Entrepreneur Elympics: CSUF Students and Alumni Create New Opportunity for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs are known for their ability to think outside of the box. The students and alumni from CSUF are no exception.

Current Mihaylo business students and alumni have created Entrepreneur Elympics, a project encouraging entrepreneurs to form a community in which they can learn how to be successful together.

However, this big idea started small.

Two founding members of the project, William Taormina Jr., a Center for Entrepreneurship board member, and Mathew Gallizzi ’13, a business administration major, came up with the idea of having a “pitchfest” for a group of excited entrepreneurs. It was originally called SoCal Startup Pitchfest.

“At its most basic level, a ‘pitchfest’ is an event for entrepreneurs in which the attendees are given between 60 and 90 seconds to stand on a stage and explain their business idea or concept,” according to the consulting report for the pitchfest.

“Being able to pitch an idea effectively becomes critical when starting up a business,” says Gallizzi.

With the excitement of this new idea, the founders wanted to have the event as soon as possible. They gathered current CSUF students to work on the project and decided to use social media to market the event.

Using Meetup.com and Facebook, the group was able to gather 60 participants for the event in only two weeks.

With a successful event despite such short notice, it became apparent that entrepreneurs had a need for more of these events.

As a new school semester approached the members had the opportunity to bring the project into the classroom where they could gain even more knowledge about their idea.

At Mihaylo College, professor John Jackson’s principles of marketing class, students are required to meet with a client and prepare a marketing strategy for the client’s venture. Five students in the class were hired by Taormina to work on the SoCal Startup Pitchfest.

The students created a business plan that would demonstrate the best way for the business to become successful.

During this time, the students conducted surveys and secondary research to find the best marketing strategy for the business. Surveys were held at various pitchfest events through entrepreneurship groups on sites such as Linkedin.com and Facebook. The data was analyzed by the students, and the findings were put together in a consulting report.

“Our hope is to create an entrepreneur culture where people can learn and grow from workshops like the pitchfest, negotiating skills and web design,” says Trevor Heath ‘13, a founding member of the project.

After acing the class, and impressing the client, the students were again hired by Taormina to continue their work on the business now called Entrepreneur Elympics.

Over the next few months the group will be collaborating with Mihaylo College to expand the business idea and get more entrepreneurs interested in becoming a part of this learning community.

For more information about upcoming Entrepreneur Elympic events visit eelympics.com.

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