Category Archives: Social Entrepreneurship

A CSUF Startup Incubator Resident Launches!

aidtreeBen Yip is the Resident from the CSUF Startup Incubator who has now launched the alpha platform for his company Aidtree and he is aiming to revolutionize philanthropy! It’s a great story and we hope there will be a lot more to come from him in the near future. You can read more about Aidtree, see upcoming events and office hours, and other ways to get involved in the CSUF Entrepreneurship community in this week’s CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider.

I’m looking forward to the start of the semester in a couple of weeks because with the metaphorical ringing of school bells chiming across campus once again comes a lot of activity. Students will fill classrooms once again, CSUF Consulting projects will start shortly thereafter, and student clubs will get into full swing. The beginning of every semester is an exciting time because you don’t know what exactly will happen over the next four months but you can be certain that a lot will happen.

Four months is a long time in the life of a startup as well. One such startup, a former Resident of the CSUF Startup Incubator, is Aidtree. Last week, we published a story explaining how Aidtree’s goal is to revolutionize philanthropy through the purchase of coupons. The founder, Ben Yip, is a passionate member of the community and saw many worthy causes struggle to stay afloat for a lack of funds. He knew that causes like student clubs or local schools could accomplish so many more great things if only they had more resources.

One day he had an epiphany: Why not create a virtuous circle connecting businesses, individuals, and worthy causes through the sale of coupons on an easy-to-use online platform? On Aidtree’s alpha platform you can now purchase coupons to some of the establishments you already frequent and the really cool part is that up to 90% of the amount you pay for a coupon goes to a worthy cause.

The platform is simple to use. All you have to do is go onto the Aidtree platform, pick a cause (the Center for Entrepreneurship is currently listed and many more causes, including student clubs at CSUF, will be added over time), browse the available coupons (Titan Shops currently has a number of fantastic ones available), pick the ones you want to purchase, and complete your order. The price you pay for each coupon is usually half of the value of the coupon so if you purchase a $10 coupon you will only pay $5.

What Ben is attempting to accomplish with the Aidtree platform is the creation of a virtuous circle. Causes receive a continuous flow of funds from the purchase of coupons from businesses who have a desire to create a closer relationship with their customers who get a discount from the purchases they would normally make while also supporting the causes that are near and dear to their hearts. It’s a win-win-win scenario.

It’s exciting being a part of a startup like Aidtree and you too can join Aidtree by adding your business or cause to the platform or by purchasing coupons there. I look forward to a time when many more worthy causes have the resources they need and I believe Aidtree can help make that into a reality.

Sincerely,

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

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Reinventing Family Time – CSUF Entrepreneurship Success Story

chuck-suAs many entrepreneurs know, creating a successful business is hard work and Cal State Fullerton alumni Chuck Su ’11’s experience has been no different. While working a second job at night, Chuck works diligently on his own business during the day; a sacrifice he and his loved ones make with grace.

As a student, Chuck exhibited many of the hallmarks of an entrepreneur: creativity, tenacity, and a big heart. It was the last of these attributes that led him to his idea for a business at a time when he was least expecting it: during a reverse triathlon.

“The light bulb idea struck me at the end of my niece’s race. The reverse triathlon did not have a team race; however, I was allowed to participate with my 4-year-old niece in her race bracket. In the end, I realized the fun was running the course as a family. We had a great time and made everlasting memories,” said Chuck.

For Chuck, the happiness that he felt participating with his niece was only the beginning in what would soon become the idea that led to the creation of Family Fun Fitness.

Wanting to replicate the happiness and fun that he experienced with his niece at the reverse triathlon, Chuck began to formulate a business plan that revolved around a new concept of family time and fitness.

After finalizing the main points of his business plan, Chuck met with his mentors at Cal State Fullerton’s Center for Entrepreneurship and sought advice from his previous mentors. In his search for advice the staff not only helped him solidify his business plan, but also provided Chuck with access to valuable resources and connections.

One of these connections was retired engineer and CSUF Entrepreneurship mentor Bill Purpura. Chuck went to him to see if his plan was truly worth investing in as a business.

“Bill Purpura was the man who I thought would give me the best advice. He is an introvert entrepreneur with extensive knowledge in engineering and business development. He doesn’t sugar coat things and has your best interest at heart. When I met with him I was nervous but prepared. After reviewing my idea, he believed that I had a kernel of an idea. This made my developed idea into an actual creation,” said Chuck.

With a solid plan and a seemingly endless amount of passion Chuck began to build his own business with the mission of bringing together family time and exercise. These two activities form the main pillars of Family Fun Fitness.

“I wanted Family Fun Fitness to be designed for adults and kids to overcome [obstacles] together so that they can have fun while participating in healthy fitness based activities,“ said Chuck.

One of the issues that Chuck wants to address with Family Fun Fitness is that kids have become too attached to technology to really grasp the importance of a healthy lifestyle. In order to grab the attention of kids, Chuck and his partners, primarily his girlfriend Suzanne Nguyen, have created a story about a magical kingdom that the kids could experience while they participate in Family Fun Fitness’ obstacle courses.

“We wanted to have children see the characters we created and feel a connection with them regardless of things like ethnicity, body type, or skin color. From this we created our protagonist: Sky the Snowman. His magical cape not only keeps him from melting, but could change junk food into healthy treats. As kids progress through the land of Imaginaria they would get to know the heroes and villains of the story and help Sky get his cape back from the evil queen who stole it,” said Chuck.

The dedication and artistic passion behind the creation of the characters and setting proved instrumental in making the obstacle course a success as the business hosted its first race on August 7th at Cordillera Elementary.

Due to the overwhelming support received from the school that hosted the event and local communities Family Fun Fitness is now sponsored by an investor that plans to have the business host four events per month. This success is the first step in the expansion and growth of Family Fun Fitness.

When looking back at the journey Chuck has gone through in order to make Family Fun Fitness into a reality, he believes that there are several things that all entrepreneurs should remember when starting their businesses for the first time.

“Creating your own business will take a lot of time and money and is something in which you must be prepared to deal with. And while there are going to be bad days, you must learn to take the good with the bad because at the end of the day your passion and dedication will play a huge role in creating your business. Ultimately you should have a strong support system from your significant other, family, friends, and mentors,” said Chuck.

With an investor already backing his business, Chuck and the members of Family Fun Fitness are excited to see what the future has in store for them as they continue to redefine the meaning of spending family time together.


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How Does CSUF Stem Inc. Teach Kids STEM and Entrepreneurship?

We have been working with local middle schools for a couple of years now in an attempt to bring STEM and entrepreneurship to students to help them better prepare for the real world. To start this program, called Stem Inc., we used a $1M grant from the National Science Foundation that we won in partnership with the CSUF College of Engineering and Computer Science and we have been using those resources to help teach middle schoolers 21st century skills.

If you haven’t had a chance to see this program in action here’s a great video made by CSUF Stem Inc. mentor Amerika Bernal that explains the important work that she, Director Jackson, and the rest of the Stem Inc. team are doing.


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Classic Gentleman presents the Secret Soiree

Style and class seem to be in short supply these days that is why we are excited to tell you about a group of CSUF students that are paragons of these virtues. Classic Gentleman is a company founded by CSUF students to promote the finer things in life and they will be hosting an event on Saturday, October 24 to promote their fundamental mission.

Take a look at their flyer below for more information about this event and click on the flyer or HERE to buy tickets. Continue reading

Center for Entrepreneurship Director Honored for Service to Cal State Fullerton

CSUF Startup Incubator

Director John Bradley Jackson with the Board for the CSUF Startup Incubator, which is one of the many ways in which the Center for Entrepreneurship is working with CSUF students, faculty, staff, and the community.
From L to R: Dr. Robert Kovacev (Professor, CSUF Entrepreneurship), Robert Koch (Dean, College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics), Jeff Longshaw (Professor, CSUF Entrepreneurship), John Bradley Jackson (Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Center for Innovation & Professor, CSUF Entrepreneurship), Bob Godlasky (Business Advisor, SCORE), Wally Hicks (President, Affluent Target Marketing), France Helfer (Entrepreneur), Tom Miller (Professor, CSUF Entrepreneurship), Raj Manek (VP International Sales, Vesuki, Inc.), Phillip Stinis (Director of Business Development, Skytypers), Ken Guchereau (Owner, Guchereau Company), Zack Dafaallah (Professor, CSUF Entrepreneurship) & Dr. Mike Ames (Chairman of the Board, CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship).

I have been remiss in posting this but earlier this year Director John Bradley Jackson was honored by California State University, Fullerton for all of the service-oriented projects he does on behalf of the Center for Entrepreneurship. Just to give you a small glimpse into all of the activities Director Jackson is involved in on behalf of the Center for Entrepreneurship here’s a truncated list:

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A CSUF Student-Entrepreneur’s Charitable Startup

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

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

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

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

Source: A Garage Sale for the Community and Charity

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

CSUF Alumni Awarded Presidential Volunteer Service Award

International Surf Lifesaving Association LogoCal State Fullerton alumni Raquel Lizarraga ’10 and Henry Reyes ’10 recently won the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for the work that their nonprofit, International Surf Lifesaving Association, has done to help prevent people from drowning. Here’s more of the story about ISLA: Continue reading