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.

OneMessageID is a very interesting concept that aims to marry each physical address with a unique email address but, to be honest, this concept is best explained by the student-entrepreneur himself (videos below). Suffice it to say, Mike has been one of our most impressive students and we are sure that his extensive amount of skills and experience in this industry will make the launch of OneMessageID one to pay close attention to.

Once again, congratulations go to Mike and his team on their success and a big “thank you” goes out to Mr. DeFilippo for his support of budding entrepreneurs like Mike.

And here are some more pictures from the event:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Event: Do Women Leaders Think Differently than Men in Business?

Women on Building & Thriving in Business - CSUF Entrepreneurship EventOn January 14, 2015 the Center for Entrepreneurship is proud to host the Critical Mass for Business program as they discuss the topic “Do Women Leaders Think Differently than Men in Business?” Richard Franzi, the CEO for Critical Mass for Business, will moderate a panel comprised of the following people:

John Bradley Jackson (Director, Center for Entrepreneurship)

France Helfer (Entrepreneur & CEO Hal Healthcare, Inc.)

Darcie Harris (Trainer & Speaker for Women Entrepreneurs)

Tomilee Gill (President Executives Unlimited)

Please view the flyer below for more information or click on the flyer to find out more information about this event and to register for it as well.

CSUF Entrepreneurship Event: Women on Building & Thriving in BusinessTo Register for this event please click HERE or on the flyer above.

Startups + Incubators = Good Sense

Vincent Yancoskie '10 - CSUF EntrepreneurshipFor many startups, joining an incubator can make good sense. Yet, incubators are not all alike; this requires the startup to do some homework and ask some basic questions.

The first question to address is for the startup itself. What type of help does your startup need? Most startups will answer this question saying that they need help finding investor capital. An infusion of cash may well help the fledgling business, but the “ask” of the investor can be a waste of time if the startup is not prepared for the “due diligence” process. Many seed investors have very specific requirements for their prospective startup investments. The list can include proof of concept, intellectual property, a full management team, documented customer development, prototypes, etc. My experience is that few startups have these essentials.

Readiness for funding is a key criterion for the startup looking for funding. The investors also want to see a “pitch” via PowerPoint, an executive summary, a business model canvas, and a business plan. Thus, this is how the incubator can help.

You need to ask the prospective incubator to describe what they do. Some incubators specialize by industry or category such as food, biotech, clean-tech, or even agriculture. Other incubators may be non-profit in nature and may focus on a geographic region with the hopes of local economic development and job creation. Still other incubators may have a decidedly aggressive investment posture with a trade of cash for a significant equity slice.

CSUF’s Startup Incubator is adjacent to the University in downtown Placentia. The Incubator provides promising and coach-able startups 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 CSUF Startup Incubator will function as a “hatchery” for innovation; the goal would be to commercialize resident startups within 180 days. Many traditional business incubators coddle new ventures and make money from renting the facility and providing professional services to them. In contrast, the CSUF Startup Incubator will aggressively challenge its residents to “succeed quickly or fail fast.” The Incubator will achieve this through stringent feasibility testing, thorough market research, verified proof of concept, and rigorous beta testing of products and services. An experienced team of content experts, innovators and entrepreneurs will optimize the commercialization process by helping innovators avoid mistakes and lost time.

Are you ready for this challenge? If so, you can learn more at http://business.fullerton.edu/centers/cfe/StartupIncubator.htm. Better yet, apply now at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/18A1uVQ7nsy8LqQ_So7M396Lzo82W24Sb8TxKnPWbiZg/viewform?c=0&w=1

John Bradley Jackson
Director, Center for Entrepreneurship
Professor, Entrepreneurship

CSUF Entrepreneur Success Story: Brian Cavanaugh ’13

CSUF Entrepreneur Success Story - Brian CavanaughEntering college, I thought I was going to be an Art major with hopes of becoming a graphic designer.  A couple of semesters later, my mind shifted from graphic art to photography, and I set my sights on a potential career in commercial photography. However, during a semester in a photography class, I shared my ambitions with my professor who shared an interesting outlook on my career path. She recommended that rather than studying for a degree in Photography, I should consider majoring in Business, as many artists and photographers are good at their craft, but lack solid business skills. After some thought, I agreed and set my sights on an Entrepreneurship degree from CSUF.

As I progressed from semester to semester, I built my foundation in business while maintaining my artistic endeavors through photography. However, as time passed I began to realize that entrepreneurship is the ultimate art form. It was a perfect fit for me as it allowed me to exercise practical business know how, but with the creative freedom that is hard to find in a corporate setting. A good entrepreneur must be artistic in the way he or she thinks about new problems and use their creativity to adapt to constantly changing situations. Not only must an entrepreneur be business savvy, they must possess an eye for design. As the competitive landscape for new companies gets thicker with more innovative websites and mobile applications, a large amount of tech startups will tell you that beautiful, intuitive design is part of their competitive advantage. Realizing this, I really began to feel like I had hit the sweet spot in everything I was looking for in a career path. All I needed was to put it all into practice and found my own startup. So I did.

While at CSUF, I noticed that there were a lot of great ideas being passed around, but not much progress was made as the student teams were built of only business majors. Many innovative tech ideas were pitched, but without a technical teammate, or an artistic teammate, there was no one on the team who could actually design and develop the products. With this in mind, I discussed this issue with a close friend of mine from UCLA and we created a solution. ENDVRS.com matches innovative ideas with the talent it needs to make an idea a reality. It’s for those business majors looking for a technical co-founder, or the tech guru that’s looking for a designer… etc.

In the summer of 2014, my co-founders and I were accepted into the StartupUCLA Accelerator program where we spent long days and several all-nighters building our platform and running our little company. I wear many hats as part of the co-founding team, including business development, marketing, and of course, designer. One thing this experience has taught me is that if you want to succeed, you must have an inherent desire to keep learning. The learning does not stop the last day in the classroom, but begins the second you enter the real world. By no means do I consider myself a successful entrepreneur yet, but I continue to push myself to learn new skills everyday so that one day when opportunity arises, I’ll be ready to attack with no hesitation.  Founding and running a startup is a beautifully chaotic process, but I am confident that with continuous learning and my foundation from CSUF, I will be ready for an exciting and challenging future.

Check out some of our other Success Stories by clicking here


CSUF Students Help Companies Develop Better HR Practices

Woman Diligently Working

In the Leadership and Human Resources Student Consulting Program, our goal is to understand the client’s business and then use that understanding along with an objective lens to help address the leadership and HR challenges the client is facing. It is our goal to hear from the client that the student consulting team’s recommendations were on target because the team understood the intricacies and challenges of his business as well as the business owner.

Here is one example of such an engagement. The client organization was a local rep of Herff-Jones, a leading manufacturer of graduation products (class rings, regalia, etc.). The organization had a mobile trailer that served as a pop-up store. It featured sample merchandise and allowed customers to submit and pay for ordered products. The trailer allowed them to go directly to their customers to make the order and delivery process as easy as possible.

The problem was that the mobile trailer team were not doing as well as the client had hoped. While the client sensed that the team was stressed out and confused, the client wasn’t sure why and, more importantly, what to do about it.

That’s where the student consulting team came in. In order to figure out how to solve the problem, the first step was to understand it. Specifically, the team set out to learn what exactly the team was expected to do, the formal policies they had to follow, the backgrounds and motivations of each team member, and the overall culture of the trailer team.

The students spent tens of hours (yes, tens of hours) talking to the mobile trailer team and traveling with them to their various destinations. Being able to form good relationships with the trailer team members helped the consulting team understand the challenges from the trailer team’s point of view.

After gathering data on the organization, the team was able to determine the root causes of the stress and confusion experienced by the trailer team. Now that the root causes were known, the team shifted its focus on devising a host of specific and actionable recommendations to address the problem. Specifically, the consulting team:

  • Summarized the components of a training program that emphasized videos that the mobile trailer team could view without going into the main office.
  • Created an FAQ that would answer the most common customer questions, and allow the trailer team to work on more challenging issues.
  • Wrote job descriptions for each member of the trailer team so it is clear who is responsible for what.
  • Outlined a monthly meeting format that would build morale, communicate information on the products, and allow management to hear the trailer team’s concerns.
  • Recommended an inventory control system that can also be used on tablets, so that the trailer team would have up-to-date information on the status of each customer’s order.

The client was so impressed with the recommendations that some, such as the inventory control system, were implemented mid-way through the consulting engagement. Even though the students only mentioned this recommendation in passing — as part of  a status update — the client was so interested that he asked for more details and began implementing the student team’s recommendation immediately. And the students learned a great deal through the engagement, a true win-win for all.

For more information about our Student-led Business Consulting Program please contact Charlesetta Medina at (657) 278-3464 or cymedina@fullerton.edu and she will be more than happy to answer all of your questions. You can also watch the video below or follow this link to learn more about our program.

This post was authored by Dr. Atul Teckchandani.

Picture Credit: Viktor Hanacek

Entrepreneurship needs Hackers, Hipsters and Hustlers

Hipster Hacker Hustler - Entrepreneur

Every startup needs three kinds of people: hipsters, hackers and hustlers. While I can’t take credit for this insight (a former student and current entrepreneur told it to me), I completely agree. Hackers are the folks who can code, or more generally, the folks who can create a product (the engineers and scientists). Hipsters are the folks who understand user experience and user design (the artists and humanities folks). And hustlers are the business people. Continue reading

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: Continue reading

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