From the days of the gold rush to the emergence of Silicon Valley, California has been the shining beacon for all those willing to wager risk against reward. Overcoming insurmountable odds and unfamiliar terrain many of these next level dreamers ignored the pleas of their peers and pushed forward knowing that for them failure was not an option. So it is the same for the modern-day entrepreneur.

For this next round of the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards all of the action will take place at the EO Alchemy Conference, an entrepreneurial conference designed to bring entrepreneurs together to learn, share, and elevate their minds and spirits. It is in this setting that six student entrepreneurs hailing from the western United States will compete for a spot in the Global Finals next month.

The Alchemy Semi-finals boast a diverse line-up of competitors. These young entrepreneurs have built successful companies representing the western and southwestern regions of the United States. The semi-finalists for the Alchemy GSEA Awards 2011 are:

  • Zach Hamilton, founder of DevilWash and a student at Arizona State University majoring in Entrepreneurism. His company collects, cleans and recycles water that is used during concrete power-washing.
  • Garrett Gee, founder of Scan is a graduate of Brigham Young University with a degree in Industrial Design. His company allows people to create custom QR codes that can link to the URLs  of their choice.
  • Kevin Gelfand, president of SmartShake is a graduate of San Diego University majoring in business management. His company, the first permanent student-run business on campus, provides healthy, affordable protein shakes.
  • Justin Dew, founder of Open Arms Home Care Referral Agency (OAHCRA), is a student at Pacific Union College. OAHCRA provides home health care services, matching clients based on a unique set of preferences and community-based social services to California.
  • The sixth finalist is a mystery, to be unveiled at the Los Angeles local competition taking place that same morning.

Just like those determined men of the gold rush and the left-of-center software savants of the Silicon Valley the student entrepreneurs competing at Alchemy 2011 think larger than themselves, larger than life.  They are the new California Dreamers daring to venture into the treacherous landscape of the business world. Bolstered by the credo “Dream big, Win big” these business whiz kids have taken risks that have open the trail for all of us to follow.

Which entrepreneur do you think is dreaming the biggest?

  1. DevilWash
  2. Scan
  3. SmartShake
  4. Open Arms Home Care Referral Agency
  5. Mystery Competitor! I like to keep my options open