Category Archives: CSUF Entrepreneurship Community

CSUF Startup Incubator Office Hours for Spring 2018

The founder of HypeLife Brands, Curt Cuscino, gave a talk for the CSUF Startup Incubator about how to market your business to millennials. You can meet one-on-one with Curt, along with our many other experts, at office hours.

Every week we host office hours with a number of experts from the CSUF Entrepreneurship community. These experts can help entrepreneurs in a wide range of issues including:

  • Intellectual Property (patents, copyrights, trademarks, and all the rest)
  • How to Start a Business
  • Marketing/Social Media

And that’s just a short list. Our experts do focus on a particular field, so if we have an IP attorney doing office hours they’re expertise is in IP, but they have many years of experience to draw on to help entrepreneurs with their particular issues. I remember an example where a person came in to see one of our marketing experts and ended up making a connection with a graphic designer that they needed.

These office hours are completely free for everyone. You do not have to be a student, alumni, or directly connected with the university in any way. Just register some time during our listed office hours (see below) and get some assistance in figuring out how to grow your business!

But be careful, office hours aren’t a way for you to get a full time advisor that will help you grow your business every week. Office hours are a great way to get general advice in a short form (half hour to an hour per meeting with one of our experts) way.

To get a consistent team of advisors I strongly suggest you consider becoming a Resident at the CSUF Startup Incubator where we work with entrepreneurs over the course of an initial six month residency to help them go from concept to launch. There is a cost associated with this service but our team of advisors have been there, done that in the startup world and they will meet with you frequently to help you become the best entrepreneur that you can become.

Currently Scheduled Office Hours for CSUF Startup Incubator

Office Hours with Patent Attorney Austin Bonderer – CSUF Startup on Tuesdays from 2pm to 3pm at the Placentia Office

How to Start a Business with Professor Longshaw @ CSUF Startup on Tuesdays from 3pm to 5pm at the CSUF Startup Incubator Placentia Office

Office Hours with Startup Expert Dave Kinnear @ CSUF Startup on Tuesdays from 5:30pm to 8:30pm at the CSUF Startup Incubator Irvine Office (parking pass required if parking on campus)

Identifying and Protecting your IP: 1 on 1 Office Hours with Patent Attorney Justin Sanders @ CSUF Startup on Wednesdays from noon to 2pm on the CSUF Startup Incubator Irvine Office (parking pass required if parking on campus)

Learn Marketing with Branding Expert Curt Cuscino – CSUF Startup on Thursdays from 5pm to 8pm at the CSUF Startup Incubator Irvine Office (parking pass required if parking on campus)

We hope that you can attend some of these one-on-one sessions with our experts in 2018 and if you have any questions about office hours or anything else that the CSUF Startup Incubator or CSUF Entrepreneurship does please get in touch with us by sending us an email to csufentrepreneurship@fullerton.edu


#CSUF

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Incubator

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Consulting

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session:
http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents

Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship video series:
http://bit.ly/csufknowledge

Jonny May ’17 Piano Christmas Cheer in One Minute

Jonny May ’17 is a CSUF Entrepreneurship alumnus who has harnessed his entrepreneurial studies at Cal State Fullerton into a thriving startup where he teaches people how to play the piano called Piano with Jonny. For the season, he has released a video where he plays eight different Christmas songs in one minute. Enjoy!


#CSUF

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Incubator

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Consulting

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session:
http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents

Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship video series:
http://bit.ly/csufknowledge

Happy Thanksgiving! From CSUF Entrepreneurship

Happy Thanksgiving to all CSUF Entrepreneurship Insiders!

I like Thanksgiving. The food is always great but, more importantly, I get to spend some time with my family, friends, and any students who take me up on my invitation to spend this time with us.

I also like Thanksgiving because it is a time of reflection for me. One of the biggest things that I am grateful for is you, the CSUF Entrepreneurship community. Every year, hundreds, if not thousands, members of this community participate and help each other as students, professors, mentors, judges, donors, residents, and in a myriad other different roles. Ours is an amazing community and it is growing every year.

Last Wednesday, more than 250 of us celebrated the grand opening of the second CSUF Startup Incubator office at the CSUF Irvine campus. We should have some posts, pictures, and video up about that next week but I can tell you that everyone was excited about all the new opportunities for entrepreneurship that this location opens up for everyone.

And it is the CSUF Entrepreneurship community that has made this possible. And your contributions going forward will help us all achieve many more great things. Thank you!

Sincerely,
John Bradley Jackson
Director and Professor
CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship, CSUF Consulting,
& CSUF Startup Incubator
 

Continue reading

Titan Fast Pitch 2017 Recap

One of the winners of the 2017 Titan Fast Pitch accepting her award from Center for Entrepreneurship Director John Bradley Jackson for a pitch well done!

The University track winner of the 2017 Titan Fast Pitch, Sierra Levanto from Chapman University, accepting her award from Center for Entrepreneurship Director John Bradley Jackson for a pitch well done!

The sixth Titan Fast Pitch has come and gone and it was a great success! We had an estimated 400 people in attendance with more than 150 students competing. This year, we had students from multiple universities including Cal State Fullerton, CSULA, Chapman, UCLA, Cal Poly Pomona, and probably a couple of others that I missed.

We also had many high school students competing including Troy High School, Western, and many others. For the first time, middle school students competed as well.

There were two tracks, one for university students and another for high school and middle school students. The competition started off with an introduction from the hosts of the competition. John Bradley Jackson, the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and the CSUF Startup Incubator, kicked off the competition with a welcome message. He was followed by Dr. Radha Bhattacharya, the Director for the Center for Economic Education, and Will Taormina, the founder of the National Startup League and an alumnus of CSUF Entrepreneurship.

The first round, which we called the Bullpen Round, had all of the students competing. Remember, there were more than 150 students competing so the Pavilions at the Titan Student Union were packed with students pitching their creative ideas! To hear these pitches we assembled about 50 judges, made up of entrepreneurs and professionals from our communities, including the active and generous CSUF Entrepreneurship community.

After fifty minutes the Bullpen Round came to a close. The energy in the room was electric! The students were still bubbling with excitement while we tabulated the judges’ decisions in another room. While the tabulations were going on, a few lucky attendees won some opportunity drawing prizes! These included Amazon gift cards donated by Dr. Atul Teckchandani and CSUF Entrepreneurship Ambassador and Titan Fast Pitch Finals Judge France Dixon Helfer. Some lucky people also won books to advance their entrepreneurial education.

Once the tabulations were complete, we announced the four finalists for the high school and middle school track (more on them later!).

Now that the finalists were announced, Director Jackson kicked off the Lightning Round. During this round, the finalists presented their ideas in sixty seconds to our Lightning Round judges and then they were each asked up to three minutes worth of questions from our judges. The questions were tough but they helped the competitors more fully explain their ideas and got them thinking about their concepts in new ways.

Our Lightning Round judges included:

  • Karl Freels, Dan Black Family Trust
  • Vijay Raman, Vasur Ventures
  • David Morris, Royal Business Bank
  • My-Ngoc Allred, Wells Fargo
  • Michale Sawitz, FastStart.studio
  • France Dixon Helfer, TinyKicks

The Lightning Round is a crucible for these competitors. You will remember that the audience numbered more than 400 so the finalists were not only presenting in front of our august judges but also hundreds of people they have never met before. And they had to answer those tough questions from our judges! Thankfully, the finalists were up for the challenge and they comported themselves extremely well.

Once the Lightning Round finished, the judges retired to another room to deliberate while everyone else had some fun! There was a lot of networking, getting to hear other’s innovative concepts, and we even had the Cal State Fullerton improv club perform. One lucky attendee also won a pair of Laker’s tickets donated by CSUF Entrepreneurship alumnus Sue Mehta! I’m sure they will enjoy those seats.

After a few minutes, the Lightning Round judges made their weighty decisions. For the university and high school/middle school track finalists there were scholarships on the line. The finalists for the university track stood to win:

  • 1st Place: $1,500
  • 2nd Place: $1,000
  • 3rd Place: $500
  • 4th Place: $250

And the finalists in the high school/middle school track stood to win:

  • 1st Place: $400
  • 2nd Place: $300
  • 3rd Place: $200
  • 4th Place: $100

And, the moment you have been waiting for, the winners were:

University Track:

  • 1st Place: Sierra Levanto, Chapman University
    • Synopsis: Bamboo fiber lined diapers that are more sustainable than current options
  • 2nd Place: Parastoo Delgoshaei, University of Maryland and James Wratten, UCLA
    • Synopsis: Innovative brace design that aligns teeth individually, eliminating the current problem inherent with traditional braces where teeth move when neighboring teeth move
  • 3rd Place: Lauren Horgan, Cal Poly Pomona
    • Synopsis: Virtual staging software that will make listings much simpler for realtors
  • 4th Place: Daniel Cazares, Cal State Fullerton
    • Synopsis: Good Neighbor is a QR code pasted on windshield of vehicles that allows people who pass by a car with a problem like a broken windshield or flat tire to notify them that there is a problem

High School/Middle School Track:

  • 1st Place: Hayley Amo, Troy High School
    • Synopsis: Tricourt is a gym concept that gets people to work out together
  • 2nd Place: Savannah Gutierrez, El Dorado High School
    • Synopsis: Germs are everywhere in public restrooms, including door handles. Her concept is to create a sensor that will automatically open the door when someone is nearby
  • 3rd Place: Stephen Nguyen and Lyle Lalunio, Troy High School
    • Synopsis: Feed to Seed is an app that aims to solve the tremendous food waste epidemic
  • 4th Place: Angel Perez, Katella High School
    • Synopsis: Clothing company that enables loved ones to track children

Congratulations to all those who competed, they may have just taken their first steps into becoming entrepreneurs at the Titan Fast Pitch! I can’t wait to see what is in store for this competition in the future!

If you aren’t already, make sure that you have signed up to be a CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider to keep up to date on all that we are doing. Our next big event is on November 15 when we will be hosting an Open House for our second CSUF Startup Incubator location. This one will be on the CSUF Irvine campus and we couldn’t be more excited about it! We hope to see you there!


#CSUF

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Incubator

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Consulting

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session:
http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents

Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship video series:
http://bit.ly/csufknowledge

52 Hike Challenge – CSUF Wellness Program

52 Hike ChallengeDid you know our very own CSUF Startup Incubator staff member, Phillip Stinis, has started a global movement called the 52 Hike Challenge, which empowers you to take a personal journey to discover the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits gained through hiking? This virtual challenge can be taken by anyone, and now our campus has adopted it as part of their Corporate Wellness Program!

If you would like to learn more, visit www.52HikeChallenge.com

If you are a CSUF Staff or Faculty member, come to their Wellness Program kick-off on campus.  Details below:

JOIN THE 52 HIKE CHALLENGE WELLNESS PROGRAM – A PROGRAM THAT STARTS WITH A 1 MILE WALK 
Facilitator: Phillip Stinis, CSUF Startup Incubator, MCBE Lecturer & 52 Hike Challenge Co-Founder
Come learn how you can join the 52 Hike Challenge community, find well-being, and empowerment through hiking. With the 52 Hike Challenge, you will explore new places, bond with family/friends, meet new friends, gain mental clarity, a sense of accomplishment/ build confidence, and achieve better physical fitness. Join us for the program kick-off on Wednesday, October 25th • 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. • CP-730

Phillip’s Story

Phillip was 80lbs overweight, to make a positive lifestyle change he
took to the trails to get in shape, eventually losing and keeping off
the weight by progressing his hiking capabilities. After going through
a difficult divorce, Karla was inspired by Phillip to begin her own
hiking journey; challenging herself to a hike per week as a means to
get in shape. Once her challenge was complete, Karla couldn’t believe
the positive impact that the outdoors had on her mind, body and soul.

Motivated by their own personal accomplishments, the pair created the
52 Hike Challenge to encourage others to begin their own hiking
challenge and journey. In over 2.5 years, over a quarter million images have been
shared under their hashtags on Instagram alone from participants of the challenge.
The stories from finishers have been so impactful, they started offering
more opportunities for people to take on the challenge, including facilitating city wide efforts
and corporate wellness programs.

Take the story of Elizabeth Labor, from San Diego as an example: “My friend and I from work decided to start going hiking once a week after work. We are middle school teachers in San Diego and wanted to enjoy the vast range of hikes in our own backyard and relieve some stress after the workday. Our hikes together slowly turned in to more teachers joining us, and now we have an official hike club at work. A group of teachers gets together at least once a week after work to try new trails in the area, or stick to our old favorites. This group of women kept me constantly motivated because we all came together with a range of backgrounds and physical abilities, and we were able to connect over a shared interest that I truly believe became a shared passion for all of us. We became support systems for each other on the trails and in the classroom.”

Teachers aren’t the only one’s interested in hiking, college students enjoy spending time outdoors too! Here’s a story from a California State University Student, Rachyl Matis who took the challenge: “I am a 23 year old college student that had no idea how much the 52 Hike Challenge would influence my life. The 52 Hike Challenge was the first time I have ever set a new years resolution/ goal, that I am actually passionate about, and completed! It was such a fulfilling moment when I finished my 52nd hike on the last week of 2015. I am thankful for the dedication this challenge required of me, and the constant encouragement along they way I received from friends, family and other challengers on social media.
Hiking brought a sense of community and encouragement into my life. Not only did hiking create a space for me to meet new people, but also gave people who wouldn’t normally hike an opportunity to join in on the fun! The excitement of hiking with people who had never been before was a way for me to share my passions with others.”

Students are encouraged to sign up on the website at www.52HikeChallenge.com
and get in on the fun as well!


#CSUF

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Incubator

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Consulting

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session:
http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents

Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship video series:
http://bit.ly/csufknowledge

Business as a Machine

Marc Pakbaz gives a talk on how to create a successful startup from the ground up for CSUF Entrepreneurship

Marc Pakbaz gives a talk on how to create a successful startup from the ground up for CSUF Entrepreneurship

Marc Pakbaz is an interesting guy and I like him. I’m going to miss a big portion of his history here but, in short, he is from Iran, lived in France (where he built and sold a business), and now lives in America (where he built and sold a business). He’s a teacher, consultant, serial entrepreneur, and a mentor for CSUF Entrepreneurship. In short, he’s a busy guy and we were ecstatic to have him give a talk for us last night at the CSUF Irvine campus.

At his talk, Marc, as is befitting of someone who has led the life he has, gave a fluent discourse on starting or growing a business from the ground up. For example, he started off talking about the normal litany of startup 101 (i.e. LLC or partnership, etc.) but then a big “X” went through all of those items on his PowerPoint. Those things are important but they shouldn’t monopolize your time as an entrepreneur.

Instead, your first step should be to define your business. This includes what kinds of activities you focus on, developing your clients/customers, and figuring out who your competition is and what they are up to. He goes on from there in great detail about what he focuses on when starting or growing a business but there is one thing in particular that he focused on that I think is really important: A business is a machine.

Specifically, Marc used images of gears to illustrate this concept. First, he showed a picture of a bunch of gears haphazardly thrown into a box. That won’t work, those gears can’t get anything done. Nothing is aligned and the gears are destined to rust away in that box unless something is done.

The next picture that Marc showed was of gears that are now aligned but they all aren’t connected. Some of the gears are connected but not all of them and this, if you’ve studied business, is setting up things in silos. Individual silos may work well but if they aren’t working well together, across the silos, then the business as a whole isn’t aligned. And when all the parts of a business aren’t working together towards the same goal then it won’t be able to accomplish as much as it could.

A business can accomplish a lot when all of the gears are connected and he showed a complicated setup of gears that all worked together. This may seem facile but if you look past the seeming simplicity of the imagery you will quickly realize creating a business so that it works like a machine is no easy matter.

Marc’s an engineer by training and he definitely thinks like one so now you understand why he used the imagery that he did. But the message conveyed by the images of the gears in various stages of connectivity is a vitally important message that every successful entrepreneur or business leader I know agrees with. Startups (and businesses and any other organization that you can think of) work best when all of its parts are working together towards a common goal.

Heck, Abraham Lincoln may have uttered the most well known line about the importance of an organization working together towards a common goal when he uttered “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

So, who cares? (and) What can you do about this?

The thumbnail sketch of the meat of Marc’s talk is: Take the lean canvas model with its nine different categories (i.e. partners, value proposition, channels, revenue, etc.) and make sure that they all work together in harmony.

It’s a lot of work, but, as Marc expertly explained during his talk, it’s definitely worth it.

To learn more about entrepreneurship make sure to go through the Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship series of articles and videos that we have produced for the community. We are frequently adding content to this series (and I hope to add some videos from Marc’s talk to this series soon) and it’s a great way to learn but if you are ready to act I recommend working with our CSUF Consulting program if you have an existing business or the CSUF Startup Incubator if you have a business concept or are looking to grow a new part of an existing business. Our services have helped thousands of businesses develop strategic plans that have achieved great results. To find out more, please get in touch with us at csufentrepreneurship@fullerton.edu.


#CSUF

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Incubator

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Consulting

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session:
http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents

Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship video series:
http://bit.ly/csufknowledge

Millennials and Marketing

The founder of HypeLife Brands, Curt Cuscino, gave a talk for the CSUF Startup Incubator about how to market your business to millennials

The founder of HypeLife Brands, Curt Cuscino, gave a talk for the CSUF Startup Incubator about how to market your business to millennials

Late last month we were lucky enough to have Curt Cuscino in to give a talk called Marketing to Millennials. Curt, just barely a millennial himself, is an entrepreneur and is the Founder and Principal of HypeLife Brands, a progressive brand development and marketing agency accelerating brands into the hearts and minds of the millennial generation.

Curt led a wide-ranging lecture on what makes marketing to millennials different. We will hopefully be posting videos from Curt’s talk to the Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship series but here are a couple of notes that I took at this event:

  • “Millennials are the largest generation on earth with over 75 million people having been born between 1980 and 2000”
    • Whether you love or loathe millennials, chances are that they are at least a small portion of your customer base and, more realistically for most, millennials represent a large part of your customer base. You need to know how to market to them if you want to just keep up.
  • “Millennials are connected to the internet virtually all the time”
    • And they don’t have the same viewing habits as other generations; TV ads may not be the best way to reach them. But I don’t think TV should be totally discounted, it’s just that companies really need to think through what it is they are trying to accomplish and pick the appropriate medium.
  • “Millennials tend to be more tribal”
    • I think that this is true and part of the reason for this has to do with being online virtually all the time. Thanks to the internet the barriers to setting up highly focused group are almost nonexistent nowadays so you will get communities that have very specific, and perhaps even narrow, interests.
  • “Millennials want authenticity”
    • What Curt is saying here is that millennials are not open to traditional advertising techniques where you have the company telling the viewers what they should think. I think part of the explanation here may be that thanks to the proliferation of entertainment mediums the bar has been seriously raised on how brands communicate.
  • “Millennials value experience”
    • Concerts and festivals like Coachella are examples of this. I’d probably ad something like an escape room and Curt brought up the example of how Apple has been able to make owning all of their electronics more life an experience than a simple product.

Curt did go into some details about how he and his company, HypeLife, go about marketing to millennials. Once we have them, we will start to publish some of the videos from this talk to the Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship series.

It was a great talk. In order not to miss any of our upcoming events you can become a CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider and get weekly email updates about our community of entrepreneurs and innovators or you can view all of our events over on Eventbrite. Either way, we hope to see you soon!


#CSUF

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Incubator

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Consulting

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session:
http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents

Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship video series:
http://bit.ly/csufknowledge