A New Semester Begins at CSUF

center-for-entrepreneurship-csuf-startup-incubatorA new semester begins at Cal State Fullerton! Take a look at what is in store in this edition of the CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider.

For most of Cal State Fullerton the spring semester begins today and there are many things to look forward to during the semester at CSUF Entrepreneurship.

Over the next couple of weeks our students will begin their consulting projects for local businesses. These projects are tremendous opportunities for our students to apply what they learn in the classroom to real world situations and they offer a great value to our clients as well. We are still recruiting clients for this semester and if you know of a company that could benefit from working with a team of CSUF students please get in touch with Client Project Specialist Charlesetta Medina at (657) 278-8243 or at entrepreneurship@fullerton.edu.

At the CSUF Startup Incubator we have many events and office hours already scheduled and there are more in the works. This week startup specialist Jim Cooper will have office hours on Friday and this Wednesday I will be hosting a seminar titled How to Pitch to an Investment Panel. We have some big things in the works for the CSUF Startup Incubator that we will be announcing in the near future!

For current CSUF students we will be hosting the CSUF Business Plan Competition. Many CSUF students have great business concepts but they are trepidatious about taking the leap into entrepreneurship and the CSUF Business Plan Competition is a powerful way to help them take that first step. More details about how to enter will be available shortly but, for now, you can view our post on last year’s competition.

As the semester unfolds I will make sure to keep you up-to-date on all of the interesting and inspiring events and stories that happen in the CSUF Entrepreneurship community.

Sincerely,

John Bradley Jackson
Director & Professor
CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship, CSUF Consulting,
& CSUF Startup Incubator

Continue reading

Alumnus, Entrepreneur, Bootlegger

aaron-barkenhagen-csuf-entrepreneurshipWhat happens when your hobby outgrows its hobby status? If you are experimenting with making craft beer in your garage, you end up supplying the entire neighborhood. That is what happened to Aaron Barkenhagen ’07. His love of good beer and his loyalty to his Fullerton neighbors created a symbiotic relationship that still exists today. The name of his now much larger craft brewery is Bootlegger’s Brewery, a name which reflects back to the time he was passing out free beer to his neighbors.

Aaron did his business plan at CSUF on starting a craft brewery and credits his success to learning the entrepreneurial process in the business school. By 2008 he decided to turn his hobby into a business, and opened his first tasting room and brewery in Fullerton.

Now Aaron brews over 200 varieties of craft beer at his modern brewery, and his tasting room usually has about 25 different brews for customers to try at any one time. He has a seven-barrel and a 30 barrel brewing system with over 35 employees throughout the company who are all beer lovers and are dedicated to crafting quality products. Bootlegger’s brews complex beers that require artistry through hand brewing. Aaron’s brewery output runs about 625 full barrels per month. Creativity also helps when it comes to naming his own brews; one of his best is a double IPA called “Knuckle Sandwich,” although the most popular is “Far Out.”

Bootlegger’s and Aaron have won various awards for his beers including one in an international competition. Aaron won the Orange County Entrepreneur award in 2010. Bootlegger’s does over 20 special events per year, including one at Disneyland and another with the Los Angeles Angels baseball team.

Bootlegger’s breakout year was 2012 when it started distributing bottled and draft beer to local distributors, and now Aaron has 11 distributors serving Central and Southern California. Bootlegger’s is a family-owned LLC with Aaron’s wife Patricia as partner and manager of the tasting room. In a rather flat market Bootlegger’s is expanding and becoming a more dominant player in the Orange County craft brewery industry.

Aaron has, by trial and error, made Bootlegger’s a singular success.   His success exemplifies all the qualities of a successful entrepreneur: he loves what he does, he obtained the knowledge needed, he has great employee relations, and he has never forgotten his local beer enthusiasts’ base.  Now he shares his success by mentoring entrepreneur classes at CSUF’s Mihaylo School of Business.

One final word about loyal customers. The Bootlegger’s tasting room has no flashing sign advertising its location. In fact it has no sign at all. When asked why, Aaron replies “Don’t need it.”

Written by Professor Jeff Longshaw, edited by Travis Lindsay


#CSUF

Become a CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider to keep up-to-date on all the events, news, and everything else we do: http://bit.ly/CSUFStartupSignup

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurship

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs: http://bit.ly/csufstartup

Attend one of our entrepreneur events or sign up for a free mentoring session: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents

CSUF Consulting is the Creative Solution

CSUF MBA 2nd Place Finishing TeamCreativity is the lifeblood of business and a CSUF Consulting team is the perfect way to inject some creativity into your business. All businesses can benefit from a fresh perspective and our teams are adept at finding solutions where most others would not have even looked.

And please make sure to sign up for the CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider to make sure that you do not miss any of the events or news that is important to the CSUF Entrepreneurship community.

Every year, more than 100 businesses harness the creativity of Cal State Fullerton’s students to develop comprehensive strategic plans that can be used to make dramatic improvements to core parts of their business.

Clients have utilized the recommendations from their CSUF Consulting teams to develop a robust customer retention program, save money by going green, align company culture with strategic initiatives, and in many other ways. Working with a CSUF Consulting team is a key way businesses can proactively take charge of their future instead of reacting to events.

One of the key differentiators of the CSUF Consulting program is its combination of creativity and wisdom. Each CSUF Consulting team has four to six upper division students or MBA candidates, a supervising professor, and a mentor for undergraduate teams.

The students effuse creativity in everything they do. Armed with the knowledge they are learning in their studies and unburdened by years of doing things a certain way they are able to come up with solutions where others would not have even looked.

Wisdom is not discounted, however, and is amply supplied for by the professors and mentors in our program. They provide balance to our teams and keep projects focused on the main goal: producing excellent recommendations for our clients.

Chances are, you know a business that would be a great fit for the CSUF Consulting program. You might even have a business that could benefit from the creative thinking that is the hallmark of our program. If so, please get in touch with our Client Project Specialist, Charlesetta Medina by calling her at (657) 278-8243 or by sending an email to entrepreneurship@fullerton.edu to request more information.

Sincerely,

John Bradley Jackson
Director & Professor
CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship, CSUF Consulting,
& CSUF Startup Incubator

Continue reading

A CSUF Startup Incubator Resident Launches!

aidtreeBen Yip is the Resident from the CSUF Startup Incubator who has now launched the alpha platform for his company Aidtree and he is aiming to revolutionize philanthropy! It’s a great story and we hope there will be a lot more to come from him in the near future. You can read more about Aidtree, see upcoming events and office hours, and other ways to get involved in the CSUF Entrepreneurship community in this week’s CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider.

I’m looking forward to the start of the semester in a couple of weeks because with the metaphorical ringing of school bells chiming across campus once again comes a lot of activity. Students will fill classrooms once again, CSUF Consulting projects will start shortly thereafter, and student clubs will get into full swing. The beginning of every semester is an exciting time because you don’t know what exactly will happen over the next four months but you can be certain that a lot will happen.

Four months is a long time in the life of a startup as well. One such startup, a former Resident of the CSUF Startup Incubator, is Aidtree. Last week, we published a story explaining how Aidtree’s goal is to revolutionize philanthropy through the purchase of coupons. The founder, Ben Yip, is a passionate member of the community and saw many worthy causes struggle to stay afloat for a lack of funds. He knew that causes like student clubs or local schools could accomplish so many more great things if only they had more resources.

One day he had an epiphany: Why not create a virtuous circle connecting businesses, individuals, and worthy causes through the sale of coupons on an easy-to-use online platform? On Aidtree’s alpha platform you can now purchase coupons to some of the establishments you already frequent and the really cool part is that up to 90% of the amount you pay for a coupon goes to a worthy cause.

The platform is simple to use. All you have to do is go onto the Aidtree platform, pick a cause (the Center for Entrepreneurship is currently listed and many more causes, including student clubs at CSUF, will be added over time), browse the available coupons (Titan Shops currently has a number of fantastic ones available), pick the ones you want to purchase, and complete your order. The price you pay for each coupon is usually half of the value of the coupon so if you purchase a $10 coupon you will only pay $5.

What Ben is attempting to accomplish with the Aidtree platform is the creation of a virtuous circle. Causes receive a continuous flow of funds from the purchase of coupons from businesses who have a desire to create a closer relationship with their customers who get a discount from the purchases they would normally make while also supporting the causes that are near and dear to their hearts. It’s a win-win-win scenario.

It’s exciting being a part of a startup like Aidtree and you too can join Aidtree by adding your business or cause to the platform or by purchasing coupons there. I look forward to a time when many more worthy causes have the resources they need and I believe Aidtree can help make that into a reality.

Sincerely,

John Bradley Jackson
Director, CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship
& CSUF Startup Incubator

Continue reading

How a CSUF Startup Incubator Resident will Revolutionize Philanthropy

170107-aidtree

Think about all of the purchases you make with coupons. You have probably used a coupon to buy a meal, to do an activity while on vacation, or maybe even when getting a procedure like Lasik surgery done. Now, what if I told you that there is a company that is a CSUF Startup Incubator Resident that has created a new way to use coupons that will support your favorite causes, charities, and nonprofits?

That company is called Aidtree. At its core, Aidtree has created a virtuous circle connecting businesses, consumers, and the causes that they support. A primary use case for Aidtree would be as a supplement for school fundraisers. With Aidtree, causes passively run fundraisers nonstop. Every time someone who supports a cause buys a coupon on Aidtree a large portion of that purchase price goes to the cause of their choice, the supporter receives a discount, and by participating in this philanthropic business model local businesses get valuable PR that helps to create goodwill in their community. As Aidtree founder Ben Yip says, “Aidtree creates a win-win-win scenario.”

Aidtree’s mission is to connect the purchases you make with the causes you support. But how does it work?  Ben’s simple description is, “Where AirBnB is for hotels and Uber for taxis, Aidtree is for cause giving. Businesses create coupons, which are purchased by the cause supporter. Money is then split with up to 90% of the coupon purchase price going to the cause.” The payment system used for Aidtree is the same that is used by shared-economy platforms like PayPal. Ben, however, considers Aidtree to be shared-philanthropy.

One such community is California State University, Fullerton. The Center for Entrepreneurship has already signed up as a cause, Titan Shops has posted coupons on Aidtree’s alpha site, and many other organizations on campus are working towards joining the site as well as either a cause or business. Additionally, a handful of independent businesses already offer coupons on Aidtree’s alpha site and there are many more businesses and causes that will be added to the site soon.

While still early in the development process, Ben has come a long way in launching Aidtree through his own hard work and with the help of the CSUF Startup Incubator. Before joining the Incubator earlier this year, Ben had made a lot of progress in creating the site and started laying the groundwork for bringing causes, businesses, and customers into the Aidtree community.

Once Ben joined the CSUF Startup Incubator we helped him put his efforts into overdrive. As is the case with all of our Residents, we helped Ben in many ways, including: working with Ben to fundamentally understand his market, conducted a top down review of his website, assistance with writing a business plan, conducting long interviews with potential users of his platform, creating a business model canvas, and help in forming strategic partnerships on campus.

A key partnership is with the CSUF Philanthropic Foundation. Funds from Aidtree for a CSUF club or charity are automatically deposited into a cause’s account, which means no checks or tracking for cause leaders. This also allows CSUF causes to continuously raise funds in addition to their usual events. Ben has also worked closely with students at Cal State Fullerton and with other community organizations on the launch of Aidtree.

Ben’s plan incorporates initially working with the clubs and local businesses around CSUF. Club supporters can help their organization raise money with purchases on the growing list of businesses on the Aidtree Coupon Network. A great fundraising benefit will be for clubs with smaller memberships. Those members can use their social networks to promote their club, promoting the discounts, and fundraising.

It is exciting to watch the growth that Ben and Aidtree are experiencing while working at the CSUF Startup Incubator. We are confident that Aidtree will revolutionize the way causes operate so that they can focus more of their time on doing what really matters: helping their communities.

This article was written by Travis Lindsay and Kevin Emery.


#CSUF #CSUFEntrepreneur #CSUFStartup

Become a CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider to keep up-to-date on all the events, news, and everything else we do: http://bit.ly/CSUFStartupSignup

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurship

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs: http://bit.ly/csufstartup

Attend one of our entrepreneur events or sign up for a free mentoring session: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents

How A CSUF Entrepreneurship Alumnus Follows His Passion

Geoff Pascual '16 creating art and a business

Geoff Pascual ’16 creating art and a business

Happy New Year everybody! As you will read in this week’s CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider the New Year is the perfect time to make this resolution: Do something you are passionate about every day. This may only lead you to starting a hobby that you thoroughly enjoy or, as was the case with Geoff Pascual ’16 it can lead you into creating a business that you are thoroughly passionate about. Either way, your life will be enriched.

Happy New Year!

Since this is the time of the year for resolutions let me make one simple recommendation: Resolve to pursue something you are passionate about every day. Even if you only have a few spare moments during a day you will be astonished to find out how all those small actions can become something much bigger in just a few weeks, let alone months.

Geoff Pascual ’16 is the embodiment of this ethos. From a young age he had a passion for creating art. He diligently honed his craft over the years and became quite good. Family and friends would frequently make glowing comments about his creations and painting was a fulfilling part of his life.

His passion for water color sustained him artistically but with some encouragement from his sister and the lessons he learned as a CSUF Entrepreneurship student his passion compelled him into taking the risk of selling his paintings to the public. That has proven to be a good move as Geoff has realized a good deal of success as a commercial artist and as a Resident of the CSUF Startup Incubator it is my hope that we can help him achieve even more.

We recently published an article titled Pop Art for a New Generation that goes into a lot more detail about Geoff’s background and how he has become an entrepreneur. And, even though the giving season is behind us, you should go to his site, Pascual Productions, if only to see the amazing pop art pieces he has already painted. (You can also see a number of Geoff’s prints at the CSUF Startup Incubator!)

Geoff’s passion for art drove him to create a burgeoning art business and it all started with small but consistent actions. Doing something you’re passionate about sounds like a pretty good resolution to me.

Sincerely,

John Bradley Jackson
Director, CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship
& CSUF Startup Incubator

Continue reading

Pop Art for a New Generation

Geoff Pascual '16 creating art and a business

Geoff Pascual ’16 creating art and a business

Children are taught to embrace life and experience different activities and hobbies like art. For most most people, art is a hobby and for those who pursue art as a vocation many find commercial success elusive. Cal State Fullerton alumni Geoff Pascual ’16 has already had some commercial success with his company Pascual Productions through which Geoff sells his pop art originals and prints online and at conventions. Earlier this year, Geoff entered the CSUF Startup Incubator where, with the help of Incubator staff and mentors, Geoff explored new avenues to promote and sell his creations, one of which is close to coming to fruition (more on this on a later date!).

Starting from a young age, Geoff was a skilled artist and received compliments from teachers and students who admired his work. “I started to see my identity as an artist form in elementary school. After getting a lot of positive feedback of my artwork from my friends, I wanted to get better. My classmates would ask me to draw them stuff and I would basically draw whatever they wanted.”

As he continued to grow and increase his skills, Geoff began to branch out and test various mediums for his art. Through a process of trial and error, he found his niche after working with water colors. While water colors are difficult to master, the challenge that it provided for Geoff only helped to make him a better artist.

“I first tried a bunch of different mediums: oil, acrylic, tattooing, markers, spray paint, sculpting, etc. and watercolor was the medium I decided to stick with. I enjoy watercolor because it’s the most difficult. You have to manipulate it to do what you want it do. Traditional art in general has a very alive feel to it,” said Pascual.

As a young artist just entering college, Geoff continued to improve his work while adding more pieces to his ever growing portfolio. With the knowledge attained from his classes, and the support of his sister, Geoff decided to follow through on the next step of his dream and began selling his artwork online. Unbeknownst to him at the time, selling his artwork online was the best move that Geoff could have made.

“I wanted to start selling my artwork online using Etsy. It prompted me to have to think of a store name, so with the help of my older sister I came up with Pascual Productions. At that time, I hadn’t intended to or even expected Pascual Productions to be where it is today, and I’m glad I stuck with it,” said Pascual.

By using the knowledge he attained from his entrepreneurship classes at CSUF, Geoff was able to make his work stand out from the competition. These tactics became invaluable as Geoff continued to build Pascual Productions so that his work reflected the lessons and ideals he was taught as a business major.

“Being a business major in and of itself sets me apart as an artist. It’s a decision I made for myself that worked for me, and I’m positive that my time in business school has contributed to the success of Pascual Productions. From inventory management to business communication situations, I see myself using the skills I learned at Fullerton every day,” said Pascual.

With his continued success online and at local conventions, Geoff was accepted into the CSUF Startup Incubator as a Resident entrepreneur. Looking back at this, Geoff felt that working with the Incubator was the most beneficial move he could have made for business.

“The Incubator has great mentors from all walks of life that I can go to for any questions I have. I would say the networking and information shared at the Incubator is very valuable. It’s opened a lot of opportunities for me in improving my business. It helps to get another person’s perspective,” said Pascual.

Currently, Geoff continues to be met with success as he continues to sell his artwork online and at conventions like Comic-Con.

“The fun part happens when I get to interact with customers and meet a bunch of artists and people in the industry. It’s also a great place to network and get your name out there. You have professionals from the comic, video game, and movie industries just walking the convention floor seeking new talent. If you haven’t been to a convention before, you really need to just experience it for yourself. I’ve meet some of my best friends at these conventions and it’s a close knit community that I’m glad to be a part of,” said Pascual.

By creating a successful business, Geoff has blazed a path for future entrepreneurs in the pop art industry at CSUF. While Geoff’s love of art started out as a hobby, Geoff’s passion and dedication in creating his own business has made him into the success he is today. In terms of those looking to start a business like Geoff, he suggests that students do anything they can to make it work: perseverance is critical. While struggle and hardships are to be expected in the initial stages, the passion and drive of a person has for their idea is much more likely to lead them to success as long as they continue to believe in themselves.

“Use the talents and skills that you’ve been given in a way that works for you. There’s a lot of wasted talent because people get stuck thinking there’s only one way of doing things. You have to make moves. If something isn’t working change it up. There’s always another way. Connect with others because you can’t do it alone. No matter where you’re going there will be people out there willing to help you if you let them.”

As Pascual Productions continues to grow, one thing is abundantly clear. Through the help and support of the CSUF Startup Incubator, anything is possible for the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

Kevin Emery wrote this article, Travis Lindsay edited it.


#CSUF #CSUFEntrepreneur #CSUFStartup

Become a CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider to keep up-to-date on all the events, news, and everything else we do: http://bit.ly/CSUFStartupSignup

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurship

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs: http://bit.ly/csufstartup

Attend one of our entrepreneur events or sign up for a free mentoring session: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents