Category Archives: OC Entrepreneurship

Why Should a Startup Consider a Business Incubator?

Sadaf SaloutBusiness incubation is not new.

While most people recognize the dotcom era as the birth of business incubation, startups have received support from service organizations, large corporations, universities, and government agencies for decades. All have had a similar mission of helping the fledgling startup survive and become company with a viable business model, more or less.

For the record, a business incubator is an organization designed to accelerate the growth and success of entrepreneurial firms through an array of business support resources and services that could include physical space, capital, coaching, common services, and networking connections (source: Be advised that many incubators specialize by industry, technology, startup maturity, or location. Some charge rent and offer administrative services, while others take equity for their support. All offer the hope of a success transition from a company wannabe to successful entity with a viable business model.

Making that happen is no easy task since startup success statistics are pretty grim. Bloomberg recently reported that 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. What causes startup failure? There are many factors, but the list includes things such as ill-conceived business concepts without customers, lack of capital, bad management, poor market timing, lack of experience and, oddly enough, unexpected growth.

So why should an early stage startup consider getting help from a business incubator? While incubator expertise can vary greatly, here are a few reasons for considering the help of an incubator:

  1. Mentors – Most incubators offer the assistance of cagey veterans who have started and successfully managed companies. While some advice may be technical, much is wisdom earned from making tough decisions and living them.
  2. Access to Funding – Savvy investors prowl incubators with the hope of finding the next big thing. This early stage seed funding is expensive money but may be the difference between success and failure.
  3. Like Minded People – Incubators provide a watering hole for innovative startups that have similar visions of business success. Often the incubator environment is stimulating and fun. The camaraderie can be contagious.
  4. Mistake Repellent – OK, I invented that term. Look at this way, an incubator can provide a road map of how to start up a startup. This includes what to do and what pitfalls to avoid. This counsel can save time and money. Big time.
  5. Introductions to Professional Services – This can include intellectual property attorneys, CPAs and bookkeepers, insurance agents, and sources for manufacturing prototypes. Once again this can save time and money.
  6. Accountability – Some incubators are run like boot camps with daily intellectual aerobics; others softly coach and prod the founders forward, but all hold the startups to well defined goals and milestones. This may be the most important factor to consider.

Starting up a business is unbelievably exhilarating and perilous. While you can go at it alone, business incubation can provide a safer and quicker path to success.

John Bradley Jackson

Director of the CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship and Founder of the CSUF Startup Incubator


How Entrepreneurial is Orange County?

John Bradley Jackson, Director of the CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship, reviewed the findings of a recent study about Entrepreneurship in Orange County. The presentation happened at the November 20, 2013 meeting of SCORE’s Orange County Chapter. The local SCORE chapter is the nation’s largest and most productive chapter of the SBA funded organization which is dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small business.

Jackson discussed how Orange County compares to other regions in the U.S. when viewed from a new venture perspective. Other regions studied include Silicon Valley, Route 128 in Boston and Austin.  He first reviewed small business in the USA and their significance to the economy; the home based businesses and the “solopreneurs” were cited as little known catalysts in our economic recovery.

  • 28 million small businesses in the US
  • Over 50% of the working population in a small business
  • 52% of all small businesses are home-based

Next he addressed the myth of the low survival rate of small businesses. Jackson said, “It is urban legend that most small businesses fail in the first two years.” He cited that following SBA data:

  • 70% of new ventures survive at least 2 years
  • 50% of new ventures survive at least 5 years
  • 33% of new ventures survive at least 10 years

Patent activity, a leading indicator of successful entrepreneurship is on the increase in OC. In 2012, there were 2,300 patents granted to Orange County inventors which was up 48% from 1,500 in 2007. This steady increase clearly reflects on the innovative culture found in Orange County.

In fact, the Kauffman Foundation, the leading entrepreneurship think tank, identified that that there 530 entrepreneurs per 100,000 Orange and Los Angeles County residents making it the 2nd most entrepreneurial region in the USA among similarly sized Metropolitan Statistical Areas.  The statistic factors new business starts, financial events, and other entrepreneurial factors into its rankings.

“Yet, Orange County is different than the other hotbeds of entrepreneurship. OC has an unusually high immigrant population, a very large number of small to medium sized businesses, a Low number of Fortune 1,000 headquartered firms, and a very large number of family businesses. All this makes for a thriving local economy but one with an overall lower number of IPOs and other capital events.”

Jackson theorized, “Orange County is ‘sticky’ which means that the businesses formed in OC grow and thrive but many remain privately held and passed on to the next generation.  So, is Orange County entrepreneurial?  Absolutely.”


2013 Small Business Outlook for Orange County

The Orange County Register recently asked eight influential members of the business community what they expected for the OC economy in 2013. Here’s one response you might find interesting from Center for Entrepreneurship Director, John Bradley Jackson:

John B. Jackson

director, Center for Entrepreneurship, Cal State Fullerton

While the federal government officials may fear a “fiscal cliff” with increased budget deficits, small-business owners may face a “fiscal prairie.” The outlook is flat, dry and dusty. For the small-business owners who survived the last four years, most are out of cash, have little access to new capital, have downsized to bare bones and remain desperate for revenue.

Because of this fiscal prairie, small-business owners are selling their businesses in record numbers. For entrepreneurs with cash and courage, it is a buyers’ market. Many of the small businesses are priced at salvage value. There are bargains galore.

CSUF Entrepreneurship Board Member Ron Stein Radio Interview

CSUF Entrepreneurship Board Member Ron Stein was interviewed by Ric Franzi of OC Talk Radio on October 18, 2011 about the California economy. The interview included comments about the “new normal business environment.”

The interview is about 25 minutes in length and can be heard at

John Bradley Jackson
Center for Entrepreneurship

CSUF Alum Aaron Barkenhagen Radio Interview

Listen to the radio (recorded) interview with CSUF Entrepreneurship Director John Bradley Jackson and CSUF alumnus Aaron Barkenhagen of Bootleggers Brewery.

This interview was hosted by Theresa Harvey of the Fullerton Chamber of Commerce.
Issues addressed include:

• What it takes to be an Entrepreneur
• The role of social media in a startup
• How great beer gets made in Fullerton
• How the University partners with local business.

John Bradley Jackson
CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship

How Entrepreneurial is Orange County?

The Fullerton Chamber is hosting a special event which will explore the question “How Entrepreneurial is Orange County?”

John Bradley Jackson, Director of the CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship, will review the findings of a recent study about Entrepreneurship in Orange County and the United States.

Learn more about how Orange County compares to other regions in the U.S. when viewed from a new venture perspective.

When: Fri, April 29, 11:30am – 1:00pm
Where: Marriott Hotel at 2701 E. Nutwood Ave., Fullerton