Formerly known as "Small Business Strong," Conaxion was the winner of the 2016 Mayor’s Cup, a social impact initiative introduced by Mayor Eric Garcetti. The team — comprised of undergraduates from Cal State Los Angeles — took top honors for its idea for a traveling small business resource center, which could deliver mentorship opportunities and pathways to capital to underserved, underrepresented, and under-connected small business owners.
The Mayor’s Cup is a competition for young entrepreneurs at L.A. universities to pitch innovative solutions for tackling the city’s biggest challenges. Competitors were asked to develop ideas to address one of two issues: growing L.A.’s economy and civic engagement in neighborhoods. More than 100 teams applied, with graduate students from UCLA, USC and LMU competing in the final five.
Finalists pitched their proposals to a panel of judges, including: Troy Carter of Atom Factory; Jennifer Lopez of the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space; Brian Lee of The Honest Company and LegalZoom; William Pomerantz of Virgin Galactic; and Diana Trujillo of NASA.