Insurance at a Startup with Jerry Conrey

We haven’t written nearly enough about all of the great things that are happening at the CSUF Startup Incubator. Every week we have a different speaker in to talk about their area of expertise, our residents are there launching their businesses, students are coming together to be innovative, and our alumni entrepreneurs have monthly meetings to help each other be better business owners. It’s frequently a lively scene!

Recently, Jerry Conrey, owner of Conrey Insurance Brokers and Risk Managers and mentor/donor to the Center for Entrepreneurship/CSUF Startup Incubator/SBI,  gave a talk about the importance of insurance to startups. As it turns out, new ventures need insurance just as much as any other business.

If you’ve been wondering about what are the different dangers that your startup should be insuring against then you should watch the video below. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Product liability
  • Errors and Omissions
  • General liability
  • Auto liability
  • And a ton of other areas

(Thanks to Gary Nouskajian from Mr. Conrey’s company for taking this video)

We have been hosting these events pretty much every week since the start of the CSUF Startup Incubator and we have no plans of slowing down anytime soon. If you are interested in attending any of our free events please take a look at all of the events we have (most are at the Incubator) HERE.


More info on CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship:


More info on CSUF Startup Incubator:

Come join us at an event:


CSUF Business Consulting in Orange County Sparks Innovation

Charlesetta Medina helps business students

The Center for Entrepreneurship’s Small Business Institute has been at the forefront of innovation in the Orange County market for decades. Every year, we place student teams with local companies to help spur business innovation in marketing, sales, finance, operations, and leadership. These teams of mostly graduating seniors are paired with mentors from the private sector and their professors and they end up having a huge economic impact not only for the businesses that they do consulting projects for but for the region as well.

Recently, Ms. Charlesetta Medina, Manager with the Small Business Institute, was interviewed by the Daily Titan about how we’re able to help local businesses. Here is a taste of what was in the story:

The SBI is a national non-profit organization in its 39th year of business. The center is part of the 14 Centers of Excellence within the Steven G. Mihaylo College of Business and Economics and a program for entrepreneurship.

“We’re a very tiny center but we do make a huge economic impact,” Medina said. “So when you talk about the value for small businesses in our local economy, it’s key.”

That’s what’s really began to turn our economy, is the ability for those small businesses to have held on and still allow for new ones to emerge, Medina said.

Medina reaches out directly by mail to nearly 20,000 local businesses. Then she takes those responses and figures out, “is (SBI) a benefit to them.”

The students involved in SBI take on about 40 small businesses per semester and close to 100 businesses a year.

“They get to work in a team environment, with support and resources from the center, from mentors and from faculty,” Medina said. “And they’re able to bring that really fresh perspective to businesses, many of whom may have been in business for a number of years and they feel like they know their business very well.”

Yet, the generation of students now are able to bring new insight and a new perspective on how to do some of those same tasks, in new and innovative ways that helps that business, Medina said.

To read the rest of the story please click here.

Wouldn’t you like to have this kind of work done for your company? Maybe you know of a company that would benefit from our services. Either way, if you are interested in our services please contact Ms. Charlesetta Medina at 657 278 3464 or by email  at to find out more about our program.

Casting Call for the Investment Club

Are you an entrepreneur that has ever considered being on television? Well, then, you must read the following then:

The Casting Firm, Oxygen & FremantleMedia (American Idol, America’s Got Talent), along with a team of investors and self-made moguls, are on a nationwide search to discover the nation’s most brilliant entrepreneurs!
  • Do you have an innovative business concept, product, invention, or startup company – but you need financial backing and guidance to jumpstart your venture?
  • Does your product or business have potential to be the next million or billion-dollar idea?
  • Are you an aspiring entrepreneur with a brilliant new product line or concept but you need an angel investor to help get it off the ground or take it to the next level?
“THE INVESTMENT CLUB” is an exciting new entrepreneurial series that will feature passionate millennials ready to make their mark in entrepreneurial history, give them the opportunity to pitch their concept to some of the country’s most successful business leaders, and showcase their company or product in front of millions!

If selected, our team of self-made moguls will mentor and guide you along the way!

Whether you have a start up, an operating business, or just a fantastic prototype and business plan, we want to hear from you!

  • Full name 
  • Age (must be 18+)
  • Phone number & email address
  • City/State you live in
  • A brief description of your business or product
  • Photos and/or links to your product or business
  • A photo of yourself
  • Why do you think you’d be great for the show?
***All applicants must be legal US residents.

Continue reading

CSUF Entrepreneur Society: Pauline Nguyen

Pauline Nguyen is the owner of online beauty boutique West Side Annex and a leader of the CSUF Entrepreneur Society

Pauline Nguyen is the owner of online beauty boutique West Side Annex and a leader of the CSUF Entrepreneur Society

The oldest entrepreneurship club at Cal State Fullerton is the Entrepreneur Society and they are doing an amazing series of posts featuring one of their student-entrepreneurs in each post called 10 for 10. One of the recent stories featured Pauline Nguyen, who has served as the club’s president and continues to be a leader for the Entrepreneur Society.

Pauline is the sole force behind an online beauty boutique called West Side Annex, which is an online retailer of fine accessories for free-spirited young women that Pauline tirelessly curates. This is no mean feat as it requires Pauline to manage the site, market her style in a crowded market, procure all of the merchandise, manage the finances of her company, and everything else.

Pauline has some poignant advice for others who are considering an entrepreneurial path:

It’s imperative to not be afraid of getting out there and putting forth the time and effort to achieve your goals.

At the Center for Entrepreneurship, we frequently have students come in seeking guidance about how to be a successful entrepreneur and what Pauline said is, in a nutshell, the crux of being a good entrepreneur. Part of it is having a good idea, a solid team, knowledge, and all the rest but what seems to separate the wheat from the chafe is tenacity; the tenacity to see an idea through to the end and being willing to outwork your competitors.

We are proud to say that we have worked closely with Pauline on many projects and knowing what her work ethic is like we know that you can learn a lot from her as an entrepreneur and as a person. For more information on what it takes to do what Pauline does please take a look at the Entrepreneur Society’s writeup on her venture.

CSUF Campus Authors Recognized

150226 Socially Close - Book CoverAnd one of those authors was none other than Director John Bradley Jackson. Last year, Director Jackson published Socially Close: Social Media Marketing for Small Business, which is about how businesses should be using social media in their marketing campaigns.

Here’s a description of the book from Director Jackson’s website:

  • Frustrated with social media at your small business?
  • Confused by the stampede of new social networks and their ever-changing features?
  • Not getting the return on investment that you expected?

If that sounds familiar, then this is the book for you. For most small businesses, the promise of social media is to get found on the web, build brand awareness, create a dialog, nurture relationships, establish trust, and encourage people to buy your products and services. Making that promise a reality requires a vibrant social media strategy, an intimate knowledge of the brand, and a disciplined social media effort.

The title, “Socially Close”, describes the desired end-game of using social media. With so many choices on the web today, buyers are increasingly sophisticated and need more than a succinct description of your products and services. While it is true that the web provides some customers an auction like atmosphere with low price and quickest delivery, this type of customer relationship is short-lived since there is always a lower price or a quicker lead-time offered by a competitor.

It is my opinion that many customers prefer to establish a trust-based relationship with their providers. The customer who trusts your business is much more likely to do business with you again and to recommend you to others. This is the type of customer that you want to have a close relationship with and keep for the long term. This nurturing of relationships, whether they are new or sustained, is how social media can help the small business.

Unlike the large business which may have substantial resources for managing social media, the small firm may have few resources. Yet, the small firm may receive the best return on investment due to the scaling impact of social media. Thus, social media can greatly accelerate the relationship growth rate between customer and small firm which this book describes as being socially close.

For a full list of the authors honored at the event click HERE.

Event: CSUF Entrepreneurship Town Hall


Town Hall meetings are part of the fabric that is America and we are honored to be able to add a little to it on March 2 from 10:00am to 11:00am. Director Jackson will facilitate a Town Hall meeting for Mihaylo College that day focusing on engagement in High Impact Practices (HIPs).

Some of the issues that Director Jackson will discuss include:

  • What motivated him to develop courses that contained elements of a High Impact Practice (HIP)?
  • What is the impact on students who participate in courses with a HIPs emphasis?
  • If there are any students present (and we sure hope there are) what has been their experience with courses that have a HIP emphasis and what value did the experience add to their academic development? What was their “aha” moment?
  • What co-curricular or external resources does our program provide to the development of HIPs?

If you would like to attend this Town Hall in person or even watch the stream of this event please RSVP here and select the Mihaylo College Town Hall.

CSUF Business Plan Competition – Sign Up Now!!!

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

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

The 2015 CSUF Business Plan Competition is underway; are you on board yet?

For the past few years we have hosted the premiere business competition on the CSUF campus. The CSUF Business Plan Competition is open to all current CSUF students, all you need is a business idea.

If you are interested in joining the CSUF Business Plan Competition please sign up no later than February 27 – SIGN UP HERE.

Also, by February 27, you will need to complete a short questionnaire – FOUND HERE – about your business idea and email it to Travis at

From this pool of submissions we will decide who will advance to the Semifinals. People/teams that reach the Semifinals are required to give a presentation (we recommend using PowerPoint). After that, the top three teams advance to the Finals where they will give a somewhat longer presentation to a few more people.

But those are merely details to consider in the future, right now we want you to think about your business idea. Your idea doesn’t have to be predicated on groundbreaking science or the next billion dollar startup (although either would help…). Our competition is open to all current CSUF students with a passion for Entrepreneurship and the ability to answer (and submit to by February 27) answers to our Business Concept Questionnaire. Some of the questions include:

  • What’s new or different about what you’re making?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What are your different revenue streams?
  • Who is your target customer?

Including those four questions, competitors have to answer 21 simple questions. The point of this exercise is to help us understand your business more thoroughly and based off of this understanding we decide which concepts move forward.

If you have any questions about this competition please get in touch with Travis at and he will be more than happy to answer all of your questions.

2015 CSUF Entrepreneurship Scholarships Announced

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. In 2014, the scholarship went to Sam Cisneros (right). Who will win it this year?

Every spring semester we are proud to offer at least one scholarship to our Entrepreneurship students. This semester we have two scholarships. Key info for each scholarship is below followed by instructions on how to submit a scholarship application.

Conrey Insurance Brokers and Risk Managers Entrepreneurial Scholarship sponsored by Jerry Conrey

Amount: $3,000

Established by:
This scholarship was established by Conrey Insurance Brokers and Risk Managers on behalf of the Entrepreneurship Program in the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, Cal State Fullerton.

Open to:
This scholarship is open to full-time students in their junior year, entering their senior year in the upcoming fall semester—all applicants must be majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Entrepreneurship.

2.5 GPA (employed and/or extracurricular activities)
3.0 GPA (unemployed or not involved in extracurricular activities)

- Thrive Financial & Bookkeeping Services Entrepreneurial Scholarship sponsored by Karla Amador

Amount: $1,000

Established by:
This scholarship was established by Thrive Financial & Bookkeeping Services on behalf of the Entrepreneurship Program in the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, Cal State Fullerton.

Open to:
This scholarship is open to students majoring or minoring in Entrepreneurship and enrolled during the Spring 2015 semester.

2.5 GPA

Scholarship Application Process

The online application will be available February 1. To access the application, go to your CSUF portal (be sure to use the new portal) and click on the “Scholarships” icon. Follow the onscreen instructions and be sure to answer all questions.

All applications are due by March 6.

CSUF Entrepreneurship Mentor Bob Kreisberg Rediscovers his love for the Saxophone



As a mentor in our program, Bob Kreisberg has helped hundreds of students understand the importance of how different personalities affect entrepreneurial ventures. As the founder of Opus Productivity, Bob counsels companies on how to hire people with the highest likelihood of fitting in with a company’s culture and how to get the most out of new and existing employees. Bob has a great mind for business and is a very valuable member of our entrepreneurial community.

But that’s not the point of this post. For those of us who know Bob personally we know that he is a kind and generous person. Having beaten cancer Bob is also a fighter. One thing many people, even some of his closest friends, didn’t know is that Bob used to love playing the saxophone and it was that love of this instrument that recently got him profiled in the Orange County Register.

In the story Villa Park man rediscovers saxophone 46 years after illness I learned about Bob’s sojourn to find the perfect saxophone that he last played decades ago:

Kreisberg remembered clutching the raw brass relic for the first time. He was standing beside an orchestra’s worth of forgotten instruments and between the shelves of power tools and sharp-toothed handsaws, and he held the sax next to his heart.

He was reunited with an instrument – no, not the same instrument, but one just like it – that he hadn’t played in 46 years.

“This was a magic,” he said of the new/old sax. “This had to have been played by a musician.”

You really should read the whole article to learn about this personal pursuit of one of our mentors.

Event: CSUF Business Plan Competition’s Second Boot Camp

CSUF Business Plan CompetitionIt’s the spring semester, which means that it’s time for the annual CSUF Business Plan Competition! For a few years now the Center for Entrepreneurship has held this competition for all current CSUF students who have an entrepreneurial heart. If you have the slightest inkling of an idea you owe it to yourself to test it out in this competition because you will get valuable feedback and you might be sitting on an idea that has serious potential.

Last year the team of White Light Medical took home the top honors with their idea that assists surgeons performing back surgeries, second place went to Eagle Eye Engineering with their invention that helps archers train more effectively off season, and third place went to Cordomi Rentals with their idea of helping match up pet owners with the right rental property. As you can tell there are a wide range of ideas submitted each year and these ideas came from competitors representing 23 different majors/concentrations; it really is anybody’s competition to win!

Each year we have sponsored non-mandatory Boot Camps for people who are interested in entering the CSUF Business Plan Competition. The second (and final) Boot Camp for the CSUF Business Plan Competition is set for Tuesday, February 10 in University Hall (UH) 246. Come to learn about the CSUF Business Plan Competition, get your questions answered by Dr. David Obstfeld and Travis Lindsay, network with others (and maybe find like-minded teammates), and have a general good time.

Please RSVP for this event by going to HERE.

You don’t have to attend a Boot Camp in order to compete but you do have to sign up – Found Here – for the CSUF Business Plan Competition by February 20 and submit a completed Business Concept Questionnaire – Found Here – by February 27 (dates subject to change).

The PowerPoint used by Dr. Atul Teckchandani for the first Boot Camp can be found HERE.

General information about the CSUF Business Plan Competition can be found HERE.


Event Highlights: Successful Women and how they Think about Business Differently

IMG_0254The other day we posted the full audio of our recent panel titled: “Successful Women and how they Think about Business Differently.” It’s a great listen and while we do recommend listening to the whole panel discussion we now also have video highlights from the event. Enjoy!

Event: Think Globally, Act Locally

The Department of Marketing and the Centers for Entrepreneurship and International Business would like to invite all of you to the “Think Globally, Act Locally: Building Local Roots for America’s Small Business” event. At this event you will get the opportunity to hear from Center for Entrepreneurship Director John Bradley Jackson and and Center for International Business Director Jeff Williamson.

This event will be held in the Titan Student Union Theatre on Wednesday, February 11 from 1pm to 2pm. Space for this event is limited so please make sure to RSVP to or you can also contact the Center for International Business at (657) 278-8264 or you can even visit their offices in SGMH 3357. Continue reading

Successful Women and how they Think about Business Differently

Successful Women and how they Think about Business DifferentlyA couple of weeks ago we were delighted to co-host a panel discussion with Richard Franzi’s Critical Mass for Business. As part of their Speaker Series, present was a panel of distinguished business women (and Director John Bradley Jackson) to discuss the topic of “Successful Women and how they Think about Business Differently”. The panel included:

Darcie Harris, Trainer & Speaker for Women Entrepreneurs

John Bradley Jackson, Director at Cal State Fullerton Center of Entrepreneurship

France Helfer, Entrepreneur & CEO at Halo Healthcare Inc.

Tomilee Gill, President at Executives Unlimited

It was a very educational event that discussed topics like:

  • Can women have a career and a family?
  • What roadblocks are there for women in the business world?
  • The outlook for women in business

Of course, many more topics were discussed and, most poignant to me and the rest of the audience were the panelists’ personal stories about how they have found success in business. The whole panel discussion can be listened to below or, if that’s not working, you can click here.

I am sure that we will have many more events just like this for our community so please keep in touch with us on Facebook or sign up for our newsletter to keep your finger on CSUF’s Entrepreneurial pulse. Continue reading

CSUF Students Named Innovation Fellows

Amerika Bernal and Cristian Sanchez at Titan Fast Pitch Competition

Amerika Bernal and Cristian Sanchez at Titan Fast Pitch Competition

The CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship proudly announces that Mr. Cristian Sanchez (Entrepreneurship major) and Ms. Amerika Bernal (Accounting major) have been named “Innovation Fellows” at the nationally acclaimed University Innovation Fellows program, which is sponsored by Stanford’s and VentureWell’s Epicenter organization.

This video explains exactly what Epicenter does to promote engineering and innovation: Continue reading

CSUF Entrepreneurship Team Receives Scholarship from Union Bank

From L to R: Nate Ryan, Lori Howard, David DeFilippo, Mike Kirtland, and Jed Casteneda. Mr. DeFilippo awarded his New Venture Panel Scholarship to the team pictured above, OneMessageID.

From L to R: Nate Ryan, Lori Howard, David DeFilippo, Mike Kirtland, and Jed Casteneda. Mr. DeFilippo awarded his New Venture Panel Scholarship to the team pictured above, OneMessageID.

One of the many unique aspects of the CSUF Entrepreneurship Bachelor’s Degree and Minor is that each student that earns either of those degrees will be part of a team that develops a business plan and some actually progress far enough to launch their business ideas. It’s an amazing process to witness and the amount of work that these students put into these projects is impressive.

For the last three semesters, David DeFilippo, Regional Vice President at Union Bank, has sponsored a scholarship for the team that has the most promising business. This semester the scholarship went to OneMessageID’s team leader Mike Kirtland (pictured above). We here at the Center for Entrepreneurship heartily thank Mr. DeFilippo for his and his company’s generous support of student-entrepreneurs at Cal State Fullerton. Continue reading