Why do so many Startups Fail? – July 25, 2014 Event

On Friday, July 25 at 11:30am, Center for Entrepreneurship Director John Bradley Jackson will be joining a panel to discuss the reasons why so many early stage companies fail. This event will take place at FastStart.studio in Irvine and you are welcomed to attend. The radio show will last from noon to 1:30pm but the remainder of the time is for networking.

Speaking of networking, FastStart.studio is a good place to do that because it is a business incubator with many startups on its roster.

If you would like to attend this event please click on the flier below to register.

Critical Mass Radio Presents: Why do so many Early Stage Companies Fail?We hope to see you there!

3rd Quarter 2014 Orange County Business Survey

Mihaylo College of Business and Economics Dean Dr. Anil Puri

Mihaylo College of Business and Economics Dean Dr. Anil Puri

California State University, Fullerton’s Mihaylo College Dean, Dr. Anil Puri, just published the 3rd Quarter 2014 edition of the Orange County Business Index (OCBX). The OCBX is a survey of Orange County business leaders (owners, CEOs and managers) feelings regarding the overall condition of the economy and the generalities of their particular business. The overall sentiment of the business leaders who responded to the survey was that they believe the economy (and their companies) is still expanding but that the velocity of that expansion was slowing down.

The OCBX is an index that takes into consideration variables from the OCBX Survey and creates a numeric value that shows what the respondents’ sentiment of the economy is. In this survey a score of 50 or higher indicates future growth in the economy and for the most resent (3rd Quarter 2014) release this number was at 83.8. That is encouraging news but the discouraging part about it is that 83.8 is the lowest result since the 1st Quarter 2013.

While that is the headline there are a lot of other good morsels in there as well. If you have a few extra minutes you should take a look.

CSUF Entrepreneurship Mentor: Jerry Conrey

Jerry Conrey has been an integral part of the CSUF Entrepreneurship Program since 2002 when he first became a mentor. Jerry still serves as a mentor to our student-entrepreneurs and he also has funded the Conrey Insurance Brokers and Risk Managers Entrepreneurial Scholarship for many years, participated as a panelist at a seminar on Patent Trolls and has served on special committees in support of the Center for Entrepreneurship over the years. We recently had the chance to ask him a few questions about his time with our program and, as you can see below, he was gracious enough to give us some very thoughtful answers.

Center for Entrepreneurship: “How has the program evolved during your tenure?”

Jerry Conrey: “The program has become more prolific, with many more students and class offerings since my initial involvement. It has matured into a perennial national contender at the annual Student-led Business Consulting Project of the Year Competition. The professors and lecturers have evolved over the years into being a great fit for the program.”

CFE: “What drives you to volunteer?”

JC: “My interest in giving back is the number one driver. The ancillary drivers include maintaining my own relevance as a business owner, exposure to other businesses, the students, and the curriculum provide ample opportunity for me to take personal and corporate inventory of my own business – so even though I mentor, I also become a student of the process and perfect my own operation with what I learn.”

For many years, Jerry Conrey (left) has supported the Conrey Insurance Brokers & Risk Managers Entrepreneurial Scholarship. This year, the scholarship went to Sam Cisneros (right).

For many years, Jerry Conrey (left) has supported the Conrey Insurance Brokers & Risk Managers Entrepreneurial Scholarship. This year, the scholarship went to Sam Cisneros (right).

CFE: “Tell us about your involvement in student projects.”

JC: “Quality control. I am there to make sure that the client business gets a consulting report that provides relevant analysis, a thorough consideration of options for solving the problem, and an actionable recommendation that considers the financial and human capital necessary to executive it.”

CFE: “What is one of your most memorable moments as a mentor?”

JC: “I get great satisfaction from the students when I see “the lights turn on” in them. You know the moment, when they begin to connect the dots and see the possibilities and the likelihoods at the intersection of philosophy and practicality. In other words, when they start to execute what they learned in a book and put it to use – that moment is galvanizing for me.”

CFE: “How has your participation in the program enhanced your life?”

JC: “In numerous ways. I learn about new application and how they can be used in collaborative ways, I bring what I learned back to my own business and incorporate it into my own management system and style. I enjoy working with youth as it makes me feel younger and more relevant. As I become more knowledgeable of the ways the younger generation thinks, and what motivates them, I become more understanding of our generational differences and I see the opportunities to collaborate rather than dismiss. Volunteerism and giving back are in my DNA, and through this program I not only give, but I almost equally get.”

CFE: “What is your professional and educational background?”

JC: “I studied but never graduated from CSUF. My career took off and the demands from it pulled me out of the classroom in my senior year. Twenty years later, I returned to academia and earned my BA and MBA concurrently through Almeda University.”

CFE: “What are your hobbies?”

JC: “I play golf and tournament style poker. My wife and I are culinary and wine enthusiasts, and we enjoy the performing arts. I have a band whose genre is the music of the ‘60s British Invasion. We do corporate and special events, conventions and you can find us every year at the Orange International Street Fair.

Scholarship winner Robert Gates with scholarship sponsors Vicki and Jerry Conrey

Scholarship winner Robert Gates with scholarship sponsors Vicki and Jerry Conrey

CFE: “What advice can you offer to Entrepreneurship students and grads just beginning their career?”

JC: “There’s more to success than profit alone. Happiness is not measurable on a P&L or a balance sheet. One who learns how to profit from anything they are passionate about will find a level of satisfaction and happiness that is immeasurable.”

If you are interested in volunteering in our program please send us a message to csufentrepreneurship@fullerton.edu

This post was written by Adrienne Bailey and Travis Lindsay

CSUF Entrepreneurship Mentor: Alan Mannason

Alan Mannason PictureBringing more than 50 years of business experience with him, Alan Mannason (who recently turned 90 years old!) has been involved as a mentor to our students for more than a decade. Needless to say, Alan is a mainstay of the program and he has been a part of it for longer than most of our professors! Continue reading

CSUF SUM Startup Weekend – July 2014

Our new Entrepreneurship fraternity, Sigma Upsilon Mu (SUM), is going to be hosting a Startup Weekend in July. If you are not familiar with SUM and what they do the best way to describe it is that they are dedicated to demystifying the startup process for first time-entrepreneurs. The founder, Robert Gates, has meticulously developed a system to help people get their business idea off the ground and to make a real business out of it.

The event being hosted by SUM will last a little under 24 hours starting at 12:30pm on Friday, July 11 and ending at noon the next day. Taking place at the Staybridge Suites in Lake Forest, this event promises to be a can’t miss for anyone serious about starting a business. You can purchase your ticket for this event HERE.

Details for the event are below:

CSUF SUM Startup WeekendThose are the details and if you are serious about starting your own business but do not believe you have the technical abilities necessary to do so you should definitely consider attending this.

Miguel Olivares, the club’s president, describes his organization’s mission as follows:

Sigma Upsilon Mu aims to inspire student entrepreneurs to follow their dreams of starting their own business. We aim to create a community of passionate entrepreneurs who are active in the entrepreneurship community, as well as actively working on establishing a successful venture.

We believe in learning by doing, and support our members by offering them opportunities for personal growth and connecting them with resources and information they need to make their ideas into reality. Deeds not word is our motto.

Purchase your ticket now!

Who Participated in the CSUF Business Plan Competition?

Amerika Bernal of BliviO Technologies accepting award for the Ed Huizinga Innovative Idea Award from Dorota Huizinga and John Bradley Jackson

One of our main goals in hosting the Business Plan Competition is to spread the gospel, so to speak, of Entrepreneurship across the CSUF campus. Why? Well, we all have anecdotal evidence of CSUF students who want to start their own business and while many of these students are business students there are a lot who are not. And, quite frankly, many of the Mihaylo Business students who are not concentrating in Entrepreneurship do not get enough information and support to start their own businesses in their concentration’s classes.

To put it another way: We use the Business Plan Competition (and the Fast Pitch Competition as well) to inspire students to start the process of launching their own business.

So, the big question is “How many non-Entrepreneurship students did we get to sign up for the Business Plan Competition?” Quite a few.

Here are the Majors/Concentrations (as self-reported by the students) that were represented in this year’s Business Plan Competition: Continue reading

CSUF Entrepreneurship School Year in Review: 2013-14

Another wonderful school year has come to a close and we couldn’t be prouder. This year we have accomplished many things and our students have exceeded all expectations. Recently, we hosted an Awards Celebration and I would like to take the time to give you an overview of everyone who was recognized.

Since 2011, Michael Sawitz and his incubator, FastStart.studio, has supported CSUF student-entrepreneurs by providing full tuition to multiple student startups each year. This year, Michael (pictured right), awarded two such scholarships, one to Andre Conde’s (pictured center) White Light Medical and Quinn Royston’s Cordomi Rentals.

Michael Sawitz graciously supported two scholarships that will pay for all the tuition costs to his business incubator, FastStart.studio. Each of these scholarships is valued at $25,000 and each of the winners, incidentally, were top three finishers in this year’s CSUF Business Plan Competition.

Andre Conde’s White Light Medical was one of the recipients for this prize. White Light Medical has developed a device that will aid in spinal surgery by cutting down on the risks and time needed for this type of surgery. Continue reading

CSUF Entrepreneurship Success Story: Amerika Bernal ’15

Amerika Bernal

My career at Cal State Fullerton began with an unknown path. In my first year of college I did not declare my major as I did not know what lifetime career I wanted to choose. During my third year in college, I came to the sudden realization as to what my career choice would be. That choice was to become a certified public accountant and work for a well respected company. As a 22-year-old student full of ideas and ambition to achieve something greater than myself, I always knew that I wanted to do something more with my life.

Throughout my teen and young adult years I have always had ideas, but I neither had the courage nor the motivation to act on them as far as making them something tangible. It was not until the end of the year 2013 that I decided to take a chance and compete in the 2014 Business Plan Competition at Cal State Fullerton. It was during this year that I pushed myself to make my dream of making a high quality sound reduction system for outdoor use a reality. Continue reading

CSUF Entrepreneur Success Story: Linsey Fornaca ’08

Linsey Fornaca (left) with sister

You could say the spark started back in high school when The Wedding Planner movie came out (2001), because ever since then, my sister and I have known that wedding planning and coordination was the direction our lives were meant to go. We can prove it because every class project and senior project was fashioned around our future dream business and the wedding industry. Our passion and drive to help brides and grooms was there, but we had no idea how to make it happen. Then, I came across the CSUF Entrepreneurship program and was inspired to go through the motions of opening up an official business. Here is our story.

Before being a part of the Entrepreneurship program, I felt lost and had no idea what to do to get started. My major was undeclared for a long time because I wanted something that was going to help me plan weddings, but I couldn’t commit to one subject. Everyone I talked to laughed at me for wanting to plan weddings and in their lack of understanding simply said, “Good luck with that!” Continue reading

CSUF Entrepreneur Success Story: Samer Baroudi ’10

Samer Baroudi

After graduating from CSUF with a Business Degree in Entrepreneurship I have been very busy and I have cherished every moment of it! Coming out of college in 2010, I began working in Sales at a web security company in my hometown here in the Bay Area. Before long, I was offered what I consider my ideal career opportunity to work at an early stage VC-backed mobile security company.

Being the first business hire at a technology startup is giving me the chance to learn and explore a lot of different areas simultaneously, namely:

  • Sales (identifying opportunities and closing deals)
  • Support (onboarding customers)
  • Business Development (partnering/evangelizing within Wireless Carriers) Continue reading

2014 CSUF Business Plan Competition Finals – Videos

A little over a month ago we held the 3rd annual CSUF Business Plan Competition and we have had the videos of the three presentations up on our YouTube channel within a week of the Finals. But we didn’t have it on the blog… until now!

Okay, so this isn’t a huge reveal at this point but the presentations are still as fresh and impressive as they were the day of the Finals. Below is the playlist of the three Finalist presentations. The videos are a bit long, each lasting a little over twenty minutes (fifteen minute presentation with a ten minute Q&A period), but they are well worth the watch.


How can a CSUF MBA Consulting Team Help Your Business?

CSUF Business Consulting Team that won National Small Business Institute Project of the Year Competition!

For more than two decades, CSUF MBAs have been helping business owners like you develop successful business strategies that have improved profits. We have an extraordinary record of success winning many awards and producing results for our clients.

As a client you will be matched with a student consulting team and instructor. The objective of the team’s consulting project is to help you make lasting improvements to your business. By trusting us, and participating in our consulting process, you will have the opportunity to:

  1. Conduct a full strategic review of your firm including finance, operations, human resources and marketing.
  2. Receive practical recommendations for improving your venture.
  3. Obtain a fresh, independent view of your venture and new ideas on how to enhance your business.

To be considered please complete our Request for Consulting Application. The deadline to apply is Friday, May 23 for consideration in our Summer 2014 period. Client involvement will begin early June. Please contact Ms. Charlesetta Medina, Field Case Coordinator, at 657 278 8243 or by email at cymedina@fullerton.edu.

Innovation Fail

The following was written by Dr. Atul Teckchandani, one of the great professors teaching Entrepreneurship at CSUF.

Entrepreneurs innovate. Every industry can benefit from innovation. But this trend of putting electronics in everything concerns me – just adding technology to an existing product does not make it innovative. The best innovations are things that meaningfully improve the overall experience of using a product or service.

Let me illustrate this point with an example. An “innovation” that, in my opinion, got it all wrong is the touch-less paper towel dispenser. These are showing up in public restrooms everywhere. I suspect the primary benefit of these dispensers is that it minimizes the transfer of germs from one person to another. Continue reading

CSUF Entrepreneurship Awards Ceremony

On Friday, May 9 at 1:00pm in Mihaylo Hall room 1307 we will be hosting an Awards Ceremony (Please RSVP) commemorating all of the great contributions to CSUF Entrepreneurship during the 2013-14 school year, including:

Eagle Eye Engineering presenting at the 2014 CSUF Business Plan Competition

  • We recently completed the 3rd Annual CSUF Business Plan Competition awarding the top prize to White Light Medical. What was particularly encouraging about this competition was the fact that over half of the contestants were from outside Mihaylo College, meaning that our message is reaching students all over campus.
  • The White Light Medical also represented us in Chapman’s California Dreamin’ competition where they finished in the Semifinals. Congratulations guys! Continue reading

2014 CSUF Business Plan Competition Finals

Each year the CSUF Business Plan Competition seems to get bigger and better and 2014 was no different (Although the 2013 and 2012 Finals were awesome as well). In addition to three great teams presenting, more on them later, we had an engaged audience comprised of students, faculty, staff and friends of the University.

The setup for this event was pretty straightforward, each team had:

  • Five minutes to setup
  • Fifteen minutes to present
  • Ten minutes to answer questions from the judges

The first team to present was Cordomi Rentals. Founded by Quinn Royston, Cordomi Rentals will help pet owners find rental homes or apartments based on their pet policy, i.e. some place will accept small dogs but not larger ones. To do this, Cordomi will provide an easy to use website that displays pet-friendly rental listings and allows users to filter by type of pet policy (i.e. breed and weight restrictions). Continue reading