Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Next Big Entrepreneur

What it is

The Next Big Entrepreneur is an opportunity for young aspiring entrepreneurs to take their business idea or active business to the next level. This is your opportunity to show us why your business or business idea is ready to expand or launch. Young aspiring entrepreneurs from all around California are tasked with showing us what your business or business idea is all about and what it brings to the table. Participants will submit a 2-minute fast pitch video. If you are chosen among the top competitors, you will:

  1. Qualify to compete for free at the statewide competition for a chance to win up to $5,000 to fund your business!
  2. Have free access to LivePlan, an online business plan development software, to launch your business.
  3. Get free 1 on 1 consultation services from entrepreneurs and business professionals to build and expand your business.
  4. Be prepared to compete effectively against aspiring entrepreneurs from around the state of California

How to Participate

Participating in the Next Big Entrepreneur is easy! All you need to do is:

  1. Meet eligibility requirements:
    1. All participants must be between the ages of 14 to 27.
    2. Your business may range in development from concept/idea to active businesses in early stage of development.
    3. The business must be or will be based within the state of California.
  2. If you meet the eligibility requirements, then here is what you need to do next!
    1. Attend the “The Two-Minute Video Pitch” in December. Date and time: TBD
    2. Create a 2-minute video pitch. When you start planning your video, consider the following:
      1. Your video does not need to be elaborate to be competitive. We are looking at how you pitch your business or business idea not fancy graphics or effects, although you are welcome to use them.
      2. The video must be (2) minutes or under in length.
      3. Talk about your company! Make sure to mention the basics:
        1. What is the name of your company?
        2. What product or service does your company offer? What do you do?
        3. Identify the demand/need your product or service fills
        4. Who is your competition? What does your target market look like?
        5. How are you different? How will you differentiate yourself from the big players in your industry? What competitive advantage do you have?
        6. Where do you anticipate your company will be in 3 years? What are your projections for a return on investment?
        7. What makes you and/or your team qualified to lead this company to success?
  3. Submit your two-minute video to the Next Big Entrepreneur Submission Page (Link active from January 1st, 2013 – January 31st, 2013). When submitting your video, you will need to provide all requested information on the online form for consideration in this competition.

How to Advance in this Competition

  1. Our panel of judges, profiles coming soon, will go through the entire list of submissions and identify the businesses with the greatest potential for success.
  2. Our panel of judges will be asked to choose up to 30 participants that will move forward and receive the additional services mentioned above. Although there are 30 slots available, please note that we will not necessarily accept 30 participants. The final number accepted will depend on the quality of submissions and the resources available.
  3. Those chosen will be notified privately and announced publicly on Friday February 15th, 2013 via the YEP website.
  4. If chosen, you will be asked to commit to the free YEP coaching program in preparation for the statewide competition in the spring. Please note that participation in the state competition, for free , is contingent on completing the freeYEP coaching program that will prepare you for the competition. This coaching program consists of the following:
    1. Complete a Business Plan via the LivePlan online system.
    2. Attend YEP 2.0 Seminar Series in the Spring of 2013. The YEP 2.0 Seminar Series will be held at Rancho Santiago Community College District Offices in Santa Ana, CA. Please ensure you can attend these sessions.
    3. Participate in 1 on 1 consultations with experienced local entrepreneurs that will serve as mentors for you and your business. (Optional)

Small Business Saturday is November 24

Instead of shopping at the mall or online this holiday season, consider spending your money at local small businesses on Saturday, November 24. Support small business while helping the local economy by shopping or dining at your favorite small local business.

American Express founded the first Small Business Saturday in 2010. In its third year, Small Business Saturday was created to support small, local businesses in response to the recession. Its timing is opportune as it falls in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. During this time of year, in preparation for the winter holidays, even the most frugal of us tend to spend much more money than usual.

What are the benefits of shopping at small businesses instead of the big retail chains? Small, local businesses often offer superior customer service, something that can get lost in the corporate style of large chains. While small businesses often can’t offer the same kinds of deals that the big retailers can, they can still offer great discounts on quality items.

If you own or work for a small business, get the word out through social media and word of mouth that your business is participating. Offer discounts or bargains on that day, and publicize the sale with flyers and social media announcements. Download free marketing materials from American Express and read success stories of small business owners to see how they took advantage of the day.

Small Business Saturday can be seen as a a small act of defiance against the big corporations that profit from the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It puts money back in our local communities, and supports small business owners.

John Bradley Jackson
Director, Center for Entrepreneurship

RIP: Groupon???


What follows is a post from Dr. Atul Teckchandani, one of the great professors teaching Entrepreneurship at CSUF.

Groupon has the unique distinction of being a firm whose name is now a part of our vocabulary. When people buy an online deal, they talk as if they purchased a “Groupon.” Just like when people search for something online, they say they have “Googled it.” Or when people want to photocopy something, they usually say they want it “Xeroxed.”

Despite having such strong brand recognition, there is talk that Groupon may not exist for much longer.

If that does happen, it will likely boil down to its flawed business model. Groupon was created as a new way for businesses to market themselves. A business would advertise on Groupon. Typically, the business would offer deals that would tend to be half off on some product or service. Groupon would present this deal to their large base of customers, who would be enticed to purchase the deal due to the generous discount. Once they used the coupon, the business would have new customers. The word “Groupon” perfectly describes this business model as it comes from merging the words “group” and “coupon.”

But this process has two fundamental flaws.

Flaw #1

Groupon takes roughly half the revenue generated when a customer purchases a deal. For illustrative purposes, let’s consider a restaurant that offers a Groupon deal where future patrons can pay $10 for a coupon that they can then redeem for $20 worth of food at the restaurant. The future patrons pay $10 to purchase the deal. Groupon keeps $5 and gives the other $5 to the restaurant. In other words, the restaurant just gave away $20 worth of food for $5. While this seems like a bad deal for the restaurant, there is still hope that things might work out if one of the following happens: the patron ends up spending much more than $20 at the restaurant or the patron becomes a repeat customer.

Flaw #2

Unfortunately, the experience of most businesses is that most patrons do not spend significantly more than the coupon amount and many do not frequent the business again (Source). The reality is that people are willing to go out of their way to save 50% on something. But when they have to pay full price for it, they are not as willing to subject themselves to such inconveniences. In other words, the only entity benefiting from these deals is Groupon itself. Talk about the worst value proposition ever!

At the core of every firm’s business model is the value proposition, or what value the firm provides to its customers. A business idea that does not offer significant value to its customers should not be pursued. And it is only a matter of time before an existing firm that no longer offers something of value to its customers will cease to exist. Let’s see if Groupon can pivot its business model and find a way to start offering something of real value to its customers before it runs out of cash.


Are you ready for Prototype Day?

Sure, your mind is probably on Thanksgiving, Finals and Christmas but you should make some space in there for Prototype Day if you are an entrepreneur who wants to create his or her own app. Prototype Day will take place on Saturday, December 8 2012 at’s Irvine location and is being cosponsored by a number of companies in the mobile sector.

Here’s what to expect:

Spend 8 hours, with a bunch of your fellow entrepreneurs and build a clickable wireframe or working prototype of Mobile Apps in Orange County, CA, the next tech space to blossom in SoCal.

  1. Pitch your idea to the group.
  2. Flush out your idea on the business model canvas.
  3. Design your idea using the recommended prototype tools or your software of choice.
  4. Demonstrate your prototype to our panel of experienced mobile app judges.
  5. Win Prizes!

You will need to bring your laptop and the tickets to enter into this event cost $50. For more information about this event please go to

Not your Typical Movie Theater – Alamo Drafthouse

What follows is a post from Dr. Atul Teckchandani, one of the great professors teaching Entrepreneurship at CSUF.

Most movie theaters operate in one of two ways. Either they are the types of theaters that get the newest movies and then attract film-goers who are willing to pay $8-12 to see these movies as soon as they are released. Or they are the types of theaters that show movies a few months after they have originally been released, but at a steeply discounted price.

The big movie theater chains (AMC, Regal, UA, Cinemark, etc.) typically dominate the first category. And the second category does not seem to be a very attractive segment of the industry as most of the discounted theaters tend to be independently owned and their interiors suggest that the owners are not exactly minting money.

But does that mean that the movie theater industry isn’t a good place to start a business? Not at all! The folks at the Alamo Draft House have found a way to create a very successful movie theater chain by breaking all the rules.

Here’s what they do. First, their theaters all are setup so that there are long narrow tables in front of each row of seats so that wait staff can deliver food and drinks. Their menu is not just limited to popcorn, drinks, and snacks – customers can also order pizzas, nachos, and even beer and wine. In other words, customers can come to Alamo Drafthouse to spend their entire evening. Rather than going to a restaurant to have dinner and then going to a theater to watch a movie, they can come to Alamo Drafthouse and do both.

While the idea of offering more than just the typical movie theatre fare is a great way to increase revenue, what makes Alamo Drafthouse truly unique is that they bring new life to old movies by connecting “moviegoers and movies on a visceral– even primal–level, conjuring the magic and excitement of audience members’ most formative cinematic experiences.” (Source).

To better illustrate, here are some of the current events on their movie calendar for the Austin, Texas location:

  • The Princess Bride Quote-along
  • Bridget Jones’ Diary (girls-night)
  • Amadeus (w/ a live choral performance)
  • Secret Garden (including afternoon tea: three servings of tea and tea treats)
  • True Lies (with live pyrotechnics)
  • The Godfather (with pairings of Italian wines and cheeses)

Rather than simply replay these old movies the way discount theaters do, they create a more interactive experience that revolves around a movie. Usually it’s an older movie that has nostalgic potential or one that has a large cult following. And the results are outstanding: revenue per movie screen at the Alamo Draft House is almost double that of the large movie chains.

I spent two years in Austin, and know first-hand how much more enjoyable the movie-watching experience is at Alamo Drafthouse as compared to a more traditional theater. The folks at Alamo Draft House have managed to be successful in an industry that appears to be quite an unattractive place for new ventures, and found a way to thrive by changing the rules of the game.

And herein lies the lesson for entrepreneurs: do not let the “rules” of an industry limit your options. It is always hard for an upstart to compete with the incumbents. Instead, change the rules so that your success is not determined by directly competing with these incumbents. Go after a different target market. Offer a different value proposition. Leverage partners. In other words, build a different business model.

[image: Lomo-Cam | flickr]

CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship

CSUF Startup Incubator Mixer web

The Center for Entrepreneurship is a “Center of Excellence” at Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, which serves as an outreach center and support organization for Mihaylo Entrepreneurship – the collection of entrepreneurial initiatives within Mihaylo College. Mihaylo Entrepreneurship includes the Center for Entrepreneurship, its advisory board, staff, and donors; the CSUF Startup Incubator and its residents, advisory board, staff, and donors; the Small Business Institute (SBI) and its present and past student-consulting clients; student members of the Entrepreneur Society and the Entrepreneurship Fraternity Sigma Upsilon Mu; students, and faculty involved in the Mihaylo Entrepreneurship Concentrations (Undergraduate and MBA) and the Mihaylo Entrepreneurship Minor; and entrepreneurial alumni. Additionally, Mihaylo Entrepreneurship multiplies its effectiveness by enlisting entrepreneurial volunteers to support learning in the classroom and in the field.

Here is a video explaining what the CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship does.

If you are looking to get involved or you just want some more information here’s a list of pages to look through:

About Us

CSUF Startup Incubator

CSUF Consulting


Student Information

Success Stories

Business Plan Competition

Titan Fast Pitch

Contact Information


Become a CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider to keep up-to-date on all the events, news, and everything else we do:

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:

Attend one of our entrepreneur events or sign up for a free mentoring session: