Monthly Archives: April 2015

A CSUF Student-Entrepreneur’s Charitable Startup

Garage GainsLast week I had the pleasure of meeting Kaylyn Donohue ’16 at one of our CSUF Startup Incubator events. Kaylyn is one of our bright student-entrepreneurs and she recently tested out her minimum viable product (MVP) for her concept Garage Gains.

Unlike other garage sales, Garage Gains did not put price tags on any of their items being sold. Instead, business and entrepreneurship students in charge of the sale, told people to pay what they wanted to donate to the Children’s Hospital of Orange County.

“We really just encouraged people to pay the price that they felt was justified to give back to children’s hospital,” said Kaylyn Donohue, 21, pursuing a minor in business entrepreneurship. “At first we were thinking about giving set prices but a lot of people were actually willing to pay a little bit more through that donation request.”

As part of a community outreach project, seven Cal State Fullerton students worked to partner with the children’s hospital to develop a non-profit organization—based on the concept of a garage sale. Now, with the help of generous donations and a unique pricing system, Garage Gains is working to help communities around the nation.

Source: A Garage Sale for the Community and Charity

Click on the link above to read the rest of this story and go to Garage Gain’s Facebook Page to see when they are planning on bringing their charity garage sales to your neck of the woods.

2015 CSUF Business Plan Competition

Well over 100 people attended this year’s CSUF Business Plan Competition and Innovation Exhibition. It was great seeing all of the creative things that CSUF students are doing and to help three businesses out by awarding them seed funding for their fledgling businesses.

Well over 100 people attended this year’s CSUF Business Plan Competition and Innovation Exhibition. It was great seeing all of the creative things that CSUF students are doing and to help three businesses out by awarding them seed funding for their fledgling businesses.

We just completed the fourth annual CSUF Business Plan Competition Finals yesterday and we are excited to say that this one was spectacular! Approximately 150 people attended this year’s event including CSUF students, alumni, faculty, staff, community members, and a group of middle school students that the Center for Entrepreneurship has been mentoring in the areas of Entrepreneurship and STEM. We started the day off by showcasing a collection of innovative projects and businesses that CSUF students and community members are working on and finished with presentations from the finalists in our CSUF Business Plan Competition. All of the Finalists did superb jobs presenting their respective business ideas (Judge France Helfer noted that it was an extremely close vote) and we were ecstatic at how well the Innovation Exhibition, something we had never done before, went.

Starting at noon in the Titan Student Union’s Pavilion A, we launched our first ever Innovation Exhibition. The idea behind this exhibition was to promote our most creative students, alumni, and community members to as wide of an audience as we could muster. Many groups participated in the Innovation Exhibition including:

One of the cool exhibitors was our drone team and they were able to have one of their quad copters fly at the event.

The Center for Entrepreneurship would not have been able to pull off this exhibition without the help of Titan Innovation and Sigma Upsilon Mu (the CSUF Entrepreneurship fraternity/sorority on campus). In particular, Amerika Bernal, Andre Conde (who won last year’s CSUF Business Plan Competition), Cristian Sanchez, Miguel Olivares, and Lorenzo Santos were instrumental in making this event a success.

A little after 1pm we started the main attraction: the CSUF Business Plan Competition Finals. This year we welcomed:

  • Exo Assistive Technologies with their concept of a backpack that aids people with disabilities and the elderly in lifting everyday items that most of us take for granted. Their team was headed by CSUF engineering student Trevor McLeran and a group of business students from Sigm Upsilon Mu including: Dan Nannery, Jessica Bonilla, and Nick Sieverson.
  • Arrow Cone was the second business presented. Phillipe Rodriguez did an excellent job of presenting his idea for a cone that is shaped like an arrow. The idea is that these kinds of cones will help youth sports coaches train their student athletes. Setting Phillipe apart was that he has some solid connections in the industry and his background makes him a good candidate for making a business like this successful.
  • Finally, CSUF Startup Incubator resident Mike Kirtland presented his business concept OneMessageID. His idea is to connect neighbors in the offline world online but, instead of trying to explain his idea myself I’ll let him do that:

All of the presentations were great, which made it tough for judges Shari Rudolph, France Helfer, Michael Sawitz, and Dan Black but they were able to come to a consensus: Mike Kirtland’s OneMessageID finished in first place followed by Arrow Cone in second and Exo Assistive Technologies in third. Each Finalist received cash prizes and in-kind services to help them seed their fledgling businesses. We hope that they go on to do great things with their businesses in the future.

Hosting one of these events is quite the task but looking at all of the excitement from the crowd and the participants along with the knowledge that the awards given will go to advance entrepreneurial activities makes it all worth it. The 2015 competition is over but we are planning on hosting another Titan Fast Pitch Competition during the Fall Semester. If you are interested in seeing what the previous CSUF Business Plan Competitions were like we covered them in:

Whether you participate as a competitor, an Innovation Exhibitor, or as a member of the audience we sincerely hope to see you at next years’ competition.


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Event: CSUF Business Plan Competition Finals

CSUF Entrepreneurship

The CSUF Business Plan Competition Finals are just a couple days away (April 7 from noon to 3pm to be exact) and I hope that you are able to attend. (RSVP now!)

From noon to 1pm we will be hosting our first Innovator Exhibition where we will showcase some of the creative things our students, alumni, and other community members are doing. Some of the exhibitors who are scheduled to attend include:

  • Our UAV team with their drone that has an eight foot wingspan
  • Our rover team that has created a rover that is very similar to the one currently tooling around on Mars
  • One of our finalists, Exo Assistive Technologies, will be showcasing their invention that assists senior citizens and the physically disabled in lifting common items
  • Our friends from SCORE will be there to promote their wonderful services
  • Our Entrepreneurship Alumni group will also have a representative showcasing his business

There are more and you might not have enough time to view them all if you arrive late so make sure to arrive as early as possible!

Immediately following the Innovator Exhibition we will commence with the CSUF Business Plan Competition Finals presentations. As was the case during the first three years of the CSUF Business Plan Competition we have three amazing finalists.

The previously mentioned Exo Assistive Technologies will be presenting their invention that will make it possible for senior citizens and the physically disabled to accomplish normal tasks that most of us take for granted.

OneMessageID is a company that plans on giving every residential and commercial property an online identity whereby the residents can interact with their local community on an online platform. This idea takes aim at servicing the local market unlike any other solution currently available and it is the type of audacious thinking that convinced us to welcome it into our CSUF Startup Incubator.

Arrow Cone is the brainchild of one of our students who is a soccer coach, CSUF Entrepreneurship fraternity/sorority leader, and Dan Black Scholar in Physics and Business. It’s such a deceptively simple idea that there is a good chance that it will become a ubiquitous training device for youth sports in the near future.

We are all very excited to be hosting the fourth CSUF Business Plan Competition Finals on Tuesday, April 7 from noon to 3pm in the Titan Student Union’s Pavilion A. (RSVP now!!!) If you have the time we would love to have you join us in support of our wonderful student-entrepreneurs.

One last thing: If you have the ability we would immensely appreciate it if you could donate some funds to support our efforts to educate and promote the next generation of entrepreneurs. Click here to donate.