Monthly Archives: March 2016

Meet The Three Finalists for the CSUF Business Plan Competition

CSUF Business Plan Competition FinalsThe CSUF Business Plan Competition Finals are coming next week! [Register now!] It promises to be an interesting look into what our student-entrepreneurs are capable of.

Starting at noon on Thursday, 4/7 in Pavilion A of the Titan Student Union we open up registration and host an Innovation Fair where we will showcase the projects that CSUF students are working on as well as Residents from the CSUF Startup Incubator and other partner organizations we routinely work with.

From 1pm to 3pm will be the competition. This year’s Finalists have an exciting mixture of concepts they will be presenting. Each presentation will last approximately fifteen minutes with up to another fifteen minutes for questions from our entrepreneurial panel.

The winner of this competition will receive a $2,500 scholarship along with a valuable mixture of in-kind services from professionals. Second place will receive a $1,000 scholarship with in-kind services and third place will receive $500 and in-kind services.

And who are the Finalists? They are (in no particular order):

Chopit Drones

Leveraging the abilities of drone technology, Chopit Drones aims to revolutionize the bridge inspection industry. Currently, there are many problems with America’s infrastructure, including its bridges, that lead to increased maintenance costs, lost productivity, and even loss of life. Chopit Drones is creating a service that will dramatically reduce the cost and time needed to visually inspect bridges.

Little Nexus

Fundraising is a critical activity for any student club or nonprofit but most of these organizations don’t understand how to do fundraisers effectively. Little Nexus solves this problem by creating a simple to use platform that matches nonprofits with businesses that are willing to host fundraisers. Through the creation of this platform Little Nexus will create a community of restaurants and other businesses who actively pursue philanthropic goals to help nonprofits better serve their communities.

Trail Tracker

Americans are increasingly embracing an outdoor lifestyle. More people than ever are going on camping trips, backpacking, and mountain climbing. This trend will continue as will the number of people who tragically get lost or injured on the trail. This is a terrifying scenario that no outdoors person ever wants to face but must be prepared for. Trail Tracker is developing a device that will alert authorities when someone needs saving.

I can honestly tell you that we are all looking forward to this event. The Innovation Fair will be a great opportunity to see some of the innovative things that our community is working on and to network with cool people. And the competition promises to be a great showcase of the best ideas that came out of this competition this year!

We hope to see you there!

CSUF Business Plan Competition

Thursday, Apr 7, 2016, 12:00 PM

CSUF Titan Student Union
800 N. State College Fullerton, CA

3 Entrepreneurs Attending

The CSUF Business Plan Competition is an annual competition for current Cal State Fullerton students. Student-entrepreneurs who enter this competition have the opportunity to develop their idea for a scalable business with lots of potential to see what professional entrepreneurs think of their idea. There are multiple rounds to this competition but…

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Call for CSUF Biotech and Business Teams – Funds are Available

I-CorpsThe National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program is offering grants of $2,500 (and potentially much more to excellent student teams!) to student teams working on the commercialization of biotechnology. Each student team needs at least one member with experience working with the biotech and they also need members majoring or with experience in business.

Applications are due by 5pm PST on Monday, April 11.

For a full list of details, rules for entering, and a schedule please go to: http://www.csuperb.org/csuicorps/fall-2016/

If you do plan on entering this program please get in touch with me, Travis, at tlindsay@fullerton.edu and I can help you with the application and team formation processes as well as finding an appropriate mentor for your team. This sounds like a tremendous opportunity for any student due to the resume enhancing aspect of being involved in a project like this and in terms of how it can expand your network for future business opportunities.


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More info on the CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurship

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More info on the CSUF Startup Incubator: http://bit.ly/csufstartup

For more of our awesome events please go here: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents

No-Tipping Restaurant Model

In an effort to pay cooks a fairer wage and to get around an onerous NY law regarding tip sharing, a restaurateur has moved to a no-tipping model. This reminded me of a post written by CSUF's Dr. Teckchandani about this subject from a couple of years ago.

In an effort to pay cooks a fairer wage and to get around an onerous NY law regarding tip sharing, a restaurateur has moved to a no-tipping model. This reminded me of a post written by CSUF’s Dr. Teckchandani about this subject from a couple of years ago.

A while back, CSUF professor Dr. Atul Teckchandani wrote a piece titled The not-so-surprising failure of no-tipping restaurants and it brought up many points that I thought were pretty interesting. The main thesis of Dr. Teckchandani’s piece was that while there is some data suggesting that restaurants that switch to a no-tipping model experience increases in food and service quality there doesn’t seem to be any demand from customers for this type of change.

This interesting out-of-the-box thinking stuck in my head, somewhat dormant, until I listened to a recent Freakonomics Radio episode titled The No-Tipping Point. This episode hits on a number of things related to a no-tipping model including Dr. Teckchandani’s thesis. In this episode, Stephen Dubner interviewed New York City restaurateur Danny Meyer about why he embraced the no-tipping model at one of his restaurants, The Modern, and what the results have been so far. Here’s the description of the episode:

The restaurant business model is warped: kitchen wages are too low to hire cooks, while diners are put in charge of paying the waitstaff. So what happens if you eliminate tipping, raise menu prices, and redistribute the wealth? New York restaurant maverick Danny Meyer is about to find out.

Without spoiling anything too much, the reason for the switch is because under New York law restaurants cannot share tips between the front of the house and the kitchen. Since that is the case, servers were receiving more compensation than cooks were and it was difficult for Mr. Meyer to recruit and retain quality cooks. In an effort to ameliorate this situation, Mr. Meyer has transitioned one of his restaurants, The Modern, into a no-tipping restaurant so that he can give cooks a raise and, in general, be more fair with compensation.

Here’s one interaction between Mr. Dubner and Mr. Meyer that relates directly to Dr. Teckchandani’s thesis:

DUBNER: Danny, you acknowledge that The Modern benefited from the coverage of its move to Hospitality Included, or no tipping. What about other restaurants that want to try this and won’t get the coverage, which is to say, just about all of them? Maybe especially restaurants that have a less affluent clientele and lower prices. How do you think this will work for them?

MEYER: Well, we’re going to find that out ourselves, because I want you to know, we are those restaurants. Remember, we did not roll this out in all of our restaurants. We only rolled it out at The Modern. And we, just like everybody else, are waiting to see how it goes. So the next restaurant we picked, which is Maialino, does not have the same kind of check average as The Modern has, and also serves breakfast, for example, which The Modern doesn’t serve. So we’re going to see, how does this work in the morning time? How does it work at a very, very active, less expensive bar, with snacks that are open all day? And like all the other restaurants you’re asking about, Maialino is not going to get the same four-month amount of global press coverage that The Modern got. So we’ll find out, but I’m really confident about it.

Maybe this will work, maybe it won’t but the move to a no-tipping model in an effort to pay kitchen workers more (some of these cooks have spent tens of thousands of dollars on their culinary education) does make sense on many levels. But the question still remains whether customers will accept this change or revolt because they no longer feel they have any say in compensating service received or because the up-front prices for menu items are too high.

You should listen to this (and all the others as well) Freakonomics Radio episode or read the transcript; it’s very interesting.


Sign up for the CSUF Startup Newsletter to keep up-to-date on all the events, news, and everything else we do: http://bit.ly/CSUFStartupSignup

#CSUFEntrepreneur

More info on the CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurship

#CSUFStartup

More info on the CSUF Startup Incubator: http://bit.ly/csufstartup

For more of our awesome events please go here: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents

How to Pitch to an Investment Panel @ CSUF Startup Incubator

CSUF Startup IncubatorThis Wednesday, March 23, at 6pm at the CSUF Startup Incubator Director Jackson will be giving a talk about how to give the best pitch for your business to an investment panel. What topics should you cover? How many slides should you include in your deck? How many people from your team should actively participate in the presentation? And many other questions will be answered. We hope to see you at the CSUF Startup Incubator and for more information please refer to our Meetup listing below.

How to Pitch to an Investment Panel @ CSUF Startup Incubator

Wednesday, Mar 23, 2016, 6:00 PM

CSUF Startup Incubator
120 South Bradford Avenue Placentia, CA

8 Entrepreneurs Attending

CSUF Startup Incubator and Center for Entrepreneurship Director John Bradley Jackson (“JJ” for short) will give a talk on how to pitch to investors. In reality, as an entrepreneur you are continuously pitching, or explaining, your idea to everyone you meet who is even tangentially involved in your business. You need to be able to pitch your busines…

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Sign up for the CSUF Startup Newsletter to keep up-to-date on all the events, news, and everything else we do: http://bit.ly/CSUFStartupSignup

#CSUFEntrepreneur

More info on the CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurship

#CSUFStartup

More info on the CSUF Startup Incubator: http://bit.ly/csufstartup

For more of our awesome events please go here: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents

Sigma Upsilon Mu’s 8 Hour Business Challenge at Cal State Fullerton

Michael Sawitz, founder of FastStart.studio and sponsor of three entrepreneurial scholarships to CSUF student-entrepreneurs every year, mentoring a team at the 8 Hour Business Challenge.

Michael Sawitz, founder of FastStart.studio and sponsor of three entrepreneurial scholarships to CSUF student-entrepreneurs every year, mentoring a team at the 8 Hour Business Challenge. [Source: Sigma Upsilon Mu]

Sigma Upsilon Mu is the most active student group dedicated to entrepreneurship on the Cal State Fullerton campus and just a few days ago they held a great competition called the 8 Hour Business Challenge. This competition was open to university students from all across the area and required an amazing amount of work from the competing teams. In total, six teams competed this time around working hard to develop their ideas and prepare slide decks and investor pitches in the eight hour time limit.

One of the competitors, Vanesa Ganaden, had this to say about her experience in this competition:

We worked really hard as a team during that competition. We faced a lot of technical difficulties and half the time, our group was split. But we made it through and we got it done. We won three awards: best concept, best presentation and best social media award. I’m proud of our team because we all worked together despite all the odds. We worked with Michael Sawitz as our mentor and he was also instrumental in helping us shape our ideas.

We were able to provide a few mentors for this competition and they were able to help the teams more fully develop their concepts. One mentor, Mark Adams, had this to say about his experience: Continue reading

Phillip Stinis will be a Keynote Speaker at Phi Kappa Phi Event

Phillip Stinis '11 MBAIf you’re a current CSUF student there’s a decent chance that Phillip Stinis has come to your classroom to talk about the CSUF Startup Incubator. In a couple of weeks, he, along with Karla Amador of Thrive Financial (and a sponsor of a CSUF Entrepreneurship scholarship), will be the keynote speakers at an important national honor society event.

From CSUF News:

[Phillip and Karla] co-founded 52 Hike Challenge in 2014, and it has grown to a global movement to get people outdoors and active once a week, or 52 times in a year. Stinis also is the director of business development for Skytypers, a skywriting service. Amador is the CEO of Thrive Financial and Bookkeeping Services, a cloud-based bookkeeping and business consulting firm in Laguna Hills.

Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897 and created to honor excellence in all academic disciplines. Membership is by invitation to the top 7.5 percent of juniors with at least 72 credit hours and to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students, each with a GPA of at least 3.70. Faculty and staff members and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction also may be eligible for membership.

The initiation ceremony is set for 6:30 p.m. March 23 at the Titan Student Union.

Sounds like a great event but, unless you are a member of Phi Kappa Phi, I strongly suggest that you attend our How to Pitch an Investment Panel event at the Incubator on that day at 6pm. Seriously though, this is a great honor for both Phillip and Karla and very well deserved.


Sign up for the CSUF Startup Newsletter to keep up-to-date on all the events, news, and everything else we do: http://bit.ly/CSUFStartupSignup

#CSUFEntrepreneur

More info on the CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurship

#CSUFStartup

More info on the CSUF Startup Incubator: http://bit.ly/csufstartup

For more of our awesome events please go here: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents

Embracing Change: Lessons in Leadership

All CSUF students are invited to meet Julie Greiner, ’75, Macy’s retired Senior Vice President.  She will present Embracing Change: Lessons in Leadership at 11:30am on March 21 in the O’Brien Innovation Center, followed by a luncheon and networking.

Students are to RSVP by March 15.  This event is a first come, first serve event.

With the RSVP, please give your FIRST and LAST NAMES, Expected Grad Year, and Student Affiliation. This information will be used for Name Tags and a participant listing that will be shared with Julie.

Just click on the picture below to email Alice Rodriguez so that you can RSVP to this event.

Julie Greiner Event


Sign up for the CSUF Startup Newsletter to keep up-to-date on all the events, news, and everything else we do: http://bit.ly/CSUFStartupSignup

#CSUFEntrepreneur

More info on the CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurship

#CSUFStartup

More info on the CSUF Startup Incubator: http://bit.ly/csufstartup

For more of our awesome events please go here: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents