CSUF Alumni Awarded Presidential Volunteer Service Award

International Surf Lifesaving Association LogoCal State Fullerton alumni Raquel Lizarraga ’10 and Henry Reyes ’10 recently won the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for the work that their nonprofit, International Surf Lifesaving Association, has done to help prevent people from drowning. Here’s more of the story about ISLA:

“This is another chance to get the issue of global drowning in front of our world’s leaders.” Said ISLA Co-Founder/President, Henry Reyes.

Reyes and ISLA’s Vice President of Operations, Will Koon, received Gold awards for accumulating over 500 hours of service. Olin Patterson, Director/Co-

founder of ISLA, along with Raquel Lizarraga, ISLA’S Vice President for Development, both were awarded Silver for their 400 hours of service, and ISLA’s IT Manager, Michael Lopez received Bronze for his 200 hours.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by the Obama Administration for our efforts to prevent drowning,” Lizarraga said upon receiving the award. “Drowning is a leading cause of death worldwide with two people drowning every minute.  When a few of us started ISLA with our first trip to Nicaragua, we had big dreams. Now, we are seeing our dreams become a reality. Not only do we have over 200 volunteers going on multiple trips on every continent, but even the President recognizes drowning as a global issue and the importance of the work we do”.

Since its inception in 2008, ISLA has expanded to volunteering in over 9 countries. The organization has provided 1,628 preventative actions, including 220 rescues, 188 medical aids, and 14 international lifeguard trainings and workshops. With ongoing operations in the U.S., Mexico, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, and Macedonia, ISLA has set the goal of leading one trip per month in 2015 to a different country in its continuous efforts to decrease drownings around the globe and increase lifesaving skills and awareness. Comprised entirely of volunteers; the organization serves to provide training, medical supplies, disaster relief, and emergency personnel to communities in need around the world.

ISLA Awards

Here are the awards that ISLA won for their amazing entrepreneurial activities

Titan Fast Pitch Competition



Our second Titan Fast Pitch Competition was a huge success. We had dozens of university and high school students competing at this event and there were a ton of great ideas being presented. Congratulations are in order to everyone who competed and a big “thank you” to everyone who was involved in planning and executing this event. What follows is more or less an info sheet of what happened at the Titan Fast Pitch with video and pictures at the end. Continue reading

Titan Fast Pitch – University Track Lightning Round

The footage is from an iPhone so it isn’t going to win any cinematography awards but it does show the university track lightning round from the recent Titan Fast Pitch Competition where the best pitchers were invited back to answer a barrage of questions about their idea. All of the ideas are interesting and it’s well worth the watch.


Success Story – Rance’s Chicago Pizza

Success Story Rance's Chicago PizzaCSUF alumni Aaron Tofani ’06 was gracious enough to write the following post about how he and his business partner, Rance Ruiz, embraced their entrepreneurial spirits and opened one of the most successful pizza restaurants in Southern California, Rance’s Chicago Pizza.

Owning a business with one of my best friends is a truly rewarding experience. Growing up I watched Rance develop an expertise for making delicious Chicago deep dish pizza pies. When he asked me to join him in opening a restaurant, I drew from my education at Cal State University, Fullerton to evaluate the opportunity and build the business.

Rance's Chicago Pizza LogoIn 2012 we opened Rance’s Chicago Pizza in Costa Mesa, CA and have since been awarded Top 30 Restaurants in Orange County by the OC Food List, voted Best Pizza in OC on the 2013 Hot List and featured in OC Weekly, Daily Pilot, OC Register, many other articles, foodie blogs, and great reviews on Yelp. We’ve hosted a Tap Take-Over with fellow CSUF Success Story Bootlegger’s Brewery and countless pizza parties for friends and family. Our business is consistently improving and we are having a blast working together.

In writing this story I decided to reflect specifically on how my undergrad studies at CSUF contributed to the opening and subsequent success of Rance’s Chicago Pizza. Here are my top five. Continue reading

Golf Research Lab @ CSUF – Open House Saturday, November 15, 2014

The CSUF Biomechanics peeps are offering free demo swing analysis, food, drinks and freebies (there might even be some CSUF Entrepreneurship merch to be had as well) to people who attend their Open House on Saturday, November 15 from 11am to 2pm. The event is going to take place in the Kenesiology building on campus in room KHS 019 (CLICK HERE for campus map) and it promises to be a great time for golf enthusiasts, weekend duffers and everyone in between.

If you are interested in attending please RSVP @ csufgolflab@gmail.com


Why Should a Startup Consider a Business Incubator?

Sadaf SaloutBusiness incubation is not new.

While most people recognize the dotcom era as the birth of business incubation, startups have received support from service organizations, large corporations, universities, and government agencies for decades. All have had a similar mission of helping the fledgling startup survive and become company with a viable business model, more or less.

For the record, a business incubator is an organization designed to accelerate the growth and success of entrepreneurial firms through an array of business support resources and services that could include physical space, capital, coaching, common services, and networking connections (source: Entrepreneur.com). Be advised that many incubators specialize by industry, technology, startup maturity, or location. Some charge rent and offer administrative services, while others take equity for their support. All offer the hope of a success transition from a company wannabe to successful entity with a viable business model.

Making that happen is no easy task since startup success statistics are pretty grim. Bloomberg recently reported that 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. What causes startup failure? There are many factors, but the list includes things such as ill-conceived business concepts without customers, lack of capital, bad management, poor market timing, lack of experience and, oddly enough, unexpected growth.

So why should an early stage startup consider getting help from a business incubator? While incubator expertise can vary greatly, here are a few reasons for considering the help of an incubator:

  1. Mentors – Most incubators offer the assistance of cagey veterans who have started and successfully managed companies. While some advice may be technical, much is wisdom earned from making tough decisions and living them.
  2. Access to Funding – Savvy investors prowl incubators with the hope of finding the next big thing. This early stage seed funding is expensive money but may be the difference between success and failure.
  3. Like Minded People – Incubators provide a watering hole for innovative startups that have similar visions of business success. Often the incubator environment is stimulating and fun. The camaraderie can be contagious.
  4. Mistake Repellent – OK, I invented that term. Look at this way, an incubator can provide a road map of how to start up a startup. This includes what to do and what pitfalls to avoid. This counsel can save time and money. Big time.
  5. Introductions to Professional Services – This can include intellectual property attorneys, CPAs and bookkeepers, insurance agents, and sources for manufacturing prototypes. Once again this can save time and money.
  6. Accountability – Some incubators are run like boot camps with daily intellectual aerobics; others softly coach and prod the founders forward, but all hold the startups to well defined goals and milestones. This may be the most important factor to consider.

Starting up a business is unbelievably exhilarating and perilous. While you can go at it alone, business incubation can provide a safer and quicker path to success.

John Bradley Jackson

Director of the CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship and Founder of the CSUF Startup Incubator


CSUF Startup Incubator Needs Innovative Business Concepts

BoratGot a great idea for a new business but not sure what to do next? Looking for other like-minded people who want collaborate, share your ideas, and make the world a better place? If that is you, then the CSUF Startup Incubator is the place for you.
At the Placentia campus, The CSUF Startup Incubator provides promising and coach-able innovators access to technical advice, assistance in the hunt for seed capital, a place to meet and work, a large network of veteran entrepreneurs, and expert guidance concerning patents, technology transfer, licensing, royalties, contracts, and new venture formation.
The Incubator is located at 120 South Bradford in Placentia with 910 square feet and uses a “hotel” concept to optimize space usage. The facility layout is open and casual. It has pod-like work areas for the innovation teams, along with meeting spaces and private office spaces. The Incubator will also provide virtual support to the innovator’s commercialization projects using the latest collaboration tools. The Placentia Campus has been made possible by the generosity of the City of Placentia.

Apply Now!

Marketing Intern at Label Impressions

141030 Label Impressions LogoLabel Impressions is looking for a marketing intern for their company. This position offers an excellent learning experience to whomever lands this internship and could lead to something more at Label Impressions or, thanks to all of the relevant work experience you will have gained it will help you with future job searches.

Label Impressions Marketing Intern Details

We’re in search of one talented individual with a creative and disciplined approach to marketing.  The ideal candidate will take charge of our existing, proven marketing approach and will be asked to elevate our program to the next level.

  • Paid internship: $10-12/hr
  • This position has the potential to grow into something more permanent
  • Flexible hours: 50-75% of the hours can be offsite (telecommuting)
  • Experience level: Entry level is fine and what is important is the commitment, integrity and follow through of the candidate

Duties: Oversee and improve on existing DRIP marketing system, manage overseas SEO team, evaluate print and web based opportunities and assist in the development of 2015 Marketing Budget.

For More Information please contact Jeff at jeff@labelimpressions.com

Some more company information

Label Impressions, Inc. is a well established company with a long history of providing consistent quality, technical expertise and unparalleled customer service. As a California label company in Orange County we specialize in flexographic labels, foil stamped labels, screen printed labels, tree-free labels, FSC certified labels, biodegradable labels, hangtags, pouches, packettes and sachet printing.

We also offer a state of the art graphics department to assist you in packaging design development.

Our Mission is to make doing business easy by delivering a quality product to customers, striving for fast turnaround times and being a valuable resource in the label, tag and flexible packaging industry.

Our Vision is to set the standard for efficiency by being clean, lean and green. To build on our reputation as a knowledgeable and respected competitor. To maintain ourselves as a learning organization. And to attract quality customers, employees and suppliers.

If you are interested in applying for this internship please contact Jeff at jeff@labelimpressions.com

SDSU LeanModel™ Start-up Competition

SDSU Lean Model Competition LogoOpen to Students from Four-Year Universities GLOBALLY

The LeanModel™ Competition is a business model competition designed to assist and reward student based start-ups from global four year universities. This competition will draw students from across the world and provide them with an opportunity to pitch their start-ups to potential investors and compete for awards. A distinguished panel of entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists, and C-Level executives will judge their pitch and evaluate critical elements of the start-up’s LeanModel.

We believe that early on, the start-up must move quickly to prototype and test their product or service, while maintaining customer interaction as a focal point. Too often, teams focus on writing a business plan and never actually interact with their target customers. This new competition, influenced by Lean Startup (Eric Ries) and Business Model Generation (Alex Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur), asks students to direct their efforts toward a realistic model,  based on factual information. It challenges competitors to obtain consumer feedback and  “pivot” in the right direction.

Successful teams will have mastered the creation of a dynamic business model, which includes:

  • A detailed strategy for the creation and delivery of value
  • Identification of a particular problem
  • Development of a clear and realistic solution
  • Ability to pivot, test, and adapt the model until it is perfected.

Event Details

The LeanModel™ Competition will provide students a chance to win a total of $20,000 in cash and prizes. Important event deadlines include:

  • November 4th, 2014: Register on the Lavin Center Website
  • December 2nd, 2014: Submit Multi-media on the Lavin Center Website by 11:59pm
  • March 6th & 7th, 2015: Two-day competition on the San Diego State University campus.

If you have any questions, contact Madisyn Prior at mprior@sdsu.mail.edu


Customer Service Rep Full-Time Position @ Pacific Columns

Pacific ColumnsPacific Columns is the country’s leading distributor and retailer of columns and related millwork products. As a repeat Inc. 500 company, the company also runs hundreds of informational websites and dozens of prominent e-commerce sites.

Although products are shipped nation-wide, all operations are conducted and coordinated from their corporate headquarters in Brea, CA. Pacific Columns has close ties with CSUF and other local colleges and universities, helping perpetuate the youthful and enthusiastic environment that drives the company to continue innovating and pushing their industry forward. Continue reading

Inside Sales Rep Full-Time Position @ Pacific Columns

Pacific ColumnsPacific Columns is the country’s leading distributor and retailer of columns and related millwork products. As a repeat Inc. 500 company, the company also runs hundreds of informational websites and dozens of prominent e-commerce sites.

Although products are shipped nation-wide, all operations are conducted and coordinated from their corporate headquarters in Brea, CA. Pacific Columns has close ties with CSUF and other local colleges and universities, helping perpetuate the youthful and enthusiastic environment that drives the company to continue innovating and pushing their industry forward. Continue reading

Entrepreneurship Lessons from Pirate Joe’s

Pirate Joe'sTrader Joe’s has a large and loyal following. (I’m one of them.) But they only have stores in the United States. Michael Hallatt lived in Vancouver, Canada, and got tired of having to cross the border to get his favorite grocery products. Thinking like an entrepreneur, he decided to start buying products from Trader Joe’s stores in the US and sell them across the border in Vancouver, and “Pirate Joe’s” was born.

Hallatt and his “associates” procure some $9,000 worth of groceries each week and mark them up $1-3. But because Trader Joe’s is not happy and has tried to shut down the operation (more detail on the various lawsuits and outcomes can be found here), the process Hallatt has to go through to obtain these groceries is complex. The result is that Pirate Joe’s is not making Hallatt rich by any means. He claims that he could make more money driving a cab.

So why is Hallatt doing it? He is clearly a Trader Joe’s super fan. And a little crazy – but can’t that be said for most entrepreneurs? Continue reading

CSUF Entrepreneurship alumna opens business in Australia

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After many months of traveling, I found myself in Cairns, Australia. To find a way of truly embracing this place and meeting as many people as possible, I tapped into my entrepreneurial spirit and started a coffee stand at a local farmers market.

Rusty’s Farmers Market is centrally located in the heart of Cairns City. It’s only open from Friday through Sunday. In addition to fresh produce, this place is vibrant and filled with vendors selling items from historical Indigenous art to handmade baby diapers. There is also food from all over the world, such as Thailand, Samoa and Iran. But one thing was missing: a taste of Vietnam. Continue reading

CSUF Entrepreneurship Alumna Makes Travel a Goal

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In the best-selling book “The 4-Hour Workweek”, author Timothy Ferriss says that we shouldn’t wait till retirement to truly enjoy our lives. Most of us think we need to wait till then because we don’t have the financial resources to do it now. Ferris’s book provides guidelines for how to do so. Annie Nguyen, one of our recent entrepreneurship graduates, has embraced this philosophy and is currently living in Cairns, Australia. This is her story.

Atul Teckchandani

I’ve always had this burning desire inside of me to just pick up and leave. To travel somewhere. Anywhere. Not to just travel as a tourist, but rather to live in a different country for a little while and really embrace it. I wanted to meet inspiring and kind people, see what they value, and learn how to live in a different way. Nine months ago, I decided to take off and leave everything behind. The love of my life was offered an opportunity to go to Australia and I decided to accompany him. Like with anything, I did not have 100% support from everyone. I knew however this was the best time for me. With no sort of commitment to a job, no mortgage or children, I sold my car, gathered my savings, and left. Continue reading

Internship – Marketing Coordinator at the OC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

141021 OC Hispanic Chamber of CommerceGreat opportunity to develop your marketing skills and help the community by getting involved with the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (OCHCC).

The OCHCC is partnering with the state of California Employment Training Panel to provide highly qualified training to the business community of Southern California.

You will have the opportunity to work side by side with other business professionals managing different tasks associated with this project.

These are some of the shared responsibilities you will have with our team: Continue reading