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
Cal 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
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
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.
CSUF 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.
In 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
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 @ firstname.lastname@example.org
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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