Category Archives: Innovation

CSUF Marketing Consulting Projects Make a Difference

Scott Sorrell

Scott Sorrell, CSUF Entrepreneurship Professor

As many students know, the practical experience one gains during their time in college is the most valuable and is almost always crucial to employers. The CSUF Consulting program empowers students to work with companies and nonprofits in Orange County and Los Angeles County that requires hands on work, giving them practice and a deeper understanding than what a textbook can bring. And the clients get an amazing return on investment in the form of a comprehensive report and presentation focusing on strategically important matters for their organization. These projects focus on what is important to the clients whether that is social media, email marketing, customer retention, or public relations. The possibilities are endless.

One of the courses that features a CSUF Consulting project is Marketing 462: Marketing for Entrepreneurs. Professor Scott Sorrell is one of the professors who teaches this unique course.

CSUF Consulting Team Clear Vision with their professor Scott Sorrell (front left)

CSUF Consulting Team Clear Vision with Professor Scott Sorrell (front left)

Outside the classroom, Scott is the CEO of Sales Adrenaline. He is known as “Mr. Charge Higher Prices” and is a professional speaker and business growth acceleration consultant. He brings his considerable business expertise into the classroom to teach Marketing and Entrepreneurship students fundamentals and tactics that are applicable for small businesses to large, entrepreneurial corporations. Scott augments his course by inviting a variety of guest speakers to his class, all experts in a different area of marketing.

Every semester, the students in Scott’s class work with their clients to develop innovative marketing solutions.  Once assigned to a client, the student teams are assigned a mentor with a wealth of marketing and business experience to help the students more fully develop their recommendations for their client. Once all teams have been assigned a client, they commence their consulting process with an in-depth interview with the client to find out the client’s wants and needs, their weaknesses, what they want to change or improve, and what their goals are for their semester-long project.

Following the interview, the teams work and develop a scope of work that details what they are proposing to provide to their client by the end of the semester. With four to six members on a team and each member responsible for their own section of the project, there are several branches of marketing initiatives that these teams can research and develop. These marketing initiatives that the teams develop for their clients can range from developing a new website, to creating a public relations campaign for the company, to assisting with an entire marketing plan for the organization, and much more. Every project is unique and custom built for each client.

“The course is a lot of work,” Scott admits. However, each project is “a huge opportunity for learning. That’s why I tell my students, ‘Don’t focus on your grade, focus on excellence.’”

CSUF Consulting Team Gravity Ball with their Professor Scott Sorrell (far right)

CSUF Consulting Team Gravity Ball with Professor Scott Sorrell (far right)

At the end of the semester, after meeting with their clients multiple times and discussing with them the progress that they have made in developing a comprehensive marketing strategy report, each team delivers a comprehensive presentation to their client where they discuss their findings with them and how best to implement their recommendations.

Collectively, the students will spend hundreds of hours on each project in order to create an actionable plan that their clients can implement right away. “Many students will say it’s the hardest course they’ve ever taken,” Scott points out. However, the difficult workload and sacrifice required of the students that take Marketing 462 hasn’t seemed to deter students away from their positive outlook on the course: “I’ve had students tell me they’ve learned more in this class than their entire college education combined,” he adds.

One of the overlooked benefits for the clients who have a CSUF Consulting project done for them is that the teams can review their client’s current or potential marketing plans and determine whether or not the ROI justifies their continuation. “What those students come to understand and appreciate is that they just succeeded in saving the client probably tens of thousands of dollars pursuing a marketing avenue that would have been a dead end for them,” states Scott.

In addition to the course helping students gain experience, it also significantly helps the clients because they get amazing work at an amazing price. They pay a relatively small “donation-sized” fee to have a CSUF Consulting team develop innovative marketing solutions for their company. The work that these teams do helps clients develop ideas that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to with their current resources and because CSUF Consulting teams provide a fresh perspective that can unearth hidden opportunities.

The course also requires a lot of work from a professor standpoint. In addition to regular duties all professors have, such as giving quizzes, midterms, and other assignments, Scott manages and mentors all of his consulting teams. This consists of multiple critiques and reviews of each team’s letter of engagement, reading up on the periodic individual section reports, staying in communication with the teams and their clients, evaluating their final presentations and then reviewing their final reports (which can run upwards of 200 pages).

But despite the endless work, Scott doesn’t seem to regret taking on the position one bit, “Why do I do it? Love. I love these students. I love giving to them because they’re an amazing investment.”

Students interested in the Marketing 462 course or companies interested in applying to be a client for future consulting projects that take place during the fall and spring semesters every year can contact Client Project Specialist Charlesetta Medina at or visit the Center for Entrepreneurship office, located in room 3280 at Steven G. Mihaylo Hall on campus.

Written by Traci Muldoon


For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs: more details on how CSUF

Consulting can help businesses thrive:

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session:

Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship video series:

The Biggest Mistake Entrepreneurs Make in Product Development – Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship

The Biggest Mistake that Entrepreneurs can make when Developing a Product

Having reviewed thousands of businesses and investing in multiple startups, Tech Coast Works Managing Director Jeff Greenberg knows a thing or two about product development. In this video in the Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship series taken at the CSUF Startup Incubator, Jeff goes into detail about the product development process and explains what the biggest mistake is that entrepreneurs can make when developing a new product.

Jeff details how smart entrepreneurs avoid this common pitfall by using the lean startup methodology. It all starts with the minimum viable product (MVP) and continues on with multiple iterations and A/B testing resulting in a much better product, a product that customers actually want.

Jeff Greenberg:

Edited by Bo Kim


For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive:

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session:

CSUF Business Plan Competition Finals

John Chi, winner of the 2013 CSUF Business Plan Competition

John Chi, winner of the 2013 CSUF Business Plan Competition

The main event of CSUF Business Plan Competition Finals is the culmination of a campus-wide search for the best business idea created by a current student or student team. Based off of a rigorous selection process, the top business concepts are presented by their creators to a panel of distinguished judges and to an eager audience. All competitors in the Finals will receive funding for their new ventures through scholarships.

There will be opportunity drawings for those in attendance as well (make sure to get your raffle ticket).

Come to support the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators!

Attendance is free, all you have to do is RSVP!

Date: Friday, April 14 from 1pm to 4pm

Location: Titan Student Union, 800 N State College Blvd, Fullerton

Register here:


For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive:

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session:

10 Rules Everyone Should Know About Patents @ CSUF Startup Incubator

David Jafari, Patent Attorney

David Jafari, Patent Attorney

Maybe you are trying to get a patent now or you have a great idea that you know you have to get patented before you start trying to sell it; either way, this is the talk for you! Before you make some of the common mistakes that happen when people try to get a patent you should absolutely attend this talk by lawyer David Jafari.

In this talk, David will go over the ten essential things that everyone should know when they pursue a patent for their invention. With this knowledge you will be well on your way to understanding the seemingly complex process of securing your intellectual property.

Date: Wednesday, April 5 from 6pm to 8pm

Location: CSUF Startup Incubator, 120 S Bradford Ave in Placentia (we are in the back of the building)

To Register:

David Jafari is an attorney licensed in California and the District of Columbia. He started Jafari Law Group, Inc. in June 2005. His practice as a lawyer has focused primarily on intellectual property, business law, and employment matters. Mr. Jafari has also served as a mediator and has helped clients settle cases outside of court, avoiding costly and unnecessary litigation. He holds a Certificate in Mediation from the Orange County Human Relations Council, is a part of the Mandatory Fee Arbitration committee of the Orange County Bar Association, and is also associated with Quality Dispute Resolution Services and IVAMS Arbitration and Mediation Services. Mr. Jafari has represented clients in over 70 litigation cases.


For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive:

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session:

CSUF Startup Incubator Resident Launches Insurance Comparison Shopping Platform

Harvey Kong Launches Goodfetch with help of CSUF Startup Incubator

Harvey Kong, left, launched insurance comparison shopping site Goodfetch with the help of the CSUF Startup Incubator

When it comes to anything insurance related, just the thought of it can stress almost anyone out. Lets face it, while the simple signing on the dotted line is easy, “shopping” for the right insurance can often be very difficult and sometimes overwhelming. But don’t sweat it – entrepreneur Harvey Kong has come up with a new alternative that will change the way we shop for insurance.

Last year, Harvey joined the CSUF Startup Incubator as a resident to help him launch his business. At the start of his time at the CSUF Startup Incubator, he sat down with staff and his startup coach to develop a custom roadmap for his launch that would position his business for success. After frequent meetings with his advisors, he was able to develop and enact a startup plan that he still uses today even though he has graduated from the CSUF Startup Incubator.

Harvey has fine-tuned his concept to launch Goodfetch, an online platform that compares home and auto insurance quotes for the consumer at just the click of a mouse. According Harvey, “Goodfetch addresses the pertinent issue of shopping [for insurance], not merely buying. Buying insurance is easy, but shopping for it remains too tedious a process.” Similar to websites such as, which compares airfare and hotel rates, Goodfetch provides comparisons of home and auto insurance quotes “from a wide selection of insurance companies.”

This is how it works: The consumer submits a single form online to request insurance quotes. Then insurance companies or their agents input their quotes based on information submitted. Based on the consumer’s preference and insurance companies’ competitiveness, Goodfetch’s proprietary algorithm lists a few quotes for the consumer in a side-by-side format for easy comparison. The consumer and the agent will be connected only if the consumer is interested in buying.

Harvey’s inspiration for developing Goodfeth came from his 25 years of experience as an insurance agent, where he noticed that “Consumers don’t shop for auto/home insurance because it’s one of the worst shopping experience. I want to make it easy for the consumer to compare insurance quotes, and at the same time, also enable the agent to run his business more efficiently, without hard selling tactics.”

Even though this company is new we see a lot of potential in it. If all goes according to plan, Goodfetch will change how consumers shop for insurance. If you wish to find out which insurance company offers you the best deal, why not start a search at Goodfetch? It can save you time and a lot of money.

Written by: Traci Muldoon

Edited by: Travis Lindsay


For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive:

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session:

Innovation At Cal State Fullerton – It Starts With You

CSUF students Lorenzo Santos and Vanessa Ganaden are working to bring more innovation to Cal State Fullerton

In this week’s edition of the CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider we focus on how innovation starts with you. Everyone has the ability to improve things and the seed of all innovation is an idea. Successful innovators are the ones who work every day to make those ideas into something real.

Over the past few weeks the CSUF Entrepreneurship community has been busy. A couple of our intrepid students attended a national conference along with CSUF President Garcia to learn how to bring more innovation to campus, and they have already begun acting on what they learned; many students have entered their innovative business concepts in the CSUF Business Plan Competition; and more of our CSUF Startup Incubator Residents have brought their innovations to market, one of them focusing on bringing joy to his customers and another on teaching his customers how to play the piano better.

Innovation, the lifeblood of entrepreneurship, comes from individuals and teams taking actions to create a better world. The Center for Entrepreneurship and the CSUF Startup Incubator innovates as well but what we excel at is working with individuals and teams to make them better innovators and better entrepreneurs.

What all of these stories have in common is that these innovators started small. Theirs is no overnight success story; they started from an idea and worked to grow it day after day. You can do this as well. We are here to help.


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

Continue reading

CSUF Business Plan Competition Application Due Tomorrow: Tips for Creating a Great Concept Fast

CSUF Student-Entrepreneur leader Vanessa Ganaden shares her tips on how to quickly come up with a great business concept for those who are thinking about applying for the CSUF Business Plan Competition but not sure what business concept to submit

Applications for the CSUF Business Plan Competition are due this Sunday (March 12) at 11:55pm but it’s definitely not to late to come up with a winning concept!

CSUF student-entrepreneur leader Vanessa Ganaden, hosted an “Innovation Rush” workshop to get students prepared for the CSUF Business Plan Competition and here are some of the key takeaways that you can use to come up with a concept for the competition fast.

  • Create a list of words that relate to business ideas and skills that you have or about things that you are interest you; this helps to get your creative juices flowing.
  • Pick two or three of these words and get to work developing a concept. For example, if your words are “bike” and “app” you can start developing your concept for an app that will tell people where there are good biking trails.
  • Now that you have your concept give some thought to what your market is, how you will reach this market, how you will create your product or service, and who your competitors are.
  • If you can, work on the concept with a team or at least try to get some feedback on your concept. Being able to work with people to develop your concept will make it stronger and improve your odds of advancing in the competition.
  • Now that you have your concept, don’t forget to fill out and submit your application!

The purpose of this process is to “show them you can think of ideas no matter how different they are and you can try it out,” according to Vanessa.

In addition to having the opportunity to win a share in the more than $5,000 of scholarships and expert mentoring, Vanessa sees the competition as a way “to validate their product and see if it could be an actual business.” Feedback is important for every startup.

“I do recommend it for students to try it. I’m a huge proponent of students stepping outside of their comfort zone and doing something they wouldn’t normally do. It is scary to be judged, but it helps you see a perspective and see if this is something you would be able to do.”

What do you have to lose? Make sure to submit your application and you might be on your way to creating a business that will benefit the world and yourself for years to come!

Written by Traci Muldoon. Edited by Travis Lindsay.


For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive:

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session: