Author Archives: Mary Hartley

About Mary Hartley

Mary is a senior at Cal State Fullerton, working on her B.A. in communications She is an intern at the CSUF Startup Incubator.

The Patent Process

Austin Bonderer Patent Attorney

Patent Attorney Austin Bonderer

On July 12, the CSUF Startup Incubator had a guest speaker to discuss the topic of patents. Austin Bonderer, a patent lawyer, visited the Incubator in order to present potential patent landmines that small businesses and startups should be aware of. He specifically addressed an answer to the question “What happens after you have your idea and how do you protect it.”

Before the event, I was able to briefly speak with Austin about his talk and himself. Austin received a degree from the University of Virginia and graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering. Austin has been working in and around patents since 1998. He started his career in patents as the University of Virginia Patent Foundation (now called UVA Licensing and Venture Group). While working toward his law degree, Austin worked for 5 ½ years as a patent examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark office. During this time, his work concentrated on valves, business methods, and medical devices. After his time there, he was a clerk for the Board of Patent of Appeals. From there he became the Head U.S. patent prosecutor for FoxConn Technology Group as a patent lawyer. With all that experience under his belt, he opened up his own firm.

As a patent attorney, Austin always cautions his clients on not moving too fast and to make it a point to go through proper channels to get a patent. Austin started his presentation with a list of pros and cons of why a business should invest in a patent license.  A patent is an “asset to increase the value of your business” said Austin. He went on to describe the process of obtaining a patent, warning the attendees that the average amount of time to acquire a license is 2 years.

The first phase is the search for prior art, this is where a business would conduct a search to see if their product has already been patented by someone else. This stage is optional as the patent office will conduct their own search; however, Austin advises to do it as he explains that the patent office search is not the “end all-be all” and patent examiners only have so much time to search for a certain patent. There are several times for when you should, as a business, conduct a prior art search, this would be at conception, when your first product is made and once more during launch.

“A patent is a negative right, not a positive privilege” said Austin. This refers to the right to keep someone else from making your product.

The second part of the patent process is the Application Writing phase. In its simplest form, this phase is filling out the application for a patent and then paying for it. This is the costliest part of the process, not because of the patent itself but because of attorney fees in order to get the application. A patent application can cost $5,000 or much more.

The last phase of obtaining a patent is the prosecution phase. This phase is turning in the application and (hopefully) getting approved.

Austin continued by presenting a list of “landmines” that companies might face when creating their invention and the following stages. These possible barriers included the invention itself, any employees, inventor and outside parties. He gave tips and directions on how to close these loopholes.

Do you have intellectual property that needs protecting? Get in touch with Austin by going to his website for more details on how he can help you protect the most important assets your business owns.

But a patent is only a part of the process of going from your concept to launch. To access expert coaching on how to start your business and gain access to many other professionals like Austin you should join the CSUF Startup Incubator as our next Resident entrepreneur. Working with the CSUF Startup Incubator is not free but it should be seen as an investment in your business with the ROI being launching your business sooner and having a clear startup road map for your business. Please contact us at csufentrepreneurship@fullerton.edu for more information on how to become the next entrepreneur to work with us at the CSUF Startup Incubator.


#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 CSUFConsulting 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

Cal State Fullerton Startup – Wecadmi

Brent Maxinoski ’17 and Cayman Elkin ’17 worked hard to earn their Bachelor’s degrees in Entrepreneurship at Cal State Fullerton and now they are working hard on putting those degrees to the test by preparing to launch their startup, Wecademi, with the help of the CSUF Startup Incubator.

Travis Lindsay, Entrepreneur in Residence, for the CSUF Startup Incubator was able to sit down with Brent and Cayman to discuss their business with the discussion focusing on what they’ve accomplished so far and where they plan to go in the future.

The idea for Wecademi was born in one of our entrepreneurship classes and is now being actively worked on at the CSUF Startup Incubator. The mission of this company is to match students who need help in what are referred to as “bottleneck” courses with students who have passed and even excelled in these courses. These are courses that every student, in a specific major, needs to pass in order to earn their degree. Because these courses are meant to push students, the failure rate of these classes can reach as high as 40%.

Through Wecademi, struggling students will be able to connect with a tutor who has already mastered the course that they are having difficulty with and hopefully use what they learn through the tutor to pass their classes and save some money by not having to retake any courses.  Although preliminary testing for Wecademi will be introduced exclusively to Cal State Fullerton students first, Brent and Cayman have plans to expand the program to additional universities.

Brent and Cayman have already produced a basic website for Wecademi and have taken the first steps in creating their minimum viable product (MVP) for Wecademi, which you can see at http://wecademi.com/ To see more of what Brent and Cayman have in store for Wecademi please watch the video below.

The CSUF Startup Incubator is an organization within Cal State Fullerton that works with entrepreneurs to help them get from concept to launch. Every entrepreneur that contracts to work with the CSUF Startup Incubator receives expert startup consulting and guidance from Incubator staff and a dedicated startup coach. Initial engagements are for six months but can be extended by the entrepreneur. For more information on this program, please send 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 CSUFConsulting 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

 

CSUF Startup Incubator Resident Ben Yip

Ben Yip has launched his business, Aidtree, with the help of the CSUF Startup Incubator

Ben Yip has launched his business, Aidtree, with the help of the CSUF Startup Incubator

Starting a business is no easy task, even for a former investment banker like Ben Yip. About a year ago, Ben came to the CSUF Startup Incubator looking for help with the launch of his philanthropic app called Aidtree. Aidtree is a philanthropic coupon retailer that enables people to purchase discounts at the establishments that they frequent and a portion of all of those sales goes to a cause that the people purchasing the coupons supports.

Prior to consulting with the CSUF Startup Incubator, Ben had been independently crafting the Aidtree website. Although he had a strong understanding of how he wanted his site to run and knew what he wanted it to look like, he exhausted his skills in building it.

“The Incubator helped transition these elements into an actual business with implementation guidance and positive support from my advisers,” Ben said. Looking for help and knowing he was not at a stage where he could bring his company to venture capitalists, Ben turned to the CSUF Startup incubator. After meeting with the CSUF Startup Incubator staff Ben was convinced that they had the knowledge and the connections to help him start his business.

“From the first meeting I knew that Ben was dedicated to making Aidtree work. It is his passion. We love working with entrepreneurs like him because they have determination to keep on making progress even when things inevitably get tough,” said Entrepreneur in Residence Travis Lindsay.

When Ben brought Aidtree to the CSUF Startup Incubator he was in the minimum viable product (MVP) stage of development, which is kind of like an alpha version of a product or service. He was trying to create his website to satisfy the early adopters of Aidtree. The CSUF Startup Incubator helped Ben develop his MVP into a more functional offering. “The Incubator helped transition [my MVP] into an actual business with implementation guidance and positive support from my advisers.”

Before coming to the Incubator, Ben had gone to several other incubators to see what they could do to help his company; but none of them were a fit. He chose the CSUF Startup Incubator because it’s mentors provided him with the help and encouragement he was looking for. “They were unlike a lot of other venture firms,” reflected Ben on the Incubator, “They said, ‘how can we help?’ That was very refreshing.”

Reflecting on his time as a resident at the Incubator, Ben was satisfied with his results. The Incubator helped me move to the next level of my startup development.”  He also complimented the Incubator on its enthusiasm and the depth of knowledge from the Incubator’s faculty and mentors as well as the Incubator’s vast network.

As of now, Aidtree has successfully launched a soft rollout in the Fullerton Area and is working on adding more businesses, causes, and users to the site.


#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 CSUFConsulting 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

 

Alumnus Donates Two Scholarship to Cal State Fullerton Entrepreneurship Students

IMG_5874John Iskandar’s “generosity and good character were second to none.”

These kind words were spoken by Fares Younis ’13, whose uncle is the namesake for the John Iskandar Scholarship of Entrepreneurship, the first two scholarships will be awarded during the spring 2018 semester. The scholarship was started by Fares because he felt a close bond with John and felt as though his uncle would have wanted him to help others. “He always felt that helping others in life was a very big part of someone’s true purpose as well as spreading positive vibes.”

Because of his admiration and appreciation for John, Fares memorialized him in the name of the scholarship; however, Fares also credits his mentor, Steve Mihaylo ’69, as a reason for wanting to become a benefactor for this scholarship. “Steve Mihaylo is an incredible entrepreneur. And seeing how he was able to start a business from the ground up with nothing… this motivates me to want to follow in the same footsteps.” Mihaylo is a graduate of CSUF and has donated over $30 million to the school.

Fares is an alumnus of Cal State Fullerton. He worked with the CSUF Startup Incubator on one of its first projects under the leadership and guidance of Director John Bradley Jackson. As a participant, his business plan centered around a customized bottle meant to extend the lifespan of wine and carbonated drinks. While working with Director Jackson, he came to appreciate the process and felt the need to give back. Speaking to Fares about those who have helped him along the way he said that he felt he always had the support of his professors who he felt wanted him to succeed.

Fares hopes that this scholarship will help current student in the same way his supportive professors helped him. He believes in having a positive impact on others as well as never giving up on what you believe in no matter the odds against it.

For more information for this and other scholarships please visit the CSUF Office of Financial Aid at http://www.fullerton.edu/financialaid/.


#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

Cal State Fullerton Student with an Entrepreneurial Mission wins Thrive Scholarship

Pamela Martinez Sierra (Left) won the Thrive Financial & Bookkeeping Services Entrepreneurial Scholarship sponsored by Karla Amador (Right)

Pamela Martinez Sierra (Left) won the Thrive Financial & Bookkeeping Services Entrepreneurial Scholarship sponsored by Karla Amador (Right)

Pamela Martinez Sierra’s ingenuity, passion, and hard work made her the best choice for this year’s Thrive Financial & Bookkeeping Services Entrepreneurial Scholarship sponsored by Karla Amador, the founder of Thrive.

Pamela is a native of Chile and the daughter of a governor. Like her father, Pamela is a leader as evidenced by the fact that she was twice elected high school president and she was the captain of her soccer team three years in a row. Being a leader is good but her family also stressed the importance of giving back and she took that to heart by frequently volunteering in the community.

As a school leader and an active member in the community, Pamela saw many of her peers excel in their studies but were ultimately unable to pursue a degree due to a lack of economic opportunity, which also makes it hard for many Chileans to find stable employment. For Pamela, this wasn’t the case. The financial stability of her father’s job afforded her the option of pursuing higher education. She took the opportunity and promised herself that one day she would return to Chile and be a leader for those who are trapped by circumstances beyond their control by building “new opportunities, generate jobs, and facilitate success” for those that have been left behind.

But first Pamela had to get her education and she decided to get her education in America. She started out at Orange Coast College and now she attends Cal State Fullerton where she is pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Business Management with concentrations in Entrepreneurship and Operations & Supply Chain Management. Here, she is learning many lessons that she will be able to use to achieve her dream.

Everything was going according to plan but then the unthinkable happened. Pamela’s father had a heart attack and he ended up having to step down from his job due to his health. Having sold off many of the family’s assets to pay for the successful bypass operation, the money that her parents had been allocating for her education was cut off.

Finding the funds to pay for college and to live off of has gotten tough but she is driven to accomplish her mission and persevere. Pamela will be going into her senior year as a student of California State University, Fullerton and will use the Thrive Scholarship money to pay for a portion of her tuition and school fees. This scholarship will help Pamela achieve her dream of creating an “organization with social and economic values.”

The Thrive Financial & Bookkeeping Services Entrepreneurial Scholarship was created by entrepreneur Karla Amador. Karla established the Thrive scholarship due to her own experiences with struggling to pay for school. Karla overcame her struggles and now owns her own accounting business. A portion of all the sales from her firm goes toward starting scholarships for well deserving students such as Pamela.

Karla, like Pamela, worked hard to persevere and pursue her dreams. She told herself “When I’m successful I want to pay it forward.”

For more information for this and other scholarships please visit the CSUF Office of Financial Aid at http://www.fullerton.edu/financialaid/.


#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

CSUF Consulting Team Helps LA County Small Business with Marketing Plan

 “I needed to make a change.”

After years of feeling like he was putting his job as a police officer before his family, Andrew Lee just wanted to find a way to make a living and still have time to play cops and robbers with his sons. With a dream and a webpage, Andrew found his niche.

tomato bathAndrew’s small business started when he decided to board dogs at his Diamond Bar home. From there the seeds for Diamond Bar Dogs and Estate Management were planted.  Andrew’s daily tasks have now gone past boarding and walking dogs. Diamond Bar Dogs not only provides professional animal services such as feeding but they get into the nitty gritty of dog care such as administering tomato baths for dogs who have been attacked by skunks. Although the business had started out offering pet services they have now expanded to landscaping, dry cleaning services, and provides private transportation.

For almost five years, Diamond Bar Dogs has had a profitable income stream but after 14-months of no new clients, Andrew decided to move in a new direction and entrust his company to the students of California State University, Fullerton’s Consulting program. Andrew worked with six CSUF students who spent time evaluating his company, working alongside him, and presenting Andrew with their recommendations for Diamond Bar Dogs. Andrew complimented the group, which included Danny Corona, Steven Allen, Jonny May, Khoi Pham, Reuben Ponce De Leon, and Ally Sanchez.  “They were willing to sacrifice and maybe even go beyond what they needed to. So, that was beyond my expectations,” Andrew said of his experience with the team.

After their initial meeting with Andrew to get a better understanding of his goals, the consulting team went to work. After hundreds of hours spent evaluating the business, taking time to get an up close and personal look at operations, such as helping getting the dogs ready for walks, they put their heads together and came up with an in-depth list of ideas to take Diamond Bar Dogs and expand its customer base. The most significant piece of advice that Andrew took from the group was the need for marketing his business. At the end of the presentation Andrew asked the group what they thought was the one thing he needed to concentrate on in order to improve his business. Their resounding answer: Marketing.

CSUF Consulting Team

Andrew (fourth from left) and his CSUF Consulting team

“It is something I think I’ve ignored…. My own idea of marketing is a company vehicle with signage on it,” Andrew said.

After this was brought to his attention, Andrew’s next question was how they thought he could improve in this area. From here they discussed using mailings and online marketing to garner new clientele. They even discussed getting a second vehicle, an idea with which Andrew had toiled with on his own.  The team then presented him with a comprehensive strategic plan they developed for how he could implement their recommendations for a new marketing plan. They even went as far as providing Andrew with quotes for marketing services that would fit his needs and purchasing a domain name.

At the end of his time with the CSUF consulting team, Andrew had an outsider’s look at what he could implement in his business to help it become even better than it is. Andrew went on to compliment the level of commitment he received from the CSUF Consulting group he worked with and talked about how he appreciated the work that was completed.

“They took it as far, as if they were a partner with my group. That was great,” said Andrew.

DrewanddogAndrew promised himself and his group that he would commit to 2-3 of their proposals and apply it to his future business plan. He went on to say that he would recommend local small businesses, such as restaurants, to become a client of the CSUF Consulting program. He also believes that businesses that may not have the resources, such as time or expertise to grow their business, should consider becoming new clients.

Do you have a business that you think can benefit from our consulting program? We at the Center for Entrepreneurship are always looking for new clients. For information on how a CSUF Consulting team can craft a custom consulting report for your company, please contact our Client Project Specialist, Ms. Charlesetta Medina, at cymedina@fullerton.edu or (657) 278-8243.


#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

CSUF Entrepreneurship Mentor Publishes Book for New Entrepreneurs

170608_Chris_Trujillo_Book_(2)Most reasonable entrepreneurs know that they need to have a plan. They may spend hour after hour crafting an old-school, 100 page business plan, or at the very least they’ll write down their ultimate goal on a coffee shop napkin. When starting that plan they might pick up any self-help business book at the local bookstore or type a couple search words into Google. There is a lot of information out there. But what happens after a savvy entrepreneur, with that one of a kind idea, makes that plan? Where do they go from there?

That’s where CSUF Entrepreneurship mentor, Chris Trujillo, comes in. Chris is a serial entrepreneur and has condensed all of the lessons he has learned from launching businesses into his book, “After the Business Plan”.  So, what’s inside the book? We were able to do a quick Q&A with Chris to learn a little bit more about his book.

Who are you? Who did you write this book for?

170608_Chris_Trujillo_Book_(1)My name is Christopher John Trujillo and I have always had a passion for entrepreneurship. During college at Purdue University, I was actively involved in the university’s entrepreneurship community and co-founded a startup that received $30,000 in grant funding from a tech accelerator program in Iowa. Back home now, in California, I organize local entrepreneur meet-ups in southern Orange County and mentor entrepreneur students at Cal State Fullerton. Recently, I co-founded Entrepreneur School, www.entrepreneurschools.org, with Michael McElroy, to teach entrepreneurship to children and teens.

After publishing two children’s introduction to business books, The Young Entrepreneur and The Young Investor, I have now written “After the Business Plan” for new entrepreneurs who want answers to common startup questions. If you have finished your business plan, have a solid preparation for launch, or are just interested in learning more about business, “After the Business Plan” is the book for you.

What is After the Business Plan about?

“After the Business Plan” is not a book to help you create the perfect business plan. Nor is it a book to help you test whether you have a solid business idea. It is a book to walk you through the major steps you take to launch your business.

All successful startups must master these steps, for example: How do you hire an employee? When do you classify a worker as an independent contractor instead of an employee? Which entity is the best for your business? Where do you apply for funding? How do you record mileage for tax deductions? With this book, not only will you learn the answers to these questions, but you will also find out where to find many necessary legal documents online and discover some very helpful websites.

When will After the Business Plan be published?

“After the Business Plan” will be published June 30, 2017.

Where can people get After the Business Plan?

“After the Business Plan” will be available to purchase online through the Amazon and Lulu bookstores. Cal State Fullerton students can use the promo code TITANS to receive a discount on their purchase.

Most importantly, why did you write After the Business Plan?

I was frustrated by the lack of resources available addressing many issues that a startup faces while preparing to launch. Searching for more information than what is provided by the SBA (Small Business Administration) and state and federal government publications, I couldn’t find a comprehensive, user-friendly resource with the answers to all my questions. After consulting with attorneys and CPAs, browsing online resources and reading government publications, I realized it would be useful to condense all that I learned into a book which also includes some practical advice based on my own startup experiences. I believe that while personal experience is often the best way to learn, having accurate information beforehand can help an entrepreneur make the right decisions while preparing for launch. Since business law differs for each state and may be revised often, I plan to publish “After the Business Plan” for every state with annual updates. I advise aspiring entrepreneurs to just work on your idea every day, even if only for 20 minutes, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly an idea can transform into reality.


We are definitely looking forward to the publication of this tremendous research and we are always looking to add innovative entrepreneurs and professionals to the CSUF Entrepreneurship community. To find out how you can participate in this community as a mentor, speaker, or even as a donor please give Entrepreneur in Residence Travis Lindsay a call at (657) 278-3930.


#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