Category Archives: Business Plans

Business Plan Competition 1st Boot Camp on January 15, 2014

“Business Plan Competition
1st Boot Camp”
SGMH 1307, 1:00 – 3:00pm
January 15, 2014

The purpose of the Business Plan Competition is to promote entrepreneurship amongst CSUF students from every college. No prior business plan writing experience is needed; all the information you will need to compete will be discussed at the Boot Camps or can be found here. For more resources to help you with the CSUF Business Plan Competition please go here.

Since the inaugural year of the CSUF Business Plan Competition we have seen a wide variety of business ideas make it to the finals. Whether your idea is a barbershop or a tech company your idea has the ability to go far in our competition if you make a compelling enough case for its success.

If you are interested in this competition please sign up for our CSUF Business Plan Competition Newsletter so that you will be kept up-to-date on all the latest information.

Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch – TCVN Event

Our friends at the Tech Coast Venture Network are hosting an event to help people perfect their elevator pitches in preparation for their Survivor 8 competition. The preparatory event will be held on Thursday, October 17, 2013 from 8:00am to 10:00am at the following location:

Haynes and Boone, LLP
18100 Von Karman Avenue
#750
Irvine, CA 92612

If you are a CSUF student and would like to attend this event please email Travis at tlindsay@fullerton.edu and I will get you comped for this important event. Details below:

Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch:

How to win $25K @ Survivor 8 On November 8th

Click image to go to event page

Learn the effective techniques needed to create a winning “Elevator Pitch” to win it all at our upcoming November 8th 2013 Survivor event. This pitch will also be helpful to raise money for outside early stage investment scenarios.

We will have a contest for all participants to have their pitch reviewed by a group of serial entrepreneurs and TCVN board members. One winner will get a free ticket to Survivor 2013!

Why is this important regardless of how much money you’re raising? 

The first thing every investor wants to hear is your elevator pitch. Without it; you will likely not get the right attention to get you capital.

Host Workshop :

Ash Kumra (Chairman of TCVN & DreamItAlive.com Co-Founder)

You can also click this image to go to the event page

Ash Kumra is an award winning entrepreneur, author and public speaker recognized twice by the White House as an entrepreneur making an impact. Ash is currently co-founder of DreamItAlive.com; an online community empowering users to achieve dreams in all areas of life using Dreamboards, visualization, community, helpful products & content.
Ash is also a public speaker specializing conscious entrepreneurship, law of attraction & social media. Ash has also spoken to over 10,000 people on entrepreneurship, social media and branding for many colleges, institutions, and organizations including the White House & TEDX.

In 2006; Ash co-founded digital content distribution agency DesiYou; the 2010 recipient for “Best Digital Media” company by the Irvine Entrepreneur Forum.

Register Today!

The Importance of Financial Literacy

Student learns about personal finances

Being financially literate isn’t something you are born into or passively acquire as you get older. It is something that you have to actively learn. And it’s better to start now then to wait until it’s too late.

Everyone knows that the literacy rate is not where it should be but people do not usually stop to consider the problems associated with a lack of financial literacy. Think about it, if you do not understand the differences between a savings account and a CD then you will probably be met with some financial difficulties in the future (to put it mildly).

Unfortunately, far too many people graduate from high school without even the slightest bit of training in this area (according to a recent study, only 14 states require courses on financial literacy to be taught at the high school level). Not preparing for the future can hamstring your life in so many ways and the longer you wait to do something the less impact it necessarily has. In our recent post, Why Your Twenties Matter, we showed that your twenties are crucial years in your life because, statistically speaking, the choices you make in your twenties have more of an impact on your personal, professional and financial lives.

For example, according to Bankrate.com, if you start investing $2,000 per year starting when you are 25 then you will have about $560,000 in the bank once you reach 65 (assuming an 8% rate of return). However, if you don’t start saving $2,000 per year until you are 35 then you will only end up with about $245,000 at 65 (assuming an 8% rate of return again).

So, what are we really talking about here? I think the best way to answer that question is by quoting PBS’ quality site on this subject:

The President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy defines personal financial literacy as “the ability to use knowledge and skills to manage financial resources effectively for a lifetime of financial well-being.” (2008 Annual Report to the President)

Personal financial literacy is more than just being able to balance a checkbook, compare prices or get a job. It also includes skills like long-term vision and planning for the future, and the discipline to use those skills every day.

The PBS site is a repository of great information on the subject that can be useful to everyone. Within that site there are resources such as:

  • Help on planning for retirement
  • A wide array of financial calculators
  • Definitions of common words found in the financial sphere
  • There are even quizzes to test your absorption of the material

Another site you can look to for information on this subject is MyMoney.gov. From their site:

MyMoney.gov is the U.S. government’s website dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics about financial education. Whether you are buying a home, balancing your checkbook, or investing in your 401(k), the resources on MyMoney.gov can help you maximize your financial decisions. Throughout the site, you will find important information from more than 20 Federal agencies and Bureaus designed to help you make smart financial choices.

Recently, Center for Entrepreneurship Director and Professor John Bradley Jackson participated in a seminar hosted by the Center for Economic Education on campus to help people become more financially literate. Talking about how to formulate a business plan, Professor Jackson explained to those in attendance what the purpose of a business plan was, how to develop one and resources that they could use to help them in their business endeavors.

Center for Entrepreneurship Director John Bradley Jackson lectures on the importance of business plans to a group of people who are hard at work improving their financial literacy skills.

Center for Economic Education Director Dr. Radha Bhattacharya oversaw a full slate of presentations like Director Jackson’s. “Teaching Economics,” “The Stock Market Game and Personal finance” and “Future Financial Life” were just three of the other presentations given through this day of financial literacy bolstering. If you would like to know when the next event like this is going to happen please follow the Center for Economic Education and the Center for Entrepreneurship as well.

CSUF Business Plan Competition 2013 Finals

After months of hard work by our student entrepreneurs we have a winner! But before we get ahead of ourselves here let us first talk about the Finals.

It was a morning event and, unlike the first CSUF Business Plan Competition Finals, we had good weather, which was nice. The three finalists – Synova Life Sciences, NixFix Chasers and The Edge – were all in top form during their presentations and each team impressed our judges and the crowd. It was a close competition (very close actually) and in the end Synova Life Sciences won the day with NixFix Chasers taking second place and The Edge third.

(Watch this video summary of the event for some more depth about the Finals)

Synova Receiving 1st Place Award
From L to R: Thomas Flores, Bryan Trivedi, Cesar Enchante, John Chi & John Bradley Jackson

This competition is a rigorous event that forces all entrants to address the important aspects that face every new business such as:

  • How will you market this business?
  • Who are your customers?
  • Who is on your team and what holes do you need to fill in your founding team?
  • What is the competitive landscape?
  • How much funding do you need to successfully launch this business?
  • How will your company fair financially over the coming three years?

NixFix Receiving 2nd Place Award
From L to R: Nick Ajluni & John Bradley Jackson

And so on with these probing questions which elicit much more circumspect plans from our students. These are the kinds of questions that every entrepreneur must face while launching a business and being able to put forth these questions to students before they take their first steps on this journey is invaluable to their growth as a student entrepreneur.

What is really impressive about many of the plans that we saw during this competition is that they are in the process of launching these businesses or will soon launch them (included in this group are all three finalists). Of course, some of the student entrepreneurs won’t end up launching their ideas but some will, which is what is important.

The Edge Receiving 3rd Place Award
From L to R: Mayra Figueroa & John Bradley Jackson

In the future we plan on doing some posts on the individual teams that participated in this competition so make sure to check back from time to time.

CSUF Business Plan Competition 2013 Finals

You are all invited to the CSUF Business Plan Competition 2013 Finals

Who: All Students are welcome – an Opportunity Drawing will be held for all students in attendance, prizes include: iPad Mini, Angels Tickets, concert tickets, lodging at a resort and more (student ID must be shown in order to enter Opportunity Drawing)

Faculty, alumni, staff and everyone else who is a friend of entrepreneurship is welcomed to this event as well (sorry, you will not be eligible for those wonderful prizes however)

What: CSUF Business Plan Competition Finals. The Top 3 CSUF teams will present their business concepts to a panel of distinguished judges and one team will be crowned the winner.

When: this Wednesday, April 17 from 9:30am to noon

Where: TSU, Pavilion A

CSUF Business Plan Competition Boot Camp 2013 Summary

*****NOTE: FOR RESOURCES YOU CAN USE PLEASE CLICK HERE *****

The CSUF Business Plan Competition 2013 is a CSUF competition that aims to help stimulate entrepreneurial activities amongst its students. In an effort to help foment some of this activity we have been hosting some Boot Camps over the last couple of weeks and we will be hosting two more. Both of the remaining Boot Camps will take place on Wednesday, February 6 2013; one will be held on the main Fullerton campus and the other on the CSUF Irvine campus. Here are the details:

Wednesday, Feb. 6 Third Boot Camp (with Raffle Prizes)
Fullerton Campus: 10:00am to 11:00am in SGMH 3230
Irvine Campus: 6:00pm to 7:00pm in rooms 123/124

If you are unable to make it to either of these Boot Camps nor have you attended either of the previous ones that does not mean you cannot enter this year’s competition. All you have to do to enter is sign up for the competition through TITANium (directions found in the GUIDE) by Friday, February 15 and meet the deadlines for all further steps (again, directions and information can be found in the GUIDE). However, it is helpful if you are able to attend one of the upcoming Boot Camps. Here’s a taste of what you can expect.

For more information on this competition’s schedule please refer to this page. More information will follow during the next couple of days and if you want to keep up-to-date please follow us in one or more of the following places:

Also, we will be using the hash tag #CSUFBizPlan2013 to identify all of our posts about the competition.

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)

California “BEC Boost” Business Plan Contest

We are planning on hosting the Second Annual Business Plan Competition next year but, in the meantime, you can get your feet wet with this competition put on by Palo Alto Software. Here’s the LINK and some key information follows:

THE DETAILS

The contest is open for entries on Oct 1st, 2012 @ 12PM (PT) To enter, you must be a current LivePlan user. Plans must be shared through the LivePlan app before noon on May 1st, 2013

Winners will be announced via LIVE WEBINAR on May 22, 2013

What can you win?

  • Track #1: 14-17 years old:
    Grand Prize Winner: $5,000 cash prize & a “Boost Your Business Package” from our sponsors

    2nd & 3rd Place: A “Boost Your Business Package” from our sponsors

  • Track #2: 18-27 years old:
    Grand Prize Winner: $5,000 cash prize & a “Boost Your Business Package” from our sponsors

    2nd & 3rd Place: A “Boost Your Business Package” from our sponsors

  • Track #3: 28 years & older:
    Grand Prize Winner: $5,000 cash prize & a “Boost Your Business Package” from our sponsors

    2nd & 3rd Place: A “Boost Your Business Package” from our sponsors

Key Dates:

Oct 1, 12pm (PT): contest kicks-off

May 22, 10am (PT): Webinar to announce the winners!

FREE WEBINARS:

Oct 24, 1pm (PT): Writing a Winning Business Plan (open to everyone)

Jan 23, 10am (PT): Writing a Winning Business Plan (open to everyone)

Feb 7, 4:30pm (PT): Introduction to Business Plan Writing (14 – 17 yr old track)

May 1, 12pm (PT): Contest deadline

******

Check out this LINK for more details and to find out how to enter into this competition.

The CrashRespond Challenge (Part 2) – New Marketing Channel

This post was republished with permission from the BDEC, Irvine. For the first post please read The CrashRespond Challenge – Build an App that Sells while in School and Working Full-Time (Part 1).

The app that they are in the process of developing would alert up to three predetermined contacts whenever the person who owns the app is involved in a car accident.

Progress Report
Since our last report, we’ve met with Mr. Robert Stahl, current President of the Driving School Association of California (DSAC) and owner of Dollar Driving School, to discuss potential marketing opportunities with his organizations.

Mr. Stahl loves the CrashRespond concept, and we discussed various ways by which his company and other driving schools could act as a marketing channel for our app. We also learned some encouraging facts about the driving school industry:

  • There are approx. 500 driving schools in California, in sizes that range from sole proprietorship and one car, to national corporation with a fleet of cars.
  • There are 250,000 new drivers per year in California.
  • There are approximately 3 million new drivers per year in the United States.

This means that among our target audience, CrashRespond has a yearly revenue potential of between $112,500 – $187,500 in California, and between $1,350,000 – $2,250,000 nationwide. Here’s how we calculated these projections:

  • Selling price of between $3-$5
  • 30% smartphone adoption rate among teens * 250,000 * 50% Android market share = 35,000 potential customers (based on the smartphone adoption research we discussed in our previous post)

By creating marketing partnerships with Mr. Stahl and the driving schools, we’ll gain a marketing channel that extends directly to the consumers we need to reach: parents of new drivers. We plan to use this channel by launching a sales competition among the driving schools and instructors, with prizes going to the individual or group with the most sales in a 3-6 month period. The details of this competition will be worked out as we get closer to launch.

The only cost to CrashRespond for this marketing opportunity is the $3-5 thousand in contest prizes and the approximately $0.25 per sale cut that the driving school association would earn for their cooperation.

What do you think about this opportunity? Do you believe it is as exciting as we do? Would you do something differently? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to get your feedback!

CSUF MBAs needed for Competition

Time is running out to enter this competition so I will be brief. CSUF needs three MBA students who would like to enter a competition. If you are interested please email me: tlindsay@fullerton.edu. Here’s the information:

About the I2P Student Challenge-CSUPERB Research Scholars Award

CSUPERB is pleased to kick-off this year’s system-wide early-stage biotechnology commercialization challenge!

Expected Award Amount: $5000

Program Description

The CSUPERB Idea to Product (I2P®) Competition is an early-stage biotechnology commercialization plan competition for CSU students. The I2P® Competitions were designed and pioneered at The University of Texas at Austin by engineering professor Dr. Steven Nichols and colleagues.  As they explain it, “the phrase Idea to Product refers to applying creative thought to a technology (“Idea”) and developing a market application (“Product”) for that technology.” This year’s I2P® competition will culminate at the 25th Annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium (January 4-5, 2013).

One hallmark of the I2P® program is that scientists and engineers with no previous experience in technology commercialization can be competitive.  Competition CSU teams pair science/engineering students with business students.  Symposium registration, lodging, meals and travel reimbursements for finalist teams and two faculty mentors will be provided by CSUPERB.  At least $5000 in awards will be made to finalists at the symposium.

CLICK FOR MORE INFORMATION

Sounds like a really good opportunity to sharpen your skills, network with motivated individuals and, who knows, you might actually win some money as well. Remember, if you are interested please get in touch with me at tlindsay@fullerton.edu.

Thanks

Trevor’s Journal: Formula SAE Lincoln

During June, Trevor Smith, a recent graduate from Cal State Fullerton, represented his alma mater in an international competition in Lincoln, Nebraska called Formula SAE. As you can tell by the name this is a racing competition. Schools from all over the world developed small race cars for this competition.

While most of the competition is about engineering there is a sizable portion that is about business. And that is where Trevor and his team come in. His group developed a business plan for the production and sale of this race car and he presented his work at Formula SAE.

What follows is Trevor’s diary of the event. I hope you enjoy it.

Thursday June 21st: The Big DAY

After a quick night in Houston, I get some sleep to get up and grab a taxi to the airport around 6:00am. Today is the Big Day, everything the business team, as well as engineering team, comes down to this day, Thursday June 21st, 2012. Literally, everything, meaning our Business Plan presentation, is today. Likewise, the first stages of the SAE Formula competition begin, which are comprised of the judging of whether or not each teams’ vehicle meets the competition’s technical specifications that all cars must pass the three stages of testing in order to actually compete in the performance events. With my big presentation on the line, I pray that I get into Lincoln on time. Lady, luck was on my side this day; I arrived in Omaha, Nebraska around 10:00 a.m. and made the drive out to Lincoln, Nebraska by 11:00am

In getting into Lincoln before my presentation at 1:30, this gave me just enough time to gather up the lead engineer, Ben Lahiji, from the life or death technical specifications testing, and brush him up on the presentation flow, which slides we were to present, as well as any and all materials needed to present with. Both Ben and I arrived early to the off-sight location (which was an elementary school actually) to present. Once it was our turn, Ben and I walked into the small elementary school classroom to be greeted by a panel of 5 judges.

Low and behold, we forgot to bring the PROJECTOR even though it explicitly states that one must be brought in the RULEBOOK. AHHH!!! Adversity! How sweetly sporadic are thee! We rolled with the punches though and delivered a highly creative and dynamic presentation; especially after presenting on a 17 inch laptop to a panel of 5 judges sitting at 5 elementary school desks. The panel feedback was that our business presentation was unique in their experience as judges in this completion.

One strategy in particular that the panel liked was partnering with official racetracks and racing schools. Not only did we envision selling our vehicles to the racetracks and racing schools so that they could rent the vehicles out but that they would also become resellers.

After a successful panel discussion, both Ben and I headed back to the old air force runway out in Lincoln where the SAE competition was being held…. The pits (we called it the “Concrete Jungle”) was amongst us and we were submerged in the thick of it all. The vehicle… Passed all the tech specs…

Tilt Test and Decibel Test, which had to be under 110, we came in at 109 , with 2 mufflers!!! And Brake Test, which was to lock up all 4 brakes at once…. With a successful day out on the runway, our vehicle was ready to take on the performance events of tomorrow: acceleration, skid-pad, and autocross… until then….

Friday June 22nd: The Real Deal…

Friday was one of the most exciting days of the whole trip. The day started off around 9:30 a.m. 4.3 seconds is close to the fastest time put down on the acceleration event, and we, meaning CSUF’s SAE team, put it down. The rest of the day was also a BIG success. The team outperformed last years’ vehicle, in ALL aspects of the competition.

The design aspect earned 50 points versus that of last year’s 46. This design part of the competition consisted of a presentation from the engineering standpoint on how well the team was able to maximize the overall design with the technical specifications outlined by the SAE rulebook.

After the design presentation, there is a COST aspect or COST report that is submitted for judging. This years’ team was able to post 66.7 points versus that of last year’s 61. The cost report is an integral part of the competition due to the nature in which the cost report can either make or break the accompanying business plan. Basically, it’s just like any other business. If it costs more to make than you can make back by selling the product you will be out of business in no short order. And that would seriously hurt the business plan.

However, in order to better conceptualize the achievements/strides the team made from the previous year to this year within the business plan, is the fact that the 2011 SAE team had NO business plan WHATSOEVER. Thus, the business presentation this year was exponentially better than last year’s plan; such that the team came from nothing to something. The 2012 team scored 52.5 points versus that of the 18 points received from the previous year.

This dramatic increase in the overall points earned for the business presentation can be attributed not only to the fact that the team actually HAD a business presentation BUT also the creative strategies and overall thoroughness of the research conducted to justify the business plan, provided by none other than myself and the rest of the business team. After being out at the competition, it was clear, that having business students create the business plan was one of the BIG differentiating factors CSUF’s team was able to boast about.

Yet we still had to take on one of the other BIG performance events and the Autocross event was looming over us. The penultimate event, Autocross was unique in that it dictated the order in which teams would race on Saturday, the last day of the competition, in the non plus ultra of the overall competition, the ENDURANCE event. To begin, Autocross is a two lap, single driver race comprised of a large, dynamic track, designed to test the skills of even the best drivers. The faster the time, the later in the day, Saturday, the team will get to race.

Our team posted a solid time of 59 seconds, which was only six seconds behind the fastest time recorded on that day. We were in the middle of the run, for racing in the Endurance event….Needless to say, the weather say’s to expect rain, which is going to make for an exciting 19 lap Endurance event….

Saturday June 23rd: Endurance event…Always Always Double, Triple, Quadruple Check Everything…

With a time of 59 seconds posted in the Autocross event, our team was able to avoid having to race early in the morning. This was crucial, due to the fact that it was raining CATS AND DOGS Saturday morning, thus causing the first few teams, who posted slower times the day before, to post even slower times the morning of the Endurance event.

Let’s just put this Endurance event in perspective now, there were 80 teams total that attempted to compete in Nebraska, of those 80, 40 were able to pass tech. specs. & then get the go ahead to compete in the performance event(s). Of those 40 competitors, 20 raced Saturday morning, in the rain. Only 9 of the 20 teams successfully finished the 19 lap (10 laps with the one driver, and the latter 9 with a second driver). The morning poured rain, yet the storm seemed to pass by lunchtime. This was a blessing in disguise enabling the CSUF team to have good racing conditions, or otherwise DRY racing conditions to perform in the competitions LAST and most important Endurance event.

Our team was able to get through the first 8 laps, when adversity struck, or a bolt simply was not tightened all the way and fell off, then causing the chain to fall off, and cause the vehicle to be RED FLAGGED and ultimately disqualified from the Endurance event.

The team was devastated, even more so knowing that we could have successfully finished the Endurance event and managed to place in the top ten. However, despite the human error, the team was incredibly pleased with their overall performance out in Lincoln, Nebraska. The team placed 31st overall out of the total 80 teams present. Yet, if the team could have finished the Endurance event, which accounts for 1/3 of the competitions total points, the team could have placed in the top ten.

We were aware of this due to the fact that Cal-Poly Pomona’s SAE team scored lower in all of the events than we did, yet, they were able to manage through the Endurance event, and place 7th overall. Thus, if we were able to just finish the Endurance event, and get some of the 300 points, we would have been sitting much higher than that of 31st. Nonetheless, you live and learn, and always remember to check, double check, triple check, and even quadruple check all the components of the vehicle BEFORE any and all events, so that the vehicle is maximized for high performance output.

Formula SAE Results

CSUF's Titan V Race Car is getting ready for the 2012 Lincoln Formula SAE Racing Competition

CSUF's Titan V gets ready for the 2012 Lincoln Formula SAE Competition

Last week we had a post about the unprecedented cooperation between Mihaylo College and the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences. The partnership was meant to bolster our entry into Formula SAE, a competition to see which university could build the best scaled down race car. Well, it worked brilliantly; up to a point.

In almost every category up to the Endurance Event our team, Titan V, outperformed last year’s team, Titan IV. Particularly, Trevor (who was one of the Mihaylo Business students who helped develop the business plan for the production and sale of these race cars and gave a presentation at the competition) was able to boost our Cost Score from 61 to 66.9 points and our presentation score from 18.2 to 52.5 points. That’s pretty good.

Overall, the whole team did great beating out our previous highs in Design, Acceleration and the Autocross score as well. And here’s a video showing how good our car was doing just days before the competition.

However, during the Endurance portion of the competition we hit a snag and did not receive an Endurance or Economy Score, which is a big blow since they are worth a combined 400 points and represent nearly two-thirds of the overall score. The snag? According to another piece, there was a part failure within the drive train that was caused by the unusually hard concrete course. After all of that hard work everyone on the team was very disappointed when they found out what had happened.

But accidents happen and if you take the best score from every category from this year and last year our team would have finished in 14th place for this year’s competition. That would have been a pretty good finish when you think about who else was in the competition. If we had finished in 14th place this year we would have beaten universities such as UC Berkley, Drexel and Purdue.

Positive strides were taken this year and I’m sure the momentum will be taken through to next year’s competition.

Formula SAE Racing Competition

You wouldn’t be admonished for thinking there was no comparison between Monaco and Lincoln, Nebraska but, for this week at least, there is one key similarity. An international competition that pits universities against each other to see who can build the best scaled-down race car and the best case for producing and marketing said race car is taking place in Lincoln this week and California State University, Fullerton is one of the major competitors.

Cal State Fullerton has fared well in this competition of 85 universities when it comes to the engineering and construction of the race car. However, this competition, called Formula SAE, also has a business plan component and CSUF has not utilized its business students… until this year. Working in tandem with students from the College of Engineering and Computer Science a group of Mihaylo business students took on the challenge of developing a comprehensive business plan for the theoretical production of the race car. In Management 465B, one of our entrepreneurship courses, they worked with faculty members such as Dr. Atul Teckchandani and Center for Entrepreneurship Director John Bradley Jackson to develop a winning business plan for the competition.

And now one of those students, who graduated in May, is making the trip to attend the Formula SAE Competition to represent CSUF and bolster our chances of winning this international competition with universities from America, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, India and Puerto Rico. Trevor Smith, the lone representative from the group of business students who crafted the business plan, will be making a presentation at this event on how to commercialize this product. This will surely be an exciting time for Trevor and he knows that everyone not only from Mihaylo College but from the whole CSUF family is rooting for him.

So, do you want to see the race car, which can top speeds of 100 mph, in action? Watch the video below.

For more information about the engineering aspect of this competition please read this article from CSUF News and check out the CSUF Formula SAE website.

CSUF Team at Regional Business Plan Contest

On Saturday April 28th Chapman University hosted the 1st annual California Dreamin’ Business Plan Competition. Students from 17 universities participated for prize money totaling $100,000. The competing schools included Chapman, UCLA, CalTech, USC, UC Irvine, Claremont McKenna, Loyola Marymount University, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, U of Utah, U of Houston, U of Hawaii, Oklahoma State University, Brigham Young University, University of Arizona, Baylor University, and University of Oklahoma. This was an impressive group to say the least.

After placing 2nd in the CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship business plan competition, my company, Astral Infiniti and our solar powered unmanned airplane, was chosen to represent Fullerton in the competition. I had approximately a week to prepare full pro-forma financial statements, rework my presentation, and prepare my speech for the regional competition. Looking back that wasn’t a lot of time, but the idea of winning the 1st place prize of $50,000 was a powerful motivator.

On Friday April 27th, all of the participants gathered at a private residence in Newport Beach for the welcoming reception. It was an opportunity to meet many successful entrepreneurs as well as the other teams in the competition. The view overlooking the Pacific Ocean was a great setting to kick off the competition.

The next morning, my father and I arrived at Chapman around 8:30 am. The 17 schools were divided into 4 pools. There would be a winner coming out of each pool, plus a wild card. So there would be 5 finalists in all. My pool consisted of Cal Tech, Berkley, Chapman, and Oklahoma. After seeing my grouping I figured, if I’m going to win this thing I’m going to have to earn it. I was slated to present at 10:30 am, the 3rd school of 5.

After going through one last rehearsal and making some last minute adjustments to the presentation, we were called in to present. I delivered the presentation we put together, answered the judges’ questions, and felt good leaving the room. I knew I was up against some formidable competition so I really had no idea whether or not it would be good enough to advance. The good news was that we only had to wait 2½ hours to find out.

At 1:30 pm after all the teams had presented and we had all eaten lunch, the finalists were finally announced. Berkeley advanced from my pool. I’d like to say I was disappointed not hear my name called, but I wasn’t. I felt like I executed the plan we put together and if I wasn’t chosen then there wasn’t anything more I could have done. My new friends from the University of Utah did advance and I hope they won. We didn’t stick around to find out, though. We were exhausted.

It was a really fun time and an incredible learning experience. I met some really great people and got to work on this project with three men that I have a great deal of respect for: Fullerton faculty members John Bradley Jackson & Randy Hoffman, and of course my father Kent Decker who designed the plane. Thank you to all that helped me with this project. At the end of the day, the best thing about entrepreneurship is that you can never lose, you can only be temporarily delayed……………

Daniel Decker
Astral Infiniti, LLC
CSUF MBA Candidate 2012

Business Plan Competition Finalist: Astral Infiniti, LLC

Daniel Decker’s Astral Infiniti wins 2nd Place at CSUF Business Plan Competition 2012

Even though the 2012 Business Plan Competition is now over I think it is important for you to know about the second place finisher, Astral Infiniti, LLC. Here’s some information about this impressive startup:

Astral Infiniti, LLC was founded in response to the growing demand for clean, renewable energy products due to rising fuel costs. Their first product is Solar Deck 24-7, a solar powered unmanned air vehicle (UAV) designed to fly for an indefinite period of time. Operating at altitudes above commercial airliners, Solar Deck 24-7 essentially acts as a satellite without requiring a launch into orbit like traditional satellites. The vehicle requires no toxic fuel, no re-entry burn and introduces no orbital waste compared to traditional satellites. It provides continuous surveillance beyond traditional fuel burning vehicles and at a fraction of the cost.

Solar Deck 24-7 can replace traditional fuel burning vehicles that currently perform tasks such as: Surveillance for military & civil purposes, news & traffic monitoring, scientific research, and environmental data collection. With that in mind their target customers are the U.S. Military, NASA, and Telecommunications companies. The UAV market is projected to double over the next decade growing from $4.9 billion to $11.5 billion annually.

The strategy of a long life, high altitude UAV design is to utilize an energy storage device that provides a high specific energy (energy per unit of weight), but also converts stored energy efficiently to a usable form. The challenge then is to integrate these two characteristics in a way that will realize the optimum performance of the UAV.

The patented Solar Deck 24-7 design does just that by incorporating flywheel technology. It provides a distinct competitive advantage over the competition, which use fuel cells, lithium-ion or lithium-sulfur batteries as storage devices. Astral Infiniti has developed a conceptual design and performance model of the vehicle that shows feasibility. The approach can continuously carry a 300 watt, 40 pound payload over a wide range of latitudes between the U.S borders.

Astral Infiniti’s competitive advantage is expertise in the industry as well as the patent on Solar Deck 24-7’s design. The barrier to entry into the aerospace industry is the amount of initial capital required to build a prototype and bring the UAV to market. They are aware of this challenge and are actively seeking investment capital. Once acquired, the combination of their industry experience and the investment capital makes the profit potential of Astral Infiniti astronomical. A typical government contract is either fixed price or cost plus fixed fee. Fixed price contracts typically allow 15% to 25% profit margin while cost plus contracts allow 6% to 10% profit margin.

D. Kent Decker has extensive experience in marketing technology to the NASA and military communities and has an established network of contacts within the target market. On top of that, he has successfully written proposals for and managed numerous government contracts.

CSUF student Daniel Decker is in his final year of the MBA program here at CSUF, with a concentration in management. Professionally, he has 5+ years of experience in business development and direct sales. They strongly believe that their unique combination of experience, capabilities, and skills will allow them to successfully convey the incredible market potential that Solar Deck 24-7 represents.

Even though Tank Skinz ended up winning this competition I have a feeling that Astral Infiniti will be alright.