to our key focus areas.

Avnet's community support activities are proactively initiated by our employees and are not a result of unsolicited proposals. We do not encourage unsolicited proposals, as Avnet’s general giving policy does not support these types of donation requests. If you have any questions, please send an email to Community Relations.


Applications are now being accepted for the next Avnet Innovation Lab which opens February 2017. Applications will be accepted through December 7, 2016​ so don’t delay.

Innovation starts with a spark: an idea, a solution, a new way of thinking, of doing. Today's makers will become tomorrow's titans of tech. They will need to hone their skills to conquer new markets, drive demand and build a supply chain to fulfill it all. That's where we come in.

Avnet, in partnership with the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University (ASU), introduces the Avnet Innovation Lab. This tech start-up "accelerator" provides participants with funding, critical business consultation and access to dedicated working space in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering building on the ASU Tempe, Ariz. campus to help bring ideas to fruition. Participants also gain one-on-one access to the brightest minds in technology distribution, supply chain management and next-generation technologies during a 12-18 month program.


Learn more about the Avnet Innovation Lab experience directly from current participants.

Questions? Contact Community.Relations@Avnet.com

Meet the Avnet Innovation Lab advisory council:

  • Dave Bent, vice president of IT, Avnet, Inc.
  • Kris Burgoon, vice president of marketing, Avnet Electronics Marketing
  • Julie Jones, vice president, supplier marketing, Avnet Technology Solutions
  • Wade McDaniel, vice president of supply chain solutions, Avnet Velocity
  • Dr. Kyle Squires, dean, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
  • Cody Friesen, professor, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and CEO of Zero Mass Water



The ASU Innovation Open is designed to fuel multidisciplinary teams of collegiate founders as they harness the power of entrepreneurship to tackle the world’s most challenging problems.

The Open values university-supported technologies and the scientists, artists, engineers, enterprisers, and designers who develop them.

The Open views collegiate entrepreneurs as elite athletes who must demonstrate perseverance, hustle, and teamwork to change the world.

But only one student-led enterprise can win it all – a $100,000.00 grand prize. Who will rise to the challenge?

The 2017 Open is powered by:

Check out the official 2017 ASU Innovation Open promo flyer.

Come Cheer on our Final Four Entrepreneurial Athletes

The ASU Innovation Open – Final Four Demo Day
Hosted by Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Who: 200-300 entrepreneurial community leaders from Arizona, California, Colorado, and the Southwest are expected to attend.
What: A keynote address will be provided by Peter Hebert, co-founder of Lux Capital. Four Finalist student venture founders will pitch their startups. An award ceremony will conclude the event.
Where: ASU’s Beus Center for Law and Society – The Great Hall; 111 E Taylor St, Phoenix, AZ 85004
When: Sunday, April 2, 2017; 1 - 4 pm – In tandem with the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four festivities, which are being hosted by ASU.


How the Open Works

The ASU Innovation Open welcomes all current university students hailing from all academic disciplines. The Open comprises four highly competitive phases and three judging rounds.

Eligibility screening period

All applicants must create a five minute video pitch and submit it via the ASU Open application portal. Applications for the 2017 ASU Open are no longer being accepted. Please check back soon for details about the 2018 ASU Open.

Video pitch Q+A telephone conference
Judging Round #1

At this stage of the competition, all eligible competitors will be evaluated by entrepreneur evaluators and up to 15 Semi-Finalists will recommended for advancement within the competition.

As part of the initial application, all competitors must sign up for a video pitch Q+A telephone conference slot on Friday, January 27, 2017. All eligible applicants will be called at a selected time on this date to answer questions from a panel of evaluators about the submitted video pitch. Participation in this Q+A phone call about the submitted video pitch is required to advance to the subsequent stages of the Open.

VIP Experience for the 15 Semi-Finalists

Two co-founders from each of the 15 Semi-Finalists ventures will be invited to attend an optional VIP dinner hosted by Avnet at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, a local Five Diamond Resort, to help kick off the Phoenix Open pro golf tournament, "the greatest show on grass," and be recognized as top student innovators by Avnet's leadership team. Semi-Finalist co-founders will also receive complimentary passes to the Phoenix Open on Saturday, February 4, 2017.

VIP Pitch Playoffs for Semi-Finalists
Judging Round #2

At this stage of the competition, up to 15 Semi-Finalist competitors will be evaluated by a panel of VIP judges. These judges will select up to 5 Finalists to advance within the competition.

The VIP Pitch Playoffs for Semi-Finalists will take place at ASU SkySong in Scottsdale, Arizona on Friday, February 3, 2017. Semi-Finalist competitors may participate in this judging round remotely or in person.

VIP Experience for the Finalists

Co-founders from each of the Finalist ventures will be invited to attend an optional VIP experience at the NCAA Final Four festivities in Phoenix on Saturday, April 1, 2017. More details coming soon!

ASU Innovation Open Demo Day
Judging Round #3

At this stage of the competition, Finalist competitors will be evaluated by Title- and Co-Sponsor judges. These judges will select one $100K Grand Prize winner and several other ancillary prize winners. Finalists will pitch and winners will be selected and announced on Sunday, April 2, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Finalist competitors must participate in this judging round in person. Travel and accommodation expenses for Finalists will be subsidized by the ASU Open - Zero Mass Water Awards.


Who Should Compete?

The ASU Innovation Open is designed to challenge and advance university student innovators who aim to develop technology- and impact-focused ventures. The Open provides critical venture mentorship and funding for student competitors who are launching a wide range of enterprises, including new hardware and software inventions, that advance innovation within a wide variety of cutting-edge marketplaces, including:

  • Hardware solutions, with a focus on Internet of Things (IoT), which may include physical products utilizing electronics (e.g., wireless devices, sensors, LED lighting, medical devices, robotics, etc.).
  • Software solutions, with a focus on data analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, embedded IoT solutions, device management, etc.
  • Protected technologies, with a focus on graduate student-led spinouts that aim to commercialize University-managed intellectual property (IP - physical or life sciences).
  • Social enterprises, with a focus on Conscious Capitalism.
  • Mainstreet enterprises, with a focus on empowering underrepresented minority entrepreneurs at scale.

Competitor Eligibility

  • A majority of each venture's membership/equity must be currently enrolled in an accredited University undergraduate or graduate program at the time the ASU Innovation Open Demo Day event.
  • If students do not own at least 50% of the aggregate equity/membership interests, the Advisory Council will review competitor eligibility on a case-by-case basis.
  • Faculty Principal Investigators (PIs) who do not hold a concurrent student status will not be eligible to serve as competitors/applicants.
  • Participating ventures must meet the following criteria:
    • Have taken steps beyond ideation (e.g., market research, etc., prototype/ website development, etc.)
    • Have NOT obtained substantial funding from other sources (e.g., Angels, VCs; to be determined by the Advisory Council, but generally over $100,000 in angel or V.C. funding is considered “substantial.”)
    • Have a high level of commitment to the venture (e.g., Teams should continue to seek funding elsewhere if they do not win at the ASU Innovation Open, with the intention to validate or launch.)
    • Demonstrate scalability (not localized)
    • Each student team must have the intent of at least attempting to pursue this business as a viable growing entity and not just as a “school project.”
    • Have NOT formed “shell” companies for the purpose of applying for this competition, or other grants, etc.

Competitor Recommendations

  • Multi-disciplinary teams that have two or more co-founders have a higher probability of success within the Open, as compared to solo applicant founders.
  • Teams should have a balance of individuals with technical expertise and business or startup experience related to the commercialization opportunity associated with the technology.
  • Regarding team formation, the Open is designed to:
    • Support new interdisciplinary startup management teams that form to create or commercialize technologies or novel innovations.
    • Possibly accommodate doctoral students, postdocs, and junior faculty as members of the startup management teams if they are interested in an entrepreneurial career trajectory, rather than a research trajectory.
    • Possibly accommodate PI’s as advisors to the management teams, or as minority (< 40%) equity holders on the management teams.



Giving back

Avnet’s Giving in FY15

See full report ➙​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


Interns give back

Avnet's summer interns brought a new level of excitement to our annual back to school drive.