Monthly Archives: March 2014

CSUF Entrepreneurship Update – 1st Quarter 2014

2014 has already been an exciting year for us but we have a lot more planned. For starters, we were just honored with our 11th National Championship at the Small Business Institute’s Project of the Year Competition! Not only did our undergraduates bring home the national championship in their division but our MBA’s came in second place in theirs!

Speaking of our Student-led Business Consulting Program, we are already looking for clients for our MBA Summer Program which begins in late May. If you or a company you know of could benefit from our MBA students’ expertise, please contact Ms. Charlesetta Medina at cymedina@fullerton.edu or 657-278-8243.

(2013 SBI National Champion Undergraduate Student-led Business Consulting team from CSUF Entrepreneurship)

We are also in the midst of running the 2014 CSUF Business Plan Competition as well. The Finals for this competition are set for Friday, April 11th in the Titan Student Union and, based off of the submissions we have reviewed so far, it looks like this year’s finals will be very exciting! Of course, we are always looking for more sponsors for this competition (for student awards and to pay for the cost of running the event itself) and if you are interested in supporting CSUF student-entrepreneurs please reply to this email and we will help you out (or go to our Donation Page to give via credit card online).

(Students who competed in the 2014 CSUF Fast Pitch Business Competition)

Thanks to your support we have already accomplished a lot in 2014:

  • We ran the first-ever CSUF Fast Pitch Business Competition. With over 60 participants and approximately 150 people in attendance, this event was a huge success. And, to top it all off, our very own John Chi took home the second place prize!
  • Gayle and Phil Tauber, the founders of Kashi, were gracious enough to come on campus to give a talk to our students, faculty and staff about their shared entrepreneurial journey.
  • We hosted the Patent Troll and other IP-related Threats Seminar and the FULL VIDEO is up now. At this seminar, panelists Roger N. Behle (IP litigator at Foley, Bezek, Behle & Curtis, LLP), Jerry Conrey (Principal at Conrey Insurance Brokers) and Dr. Robert Kovacev (Professor of Finance at CSUF) discussed how business can identify these potentially bad actors and how best to deal with them.

Also, Dr. Michael Ames, Chairman of the Board for the Center for Entrepreneurship, recently published an eBook titled “Your Entrepreneurial Journey”, which focuses on developing guiding principles for businesses. It is an excellent book that I collaborated on with Dr. Ames and I believe it can help every business develop truly important goals. The eBook is reasonably priced and can be found on Amazon; also, all proceeds of the book go to support the Center for Entrepreneurship and its students.

CSUF Entrepreneur Success Story – Brian De La Rosa

CSUF Entrepreneurship Success Story: Brian De La Rosa, Founder of HERES2U

I graduated from CSUF in June 2006 and, before I could enjoy some downtime, I quickly began working in the marketing department at Disney Consumer Products. After four years at Disney and then a couple more years jumping around at other entertainment companies, I finally took the plunge to start my own business and left the corporate world.

I credit much of my success to the CSUF Entrepreneurship Program, which instilled three valuable lessons into me, which I believe led me to where I am today.  I can still hear Professor John Bradley Jackson, JJ for short, now, “If you want to start your own business, keep your personal expenses as low as possible.” This proved to be very true; it would have been much harder if I had to worry about making that mortgage payment while trying to launch my business.

The second valuable lesson was the understanding that your network is a reflection of how strong you are. If you can keep a strong and healthy network, anything is possible. Your relationships will help you break through that wall.

The third lesson was to learn how to develop and present a business plan or investor proposal. I would have never been able to raise investor money without having to write business plans during my Entrepreneurship classes. All of these lessons were taught to me during my career at CSUF and I hold true to them today. Thanks to JJ and professors like him, I was well prepared to start and launch HERES2U.

Two years ago, while I was at work, I tried to call into a restaurant my friend was eating at to purchase them a bottle of wine. To my surprise it proved to be extremely difficult and sparked the idea of HERES2U.  After over a year of planning and speaking to countless restaurant owners I developed HERES2U to address this deficiency in the marketplace.

HERES2U is a mobile application that allows restaurant guests to receive drinks or meals from family or friends not physically present. Imagine, celebrating your birthday at your favorite watering hole and all of a sudden you get a phone notification that your brother, who couldn’t attend because he is traveling in Prague, just bought you a bottle of champagne that you can redeem with your server.

Well about 2 months ago, HERES2U went live and, although it is still very early in its life, I was able to sign up 15 LA-based restaurants in about one week and I am actively growing that number.  Restaurant owners are responding positively to this new revenue stream and marketing tool that makes HERES2U’s future bright.

Due to limited resources and manpower my strategy is to focus all my energy signing up restaurants in a small geographical area and then show some good success, which hopefully will result in raising more funds and expanding into more cities. In addition, my development team and myself are continuously working on enhancements to the iOS app, developing an android version and raising investor money; all of these skills I learned while a student in the CSUF Entrepreneurship Program. HERES2U has a very bright future and looks forward to helping everyone never miss a celebration.

Thank you CSUF Entrepreneurship Program!!!

CSUF Fast Pitch Business Competition Highlights – Spring 2014

The CSUF Fast Pitch Business Competition was a huge success earlier this year in February. Thanks to our sponsors – Wells Fargo, the Black Family Trust and Guchereau Company – we sponsored an event that brought together university and high school students from all over the Orange and Los Angeles County areas. (For more info, go HERE or THERE)

Below is a playlist of the event from earlier this year with two videos: one is a highlight video and the other features one of the presentations.

We plan on running another on of these competitions either during the Fall or Spring semester of the 2014-15 school year. If you would like to get involved as either a donor or a participant please send us an email at csufentrepreneurship@fullerton.edu and we will see what we can do.

Thanks for watching

2014 Conrey Insurance Brokers and Risk Managers Entrepreneurial Scholarship Last Call

This is just a friendly little reminder that your applications for the 2014 Conrey Insurance Brokers and Risk Managers Entrepreneurial Scholarship are due this Saturday, March 15. If you haven’t done so already APPLY FOR THIS SCHOLARSHIP NOW!!!

Robert Gates (L) with Vicki and Jerry Conrey at CSUF Entrepreneurship end-of-the-year-party-and-awards-ceremony.

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.

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

Application Procedure: 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” button. Follow the onscreen instructions and be sure to answer in all the questions.

Application Deadline: March 15

Click here to look at other scholarship opportunities at CSUF

Pop-up Stores: The Perfect MVP

An important milestone when attempting to start a new business is to create something that can be sold (or at least offered) to customers. The goal is to get something in the hands of your customers quickly and then continue to refine the product or service based on their feedback. In lean startup lingo, this is known as a “minimum viable product” or MVP.

For entrepreneurs seeking to launch businesses catering to consumers (e.g., retail establishments, restaurants, etc.), a great way to see what customers think of your product or service is to create a pop-up store. A pop-up store is a temporary retail space that can be used by entrepreneurs to showcase their products or services.

Mike Condia, a recent graduate of the entrepreneurship program at CSUF (class of 2013), provides a perfect illustration of the value of the pop-up store. Mike believes there is an opportunity for brick-and-mortar music stores to make a comeback by leveraging the revival of vinyl records. Rather than spending tens of thousands of dollars buying inventory, leasing a retail storefront, and hiring employees, Mike launched a pop-up record store.

The store, Rad Cat Records, opened just last week and is located near the Chapman University campus within the Ugly Mug Café in Orange. To get started, Mike needed to spend only enough money to buy 20-30 records and two metal racks to display them. He brought a record player from home so people can listen to the records and uses his smartphone to process credit card transactions.

Pop-up stores have two important advantages. First, pop-up stores allow entrepreneurs to see if people are willing to pay for their products and services. Paying customers are the ultimate validation of a business opportunity. Second, pop-up stores provide a quick and extremely cost-effective way to find out if people really want your product/service and if there are enough of them to create a profitable business. In other words, pop-up stores are the perfect MVP.

Through the Rad Cat Records pop-up store, Mike is not just validating that people want vinyl records, he is also validating his customer segment. By locating so close to a college campus, Mike is making the assumption that college students are much more likely to want to purchase vinyl records than other customer segments.

Rad Cat Records will be open for a month. That should be enough time for Mike to figure out if it makes sense for him to lease his own retail space. In the meanwhile, if you are one of those people who are glad that vinyl is back, head over to Rad Cat Records to show your support!

The preceding was a post from Dr. Atul Teckchandani, one of the great professors teaching Entrepreneurship at CSUF.

Why I Major in Entrepreneurship at Cal State Fullerton

The following was written by Robert Gates who is majoring in Entrepreneurship at CSUF.

My name is Robert Gates and I’m currently a senior at California State University, Fullerton studying Entrepreneurship. When I first came to CSUF, I knew that I wanted to own a business but, at the time, I was unaware that the Entrepreneurship major existed. My father and I visited the campus during “Welcome to Cal State Fullerton Day.” That’s where we met Professor John Bradley Jackson from the Center of Entrepreneurship. John informed me of the benefits of pursuing a degree in Entrepreneurship. I knew immediately this was the major for me. I had started several mini ventures in high school from a tech tutoring company to an eBay store. Choosing a major in Entrepreneurship seemed like the logical next step for me.

Since declaring my major in Entrepreneurship, I have entered and placed in multiple business pitch competitions, including Startup Weekend. Being part of the program has allowed me to connect with entrepreneurs from all backgrounds. The most valuable aspect of the program to me is the mentor program that places successful entrepreneurs, often alumni, with Student-led Business Consulting Teams. The Entrepreneurship Program also offers many scholarships for its student-entrepreneurs. I was fortunate enough to receive the Conrey Insurance Entrepreneurial Scholarship. The opportunities that have arisen from being part of this program are invaluable. I have no regrets in my decision of choosing Entrepreneurship as a major and I hope that others will be able to share in the experience that is the Entrepreneurship Program.

If you are interested in majoring in Entrepreneurship at Cal State Fullerton please click here to learn more.

CSUF Business Plan Competition Winner on Radio

John Chi, the founder of Synova Life Sciences, was recently interviewed on the Unfinished Business radio show with Renee White Fraser, Ph.D. and Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire. John, fresh off of strong showings at Survivor8 and the CSUF Fast Pitch Competition, talked with the hosts about his business and the lessons that he has learned along the way. There are four segments and John is prominently featured during the second and third so I strongly suggest listening to the radio show for some insights from an early stage entrepreneur.